Laser tattoo removal not working! (photo)

This is my 9th session over the close of 50 something weeks. I feel I am making no progress. The tattoo is not fading and is still clearly there. I'm thinking about giving up !!! Help !

Doctor Answers 4

An alternative for laser tattoo removal

There is an alternative treatment called the Eclipse Micropen TR that can treat all colors. It will take a series of treatments, but you may get better results. I suggest a formal consultation with a tattoo removal expert. Best, Dr. Emer.


Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 165 reviews

There appears to be some blue ink in this tattoo. 755nm Alexandrite or 694 Ruby Lasers will work best.

The blue ink in this tattoo my need treatment with a 755nm red light laser such as the Picosure or a Q-Switched alexandrite laser or the 694nm red-light ruby laser.  Some of the black ink may be very deep.  This ink can be removed better with FracTat a process where a fractional erbium laser (e.g. SP Dynamis) is used to make deep holes in the tattoo before treatment with a 1064nm Pico or Nanosecond tattoo removal laser.  Black ink will usually respond better to 1064nm laser such as the PicoPrima, PicoWay or Enlighten Lasers or a Q-Switched 1064nm laser.  The FracTat (Fotona Sp Dynamis fractional erbium laser and Qx-Max Laser, a  2 nanosecond 1064nm Q-Swtiched laser) method can be added to any of these lasers. 

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

​Use the Best Technology Available

Thanks for your question.  You did not mention what kind of laser you have been using.

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 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.

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 removal failure

I think it is time to try a different laser/provider. You should have made more progress. At least the black should be significantly better than is. Success is dependent on the laser and the settings. 

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 27 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.