Feeling regretful and scared. What should I know about tattoo removal? (Photo)

Hello everyone, I'm planning on getting laser removal at some point in the future. The tattoo I want removed is only about 5 days old. The next day I realized I made a huge mistake and since then have been extremely depressed and anxious about it. I've been doing my research and I am interested in either the q-switch and the picosure. Which is better? How long should I wait before getting it removed? I appreciate any advice. Thank you so much.

Doctor Answers 8

Tattoo Removal

You would be a great candidate for the Alex Trivantage laser. This laser is the only one on the market that can target colors.  The multiple wave lengths can target all the colors and pigment in the tattoo with 4-6 sessions.  You should contact a board certified dermatologist as soon as possible.

New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

PicoWay Is Best Option for Tattoo Removal

PicoWay is my favorite method for removing tattoos, as it uses photoacoustic waves rather than heat to shatter the pigment into tiny particles that the body then absorbs and eliminates. Therefore, it is more comfortable for the patient and has less risk of scarring or ghosting. Wait at least two weeks and perhaps up to six weeks before getting the tattoo removed, however.

Tattooing is an invasive procedure that wounds the skin. Give yourself time to heal. Patience will also be needed during the removal process, since it will probably take at least 5 to 10 sessions spaced six to eight weeks apart before you are satisfied. Waiting longer between sessions may allow the tattoo to fade on its own, requiring fewer sessions overall. Consult with a board-certified dermatologist so you'll know what your timeline will be.

Kory Kitagawa, MD
Honolulu Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Picosure for your future removal

Thanks for your question. Many experience similar feelings AKA buyer’s remorse. Like any procedure, a tattoo also has a healing process, typically anywhere from 6- 8 weeks to allow the skin cell cycle to regenerate. In our office specifically, we would wait 6 months before treating a new tattoo. In the future you may consider researching the newest technology- Picosure. Hope this helps!

Bruce E. Katz, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Laser Tattoo Removal

Pico lasers are the most advanced technology. I utilize the PiQo4 laser which has 4 Pico wavelengths making it possible to remove 96% of ink in as little as 4-6 treatments. I also utilize the Picosure for a total of 5 Pico wavelengths. Tattoos are removed faster and safer with Pico lasers and there is less risk of scarring. It is important not only to seek the best technology but an experienced laser tattoo removal provider. I have been practicing laser tattoo removal for almost 20 years.

Daniel J. Ritacca, MD
Chicago Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

What you should know about laser tattoo removal!

Rest assured that this tattoo can be removed. There are several things you need to know about the process however.  First, I would wait a couple of weeks more before doing the treatment although some providers are doing the treatment shortly after getting the tattoo. In general, you want to make sure the area is healed without any evidence of inflammation or infection.  Second both q switched lasers and picosecond lasers would help remove the tattoo.  The advantage of picosecond lasers included possibly faster clearance and fewer visits.  Even though the picosecond lasers represent a significant advance in laser tattoo removal technology they are not perfect. It is not possible to guarantee 100% of tattoos.  Variables such as location, type of ink and colors used will determine the results you get. Based on the pictures, darker colors are usually better removed with lasers.  Finally, there are risks with all laser based procedures includes laser tattoo removal.  They include pigment changes, which can lead to darkening or lightening of the skin where the tattoo was and a little of the surrounding areas as well as potential for scarring, which is minimal.  Be sure to consult with an experience provider to get the best result possible

Hardik Soni, MD
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

What should I know about laser tattoo removal?

Hello, thank you for your question and for including a photo. I think that the most important thing you should know is that it takes time to remove unwanted ink. The way a laser rids the body of unwanted ink, is it shatters the ink into tiny particles and your body absorbs those particles. Depending on the device  being used, it can be as few as 5-8 treatments, or as many as 10-16+ treatments. The laser device that we use is the PicoWay laser. It is the pico-second technology. The PicoWay Laser (Candela/Syneron) uses photoacoustic impact/pressure waves rather than photothermal/heat.  This process has less heat, therefore it is more comfortable and the chances of hyperpigmentation are less.  The Pico-second pulse shatters the ink into even smaller particles, allowing the body to more easily absorb the ink. With pico-second technology, the number of treatments can be reduced by about half.  You will need to wait at least a couple of months for the area to completely heal. Your tattoo is all black and not real heavy with ink, you should have good results with either type of device you choose.Good Luck!

Mark A. Blair, MD
Phoenix Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Best Technology for Tattoo Regret

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 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 6 to 8 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.

We recommend waiting 6 weeks until your tattoo is healed and then finding an experienced physician in your area.  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

Tattoo regret

The good news is that your tattoo would be easy to remove. It looks like it is mostly black, which is the easiest tattoo ink to remove. The newest technology, nano and pico, refer to the timing of the pulse of laser when it is used to treat an area. The technology is better now in that it allows the ink particles to be broken down into smaller particles, therefore allowing better ink removal. You can start treatments as soon as the area is healed.

Manu B. Aggarwal, MD
Lima Phlebologist

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.