Tattoo removal- dermatologist recommended I come every 6 weeks. I was thinking of coming every 12 weeks. Thoughts? (Photo)

I'm getting a tattoo lightened for a coverup. My dermatologist said I can come every six weeks, but I worry that's too soon and may lead to scarring. 12 weeks seems more wise. Thoughts?

Doctor Answers 6

6 weeks is acceptable practice 12 could be even better

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I wish I had more patients like yourself because you aren't in a hurry to remove your tattoo and would prefer a better outcome over short duration.

This tattoo of yours is complicated black , blue, green, red and white. It will require several different lasers to remove these colors and the whites likely will not come out.

Where 6 weeks is perfectly medically acceptable by waiting 12 you have a few factors in your favor. First your immune system will remove more ink naturally in 12 weeks rather than 6 and your tissues will have more time to heal thus reducing risks of pigments issues etc.

Commack Physician

Tattoo Removal

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Thank you for your question in regards to tattoo removal. With the color and location of your tattoo I would suggest waiting every 8 weeks between treatments. Waiting 12 weeks will not harm or lessen the effect on the removal process though. To be sure what is best for you, see two or more board-certified providers in your area for a complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have treatment. I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Laser Tattoo Removal -- Takes a series of treatments

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Healing can be variable, so it's tough to give you a timeline. I recommend seeing a laser tattoo expert for a formal evaluation and following their guidelines. It will take a series of treatments. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 reviews

Time between tattoo treatments

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I don't think there are additional risks with 6 vs 12 weeks. I have seen a presentation that suggested the outcomes are similar at both these frequencies suggesting that for some people, fewer treatments gives the same results. It will take a couple years for resolution doing this method. With all the colors, make sure you have an experienced tattoo removal provider and they have access to a pico laser.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

​Patience is the Key to Laser Tattoo Removal

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Thanks for your question.  You did not mention what kind of laser treatment you were considering.  We have treated several multi-color ink tattoos with great success.  We utilize a PicoSure with 755nm & 532nm for these ink colors. 

Patience is the key to any laser tattoo removal plan.  We tell every Pico tattoo removal patient to expect at least 6 treatments and don't be surprised if it is 10-12 or longer with thick tribal tattoos.  We see some patients twice a year and their tattoos seem to clear up to 6 months.  After using the PicoSure for 2 years, we have found it is best to wait 2-6 months between treatments.  There is a limit to how small the laser can break up the ink.  It's up to you and your body to take the ink away.  We encourage our patients to drink plenty of water, sweat it out and eat a healthy diet between treatments.

We recommend finding an experienced physician in your area.  Treatment prices vary by market.  You are trying to reverse permanent ink.  Good Luck and have patience!

Laura Riehm, MD
Fort Worth Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Tome between tattoo removal treatments.

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Most people recommend 6-12 weeks between laser tattoo removal treatments.  There is no time that is "too long."  There is no reason that you can't wait 12 weeks, or even longer, between treatments.  In fact, if you wait 10-12 weeks, or more, you are likely to see further lightening of the tattoo between treatments.  If you pay per treatment, waiting a bit longer between treatments may result in the need for fewer treatments and therefore less cost.

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.