What Is Laser Tattoo Removal? Laser therapy – also called laser surgery and laser rejuvenation – has become the preferred treatment for tattoo removal since it offers a low-risk option with minimal side effects. A physician removes the tattoo by using high-intensity laser beams to break up the pigment colors of the tattoo. Laser actually stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The type of laser used generally depends upon the pigment colors. Different lasers or different settings of the same laser are needed for different colors. A Q-Switched laser is commonly used to remove tattoos. The laser selectively targets and removes the tattoo without damaging the surrounding tissue, which greatly decreases scarring. Most tattoos do require multiple treatments. The Ruby laser has a high absorbance compared to the Nd:YAG laser related to blue and black ink. Ruby laser also provides a more demanding range of ink color absorption vs other wavelengths.

The Best Way to Remove a Tattoo: Laser Tattoo Removal

There have been many advancements in laser technology today which help improve the safety, remove tattoo in less laser sessions, treat colors of ink which were once hard to remove. Results vary from person to person and a lot depends on lifestyle and over all health of the individual removing their tattoo. Some factors which can have a negative impact on how many sessions someone may need for laser tattoo removal are smoking and drinking alcohol.

Some questions you may ask before starting the process of laser tattoo removal:

  • How old is the tattoo
  • How deep is the ink in your skin
  • What colors does your tattoo include that you want removed
  • Your overall health
  • What medications are you currently taking
  • Are you prone to scarring or have you had any scar keloid

Where is the best place to go to get laser tattoo removal?

Lots of technology is currently on the market and it is important that the correct technology is being used. With the rise of Alibaba and other sites which connect global suppliers there has been an influx of cheap manufactures introducing their products that have not been FDA approved. All products that MedLaser USA carries have gone through the rigorous approval process by the FDA and have been approved by the FDA for use. It is also important that the technician performing the laser tattoo removal procedure has been properly training and certified for providing laser tattoo removal treatments.

What is the best laser for tattoo removal?

MedLaser USA has the best laser for tattoo removal, the Lucid Q PTP. The device has gold standard Q switched technology which has 1064 Nd:Yag and KTP 532. All wavelengths target different tattoo colors, for more information on the Lucid Q PTP visit Lucid Q PTP.

How many sessions of laser tattoo removal will I need to remove my tattoo?

This varies for everyone and a lot depends on the color ink that is used, how much ink was used, how deep is the ink, how old is the tattoo, do you smoke, do you drink alcohol? Overall, you can expect between 6-12+ treatments and some individuals many never see their tattoo completely removed.

Typically you need to wait 6-8 weeks between each treatment because your skin needs time to heal and your body also needs time to process (remove) the ink. When the laser is fired onto the skin it hits the ink and shatters the ink into tiny particles, your body must process these tiny particles of ink and process them out of the skin.

Every laser tattoo removal session your tattoo will lighten. It is good to take a picture of your tattoo before each session so you can compare and see the process of your tattoo removal.

Is Laser Tattoo Removal Safe?

Laser tattoo removal is safe, it is important that the operate has the appropriate training. Laser tattoo removal can cause burns, blisters, redness, swelling, and pin point bleeding. It is important that you have a healthy immune system for laser tattoo removal to work. Women or are pregnant and those who are breast feeding should not have laser tattoo removal.

Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt?

Having laser tattoo removal is uncomfortable and causes some pain/discomfort but it is tolerable. Some options to lighten the pain during laser tattoo removal are using the Zimmer Cyro 6 cold air system which blows cold air on the skin and also numbing cream. Using both in combination during laser tattoo removal can dramatically improve comfortability.

For more information from the American Acadamy of Dermatology about laser tattoo removal visit their website.

According to the Cleveland Clinic it is estimated 25% of the US population has a tattoo

What are the risks of Laser Tattoo Removal?

  • When having the treatment performed by someone who is properly trained with an FDA approved laser for tattoo removal, side effects are minimal but you should be aware of a few:
  • Keeping the targeted site area clean as it can become infected
  • 100% removal may not be possible
  • Laser tattoo removal could leave a permanent scar which is why the laser operator should be appropriately trained. Having a more aggressive treatment doesn’t mean a tattoo will be removed quicker. Having the energy turned to high to soon can cause scaring.
  • The skin can turn darker or lighter than the surrounding skin, this is called hypopigmentation or Hyperpigmentation.

What process is better for removing my tattoo: A Laser or TattooAway?

Laser tattoo removal doesn’t require any foreign chemicals which can cause scaring. Laser tattoo removal has extensive clinical published studies for being an effective way to remove tattoos. Physicians around the world use lasers for tattoo removal. MedLaser USA has yet to see any physician use TattooAway for tattoo removal. You can also find reviews on with patients who have experienced scars and significant pain from TattoAway. It is important to consult your physician before any chemicals are injected into your skin.

Laser Tattoo Removal Aftercare

What To Expect:

The laser tattoo removal treatment creates a superficial skin wound. Some patients may experience bruising or swelling. There is immediate whitening of the treated area, which usually lasts for several minutes. Many clients then develop blisters, crusts, or scabs within 8 to 72 hours, which may last for 1 to 2 weeks or more. The treated areas may be pink or pale after the scab separates. Scarring, which can be hypertrophic or even keloid, can occur but is exceptionally rare. Reduced or excess skin pigment in the treated area can occur, and is temporary except in very rare cases. Healing is usually complete within 4 -6 weeks, although this may vary.

Aftercare to Follow:

  • For the next 24 hours:A cold compress and elevation are recommended to help reduce discomfort and inflammation.
  • Avoid for the next 24 hours:  Physical activity, hot showers and saunas.
  • Apply for the next 3 days: Aquaphor, Elta MD Post Balm, Neosporin, Polysporin or A&D Ointment with bandage.  Any of these ointments will work. Change the dressing daily.
  • Avoid for the next 1-2 weeks: Direct sun exposure, hot tubs, pool water and salt water until tattoo is healed.
  • Keep the treated area clean and dry while it is healing. Clean the area with antibacterial soap if needed and then pat the area dry. AVOID HIGH-PRESSURE WATER HITTING THE TREATED AREA.
  • Some scabbing, blistering, light bleeding and itching may occur. Immediately after treatment, there may be erythema (redness) and edema (swelling) at the treatment site. This usually lasts 2 hours or longer. The erythema may last up to 10 days.
  • Do not pop blisters. If you do blister, continue to apply one of the recommended ointments until the blister has popped naturally.
  • Do not pick at the scab or allow the skin to become scraped, as this may result in infection and scarring. Shaving should be avoided in the treated area until it is completely healed
  • You may notice that blistering may occur in some treatments and not others. If blistering does not occur, it does not mean that your most recent treatment was less aggressive or your treatment is not working. Sometimes your body will react, while other times it will not. Regardless, the treatment is working.
  • You may take only Tylenol to help with discomfort. Please avoid aspirins, ibuprofens and naproxens because they may increase the risk of bruising and/or bleeding.
  • Shaving should be avoided in the treated area until it is completely healed (5-10 days).
  • Please apply sunscreen everyday to the treated area after the tattoo has completely healed (5-10 days), even if clothing covers the treated area. Sun will travel through your shirt or pants. The use of sunscreen everyday on the area will also help the ink absorb and help with itching.
  • No active tan, self-tanner, bronzers or spray tan 4-6 weeks before and after treatment.
  • Massage the treated area 5-10 minutes daily after treated area has healed (5-10 days). Daily massage will help ink absorb.
  • Remember, not all tattoos will clear 100%. Your tattoo may just fade.
  • Please call your primary care physician if an infection occurs.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.
  • Remember: Drink lots of water!

MedLaser USA does not offer medical advice. Please consult with your physician for appropriate aftercare for tattoo removal. 

What Tattoo Colors Does Each Wavelength Remove?

laser hair removal treatment

Successful laser tattoo removal is achieved with multiple wavelengths. All wavelengths target different colors. The 694nm Ruby laser has the widest targeting color profile and works great for stubborn dark inks the 1064 nd:yag has had challenges knocking out. Because the 694nm ruby laser has a higher melanin absorption, it is important to be aware of possible adverse pigmentation events when using this wavelength on darker skin tones.


  • American Academy of Dermatology, “New and improved laser and light treatments take aim at cellulite, fat, tattoos, wrinkles, and sagging skin.” News release issued Mar. 21, 2014. Accessed 4/20/2015.
  • American Academy of Dermatology, “Lasers lighting the way for enhanced treatment of melasma and tattoo removal.” News release issued Feb. 7, 2012. Accessed 4/20/2015.
  • American Academy of Dermatology Tattoo removal: Lasers outshine other methods Accessed 4/20/2015.
  • Adatto M. Laser Tattoo Removal: Benefits and Caveats. Medical Laser Application 2004; 19(4): 175-185.
  • Bernstein, EF. Laser treatment of tattoos. Clinics in Dermatology 2006; 24(1):43-55.
  • Laumann A. Body art. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, Katz SI et al, editors. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Medical; 2008:Chap 100.