Can Laser Remove a Terrible Permanent Lip Liner?

I had permanent lip liner tattooed on. It was vegetable-based inks, I believe. A mix of red, pink, anti-blue drop, and white. I think that it may have had a touch of brown in it too. All that was mixed and then tattooed in. Not layer by layer, but in a mix done at once. As the photo shows, the person did it way over my lip line. I hate it. It looks like I don't know how to put lipstick on. Do you think laser will remove it completely? Also, could laser tattoo removal cause scars?

Doctor Answers 4

Laser tattoo removal will remove lip line tattooing

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The use of a q-switched tattoo removal laser is an effective treatment to remove unwanted lip liner. It may take multiple treatments but generally is very successful. Typically for red inks it takes us about 4 to 6 treatments. Other types of tattoo lasers can take from 4 to 12 treatments. It is unlikely that the laser for tattoo would cause scarring based upon the photos you have submitted.

Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

How to Remove Terrible Permanent Lip Liner?

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This is a problem because the pink or red inks have, as you say, a mixture. The white pigments may contain iron which when hit by the laser is changed to a black pigment. Then you have a black permanent lip liner.
So the way we proceed is to test a spot with the Q-switched laser and see if there is no color change. If there is not, then we might treat a small area and wait.  If after 30 minutes there is no color change when the immediate white reaction from the laser subsides, then we can go ahead and treat this, probably with the 532 YAG for red.
 However, there can be a mix of pigments and more than one wavelength might be needed.
  If the pigment were to turn black, sometimes treating the black with the ruby or alexandrite or 1064 YAG might remove it.  Finally the ablative CO2 or erbium laser may have to be removed to try to remove the skin layer by layer and get rid of the pigment as it heals.
  Usually there is no scarring with Q-switched tattoo laser, perhaps 1% of patients get some texture change.  Reds are a challenge and hopefully this was a vegetable based dye. I have seen allergic reactions when metallic red pigments were treated with Q-switched laser, presumably by changing the composition to something the body would react to.

Robert M. Lowen, MD
Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Laser can remove a lip liner tattoo....BUT

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IT may also oxidise it making it black. This is because liner and cosmetic tattoo use metals such as iron or titanium dioxide. 

A few helpful pointers for laser removal of flesh coloured tattoos// liners/ cosmetic tattoos-
1. Test spot

2. If it turns black, retreat with a 1064 nm Q Switch laser for several more times

3. Be careful who lasers the tattoo, as they need to know how to deal with oxidised tattoos. 

Hope that helps, 

Dr Davin Lim 

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Laser Remove a Terrible Permanent Lip Liner

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You may benefit from either tattoo removal or Fraxel laser resurfacing to reduce the appearance of the tattooed lip line. Please consult a certified laser technician or a board certified plastic surgeon.

Tim Sayed, MD, MBA, FACS
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 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.