I have a tattoo on my shoulder - how can I remove it?

Doctor Answers 8

Laser tattoo removal

In my professional experience, Picosure lasers are most effective in removing tattoos, since they take fewer treatments and have different lengths, so various colors can be removed successfully. Make an appointment with an expert who will lead your through your laser tattoo removal. Good luck!  

Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Tattoo Removal

Tattoos can be removed with laser treatments.  It will take a series of treatments to remove that tattoo completely.  I would recommend scheduling a consultation with a board certified dermatologist for the best results. Best, Dr. Green

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Removing a tattoo

Hi there, the best way to remove a tattoo is with Q-switched lasers. It is less invasive than excising it or using an ablative laser and you will generally have less of a chance of scarring or other adverse outcomes. Do not use salt scrubs or creams that claim to remove tattoos, they do not work. Most importantly, find an experienced physician in your community and have a thorough consultation to make sure you understand the tattoo removal process and any risks involved. Good luck!

Adaeze Okeke, MD
Houston Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Picosecond tattoo removal

Thank you for your question - There are different ways to remove tattoos. One way would be to have it surgically removed, which can lead to unsightly scarring and less than ideal results for the patient. Another course of treatment would include laser tattoo removal. The picosecond tattoo removal device would be the optimal treatment to remove tattoos in the most effective way. This process may take 6 treatments or more depending on the tattoo and will be approximately a year process. 

Emil A. Tanghetti, MD
Sacramento Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

​Use the Best Technology Available

Thanks for your question.  We get this same question in our office at least once a day.  You have 2 routes for laser tattoo removal.

Q-Switch or nanosecond lasers came out about 20 years ago.  Picosecond laser came out about 3 years ago.  The majority of former Q-Switch patients we see have significant hypopigmentation (ghosting) around and under their tattoo.  The Q-Switch lasers have trouble differentiating between the melanin in your skin and ink.  The technology uses heat to burn the pigment out of your skin.  In addition, we have seen patients with raised scars as if they have been branded.  Both of these condition are irreversible. 

Picosecond lasers (like the Enlighten, PicoWay & PicoSure) fire 1000 times faster, using a pressure wave rather than heat to shear the ink molecules apart.  After using the PicoSure for almost 2 years, we have only seen pinpoint hypopigmentation in a very small number of patients usually of darker skin tones.  We cannot say it is impossible to get burned with a Picosecond laser, but it is highly unlikely.  We tell every PicoSure tattoo patient to expect at least 6 treatments, but don’t be surprised if it takes 10 to 12.  Patience is the key for our patients.  We typically see our tattoo removal patients every 8 to 12 weeks initially.  If they have more time than money, we encourage them to come every 6 months as the tattoos seem to continue to fade while they wait.

Treatment prices vary by market.  The cost for picosecond treatments will be higher, but you should need less than half the treatments compared to a nanosecond laser.

Laura Riehm, MD
Fort Worth Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Laser Tattoo Removal -- Takes a series of treatments

Tattoos can be removed with laser tattoo removal. I recommend getting a formal evaluation with a laser tattoo removal expert. It will take a series of treatments for removal. See an expert for best outcomes. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 196 reviews

Tattoo, how do I remove

This is best removed with a laser. The best type of laser has a combination of a pico and nano pulse width. Black is best removed with the 1064, red with the 532, and green with 650-750 wavelength. It takes several treatments, up to 10 in some cases.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Tattoo removal

The best way to remove a tattoo is usually with laser.  I recommend that you schedule an appointment with a clinician who performs laser tattoo removal and have a consultation to have your particular tattoo evaluated.  That clinician can then explain the details of the procedure to you, based on your  situation.

Jeffrey Gosin, MD, FACS
Atlantic City Vascular Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 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.