Laser Tattoo Removal - Small Black Ink Tattoo on Ankle - Harrison, NY

I started the removal process Jan. 29th and had my...

I started the removal process Jan. 29th and had my third treatment a week ago. So far I'm not too impressed. The photos are right before the first session, and right now (I know it looks a little slimy, I'm still slathering on the aquaphor twice a day).

The first two sessions were relatively painless (he iced the area beforehand, no topical creams or anything like that), then hurt a bit later in the day. No blistering at all. Just redness and swelling. I also didn't see any fading. When I went in for the third treatment, I said that I didn't think it was working, and my doctor assured me that it was. He used a different laser for the third treatment. It was more painful and actually bled during the treatment. It bled for about a day and a half, blistered a little bit, and is scabbed over now. At first I thought it was working this time, now I'm not too sure.

It looks to me like the ink has broken up a little bit, and there is one tiny spot that is almost completely gone, but otherwise it's barely faded at all. At this point I'm not positive if I want to continue. Initially I was told that it should be 50% gone following the third treatment, and that I should expect 8-10 treatments total, but more than likely not more than 8. It does not look 50% gone. I'm also considering having maybe one more treatment (at this place or possibly different one) and then waiting until the fall as I don't really want to deal with the healing process over the summer.

A few questions to those who have had more experience with this:
- My doctor ices the area for a few minutes before using the laser. I have read a few reviews on here, and I have seen people mentioned using injections and topical creams, but not once have I seen someone say their doctor used ice to numb the area. Is it possible that this is decreasing the effectiveness of the laser?
- Is it possible that the procedure is working even if I can't see any difference? It looks like most people have had at least some fading after one session.
- I know the extremities take longer to treat. I don't think I have great circulation (my hands and feet are almost always cold). Could this be an issue? I asked my doctor and he couldn't give me a straight answer. If that is the case, would it help if I exercised more?
- Given the results that I have seen, would it make sense at this point to keep at it, or look for another doctor?

I will try to keep this updated. Thanks in advance.


Welcome to the community! What type of lasers were used for your treatment? Do you know what level you they were set at? Icing would have no negative impact in my opinion, I use it for pain management as well, helps alot. I have heard the numbing cream can reduce the effectiveness of the laser however I am not certain if that is 100% true and I continue to use it. 

As for question about extremities and poor circulation - I am not an expert but understand that cold hands and feet are common but if persistent and accompanied by other symptoms such as a blue or white tinge of color of your skin it could be something to follow up on with your Doctor for further diagnosis to ensure there are no issues. You could also Ask a Doctor on our sight as well. 

Exercise will be very beneficial and will aid in circulation - when you exercise the blood vessels dilate allowing for more blood flow in your body - when we are not exercising our vessels are like a garden hose, when we work out they are like a fire hose :)  Also eating healthy and staying hydrated are key in tattoo removal. Kahelelani mentions lymphatic massages which are strongly recommended during this treatment. 

Good luck and keep us posted!
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It's a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser. Not sure what brand or what level it was set it. I haven't done much exercising since last summer...I've been planning to get back into it but have been slacking. The weather is still pretty dismal here which kills my motivation to get out for a run. I try to eat healthy and stay hydrated most of the time. Thanks for responding!
You have some wonderful questions. One thing about laser tattoo removal is the uncertainty and that sucks big time. Everyone's bodies are different, the ink is different (it's not regulated, and each company is different), artists' tattoo expertise are different. There are so many variables, it's confusing. Another consultation with another doctor may be something to consider. As for the icing, I've seen it at tattoff locations. As for the lidocaine injections, the debate continues with that also. Some places say it's good, some places say it swells up the skin and the laser is not as effective. And then there's the location of your ink. One thing you might try is elevating your ankle following the removal process. I do that as my removal is on my extremity also. And finally, my clinician suggested lymphatic massage, which is wonderful. If you have a massage school near you, you may be able to get some wonderful discounts. In the meantime, follow the aftercare procedures suggested by your professional, ie) keeping hydrated, covered, and take care of your health. The whole process does take time, effort and money. And this sucks, but it's worth it in the end. Good luck, keep us posted, we're all here for you. aloha...k
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Starting to fade?

Thanks for your input! It's been about a week and a half since session 3. It actually looks like it's fading now. I'm not sure how much of that is the ink actually fading and how much of it is just dry, dead skin covering the ink and making it look lighter. I think you can kind of see in the photos what I mean. I picked it at a bit last week, otherwise I think it would have been healed by now. (By the way, the creases in my leg are from sitting on my foot a few minutes ago.)

If it's actually starting to work, how much fading should I expect to see over the course of the next month or so? Will it be consistent and gradual over that period or does it generally fade a lot in the first week or so of healing and then slow down?

If I'm happy with the result of this session after 6 weeks, I will probably go back in for a fourth one, then wait until after the summer to do a fifth.


Wow there's definitely a difference in the new photos, awesome news :)
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I hope so! : )

Almost healed

Okay, 3rd session was two weeks ago today. The only spots that are still raised up are the places where I picked at the scab. I'm not going to post another photo until it's completely healed. I think some of the "fading" I saw was actually dry dead skin covering the black and making it look lighter. It looks less faded than I thought it did, but I'm not certain. Still not totally impressed but it's definitely lighter than it was before, if only a tad.

There is a weird brown/copper looking discoloration to the right of the tattoo. At first I thought it was just redness from the treatment but the skin in that spot is healed and the color is still there. I'm not too concerned but I want to know what's causing it. Maybe a tan from the laser?

I think if I choose to continue with the treatments, I'm going to find a different doctor. I'm just not all that comfortable that my guy knows what he's doing. I want to look into the Picosure laser. Does anyone know if it is good for black ink? I was looking through the Q&A on here, and all of the doctors seem to give conflicting answers.

Will post another photo in a few days. Thanks for the support :)


I had my first treatment done on April 9, 2014. I've got a tribal band on my ankle about a inch wide. The doctor that I'm seeing uses a Medlite laser. I could see a difference in mine the first day. Where I had once had smooth lines looks broken up. It looks distorted for lack of a better word. As it has healed I've seen places in the black ink that looks like it's polka dotted where it was once all black. They came in and completely injected 2% Lidocaine all the way around my ankle. So felt nothing of the laser but only the injections. My doctor said the black ink was the easiest to remove because of how the black absorbed the light from the laser. I started looking at ways to improve the removal of the ink and read about boosting your immune system. So I've started taking immune boosting vitamins and will continue to see if that helps/
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Thanks for the update, here is a forum that speaks to the brown ink you are seeing:

I also experienced the black turn to brown, then it faded. If you have any other symptoms or concerns please follow up with your Doctor. 

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Thanks. The thing is it's not exactly where the tattoo is, it's off to the right. It's red in the pictures. Maybe it is ink, but if that's the case, it's migrating quite a bit.

Healed photo...not much fading

Okay so it's been healed up for a little while now. It took about two full weeks following the third treatment. As you can see, there's been very little fading. What looked like fading in the previous picture was mostly dry skin. The weird discoloring that I mentioned is mostly gone. It's not really visible in the photos. I'm still applying aquaphor every day.

I'm definitely not happy with the results so far. I have my next treatment scheduled at some point in this month (forgot the date), but I'm going to cancel. I haven't decided yet if I want to continue the removal or just leave the tattoo (right now I'm leaning towards keeping it), but I'm not going back to this guy.

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Going to give Picosure a try

Okay, so after 3 sessions with the Q-switched laser, the tattoo just looks like an older tattoo.

I made an appointment at Clean Slate Laser in White Plains for tomorrow morning. I'm going to give Picosure a try. She said it would cost $200 for my tattoo, which is the minimum they charge. I'm going to have the one treatment tomorrow, and then leave it alone for the rest of the summer. If it goes well, I'll continue with it in the fall.

The woman I spoke with on the phone was very friendly and made me feel confident about this place. I told her that the last guy said the tattoo would be 50% gone after the 3rd session, and she said that she didn't like to give estimates because there are so many factors that go into how the ink will react. I like that she didn't just throw out a number that would make me happy, which is what I feel like my other guy did. I also asked if the Picosure is better on black ink or just colors and she said it's better on everything except red. She also recommended that I massage the area with aquaphor once or twice a day to increase the circulation to the area, she said this would help a lot with fading.

I'm not looking forward to dealing with the healing process again but this will be the last one for the next 4 months at least.


Sounds like your new technician knows what she's talking about. I'm starting with Picosure soon myself so would be keen to hear how you get on with it! Stay positive!
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I've been following your review. She told me she has seen Picosure get rid of scars caused by other lasers.
That's really helpful to know, I'll have to ask about the scarring. Keeping my fingers crossed for you. Would love to see how the tattoo looks after treatment. :-)

First Picosure treatment

Had my first picosure session a few hours ago. The treatment itself was slightly more painful than the previous three (I think this might be because she did not ice the area very long); the immediate recovery was a lot less painful, though. Hopefully the next week or so won't be too bad. Right now the area is raised up.

She put aloe on the tattoo after the treatment, and said to use aquaphor starting tonight. I don't have a lot more to add, but I'm going to try to keep this updated through the healing process.

Also want to add that I definitely feel more comfortable at Clean Slate than the first place I went to.

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Day after Pico 1

Still blistered today. They don't hurt, but I hope they heal quickly. I'm glad it isn't an open wound. It doesn't hurt when I touch it.

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One week after first Picosure

First week is over with. It's mostly healed at this point, a little scabby. The blisters got pretty big, then gradually flattened. The healing process was overall less painful/stressful than it was with the YAG laser.

I can't tell at this point if it's starting to fade or not, but I think it looks like it's breaking up a little. The lines are not as clean as they were before. It looks a little faded in the top right corner of the picture, but there's one little blister left covering the ink.

I've been massaging the area with Aquaphor 2-3 times per day, like she told me to. Also been drinking a lot of water. I'm going to start running again this weekend, hopefully that will boost the fading a little bit.


Any updates?
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Definitely some fading, exercise is great for booting your immune system! Good luck. 
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interesting, are you a smoker? I heard that really dampers fading,are you drinking a lot of water? ice packs are fine I use them for all my sessions, but I have actually heard numbing agents can lessen the effectiveness of the laser .
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