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What Tattoo Ink Colors Are Easiest to Remove?

Which ink colors are easiest to remove using laser tattoo removal? Any ink colors that won't come out at all?

Doctor Answers (15)

Black Ink is Easiest to Remove


Black ink is my favorite. Nice improvement every session – predictable response. Reds, yellows, and greens all drive me bananas. We can hammer away at these pigments with our maximum-powered ND-Yag laser and yield frustrating results. The Q-switch ruby or KTP lasers are better for these pigments, but they’re hard lasers to find because that’s pretty much all they do.  :(

Web reference:

New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Black tattoos are much easier to treat


Black tattoos are the easiest to treat.  Other colors such as red, blues, greens can become more difficult to treat depending if the tattoos were amateur or professionally done.  Amateur tattoos can even take twice the number of treatments to improve.

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New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

All tattoos represent a challenge


The general rule of thumb is that the darker the ink, the easier it is for the laser to target the ink.  As the color lightens, the correct laser wavelength becomes imperative.  Also, as the dark ink fades and degrades with each treatment, the challenge is to have a technology that offers higher energies to keep pace with the progress. 

What is not mentioned by the other panel members is that skin type/skin color is a huge factor in which tattoo colors can be effectively YET safely treated.  For example, the darker the skin, the more challenging it becomes when treating lighter colors to avoid negative or adverse outcomes. 

Also, we disagree that amateur tattoos are less challenging and are resolved in 2-3 treatments.  This is not always so because much depends on the quality of the ink, type of ink, and level of ink in the skin/tissue.  Oftentimes, an inexperienced hand lends to the ink being deposited in different layers of the skin/tissue.  Also, amateur tattoos may already have a degree of fading which then requires the correct energy/power to effectively treat the ink.

Consumers should always keep in mind that tattoos of any kind represent a challenge with many, many visits, much discomfort, and no guarantees.  Be mindful of this when deciding on whether or not to get a tattoo that was designed to be permanent.

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Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Tattoo colors that are easiest to remove?


First off you must use a Q switched laser system for tattoo removal

Black and Grey are the easiest ink colors to remove. Usually, a Yag(1064nm) laser works well for these)

Green is the most difficult followed by light blue (Yag and Alexandrite lasers 1064nm and 755nm).

Red/brown/yellow/orange respond well in my experience primarily using 532nm laser.

The bottom line is you can usually clear a tattoo to a level that is barely noticeable to the naked eye, it's just a matter of how many treatments it will take to get there. That's because of the great variability in ink composition and our own individual immune systems which is actually what clears the ink.

Hope this helps,

Dr D.

Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Black is easiest color to remove.


The eaiaest colors to remove with laser is black and hardest colors to remove are green and yellow .

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Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Bright Colors take more sessions


Black and dark blue are the easiest to remove. Very bright colors like yellow and red can be hard.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

A Process Enabled with Great Technology


The PICOSURE laser with pico-second technology,  successfully removes tattoos of all colors, unlike previous laser technology.  By far, the dark black tattoos are the easiest to remove with fast, clean results.  Red colored tattoos have historically been most difficult to resolve, but the PicoSure  can remove even reds, with just a few extra sessions.   Other stubborn colors like greens and blues are also successfully treated with the PicoSure---making it essentially “colorblind”!

Newport Beach Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Blue and Green Tattoo Ink Colors are now the easiest to remove


Our clinical trials at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York have shown that blue and green colors are now the easiest to remove as long as the PicoSure laser is used. We can sometimes see clearing of these colors in just a few sessions. These colors are are more challenging to remove with other types of lasers. Black colors follow blue and green as the next easiest to remove. Red colors usually do quite well with the use of a 532 nanometer Nd:YAG laser.

New York Dermatologist
3.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Picosure laser removes all colors better than traditional tattoo lasers: black easiest, red hardest.


While all lasers have the easiest time with black, and hardest time with all of the other colors, the new Picosure laser with picosecond technology erases all tattoos of all colors much faster, and with less pain, than other lasers. Reds are the most difficult to remove, and second most difficult are blues and greens, but Picosure does them better than older technology.

Web reference:

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Tattoo Ink Colors


Traditionally, black tattoos on light skinned patients were the easiest to remove.  However, recent advances in tattoo removal techniques and laser technology allows us to remove most colors of tattoo inks.  There are even lasers which are considered safe for removing tattoos on patients with darker skin types (ask your dermatologist about the Q-switched 1064nm laser.)  Recently, the 694nm ruby laser has been used more frequently, as it is able to remove difficult-to-get-rid-of blue and green tattoo ink better than other laser technologies.  I recommend visiting a dermatologist who utilizes a variety of tattoo removal laser wavelengths, in order to receive the most effective treatment possible.

Web reference:

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.

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