What Tattoo Ink Colors Are Easiest to Remove?

Which ink colors are easiest to remove using laser tattoo removal? Any ink colors that won't come out at all?

Doctor Answers 33

What Tattoo Ink Colors Are Easiest to Remove?

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Using the PicoSure laser Black, Blues, and Greens clear the quickest, easiest, and most completely. The results also depend on the volume of ink used, the location and if it is a professional or amateur tattoo. The PicoSure will also be able to clear the tattoo in half the number of treatments.

Chattanooga Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Laser Tattoo Removal - Which Colors Are Easiest to Remove

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Tattoo removal lasers work by targeting a color. Each wavelength targets different colors. After much research, including our own staff members receiving tattoo removal treatments with other laser systems, including PicoSure, Q switched, etc. we have found that the PicoWave laser is most effective in removing a spectrum of colors. However, we also use the Q Switched laser for some blue and green colors (no extra charge for the use of both lasers) so we can most effectively remove all colors as quickly and as completely as possible. Look for a laser center with multiple lasers with many years of experience in cosmetic laser treatments to be certain you are in the best hands.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 121 reviews

Ink is Removed at Different Wavelengths of Light

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All inks are removed best at specific wavelengths of light.Examples are 532nm (reds & yellows), 755nm (blues & greens), 1064nm (black and darker colors).It also depends on the laser and the quality of the laser at those wavelengths.For instance I have been able to remove some yellow and reds with my new picoway in one treatment.I saw one today in follow up.I see almost one a week where that is the case.However, some black tattoos can be easily removed too.It really depends on how much ink and the quality of ink that the tattoo artist used.There are just as many variables in removing the ink as there is in putting the ink in the skin by the artist.

Chad M. Hivnor, MD
San Antonio Dermatologist

Tattoo colors that are easiest to remove?

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First off you must use a Q switched laser system for tattoo removal

Black and Grey are the easiest ink colors to remove. Usually, a Yag(1064nm) laser works well for these)

Green is the most difficult followed by light blue (Yag and Alexandrite lasers 1064nm and 755nm).

Red/brown/yellow/orange respond well in my experience primarily using 532nm laser.

The bottom line is you can usually clear a tattoo to a level that is barely noticeable to the naked eye, it's just a matter of how many treatments it will take to get there. That's because of the great variability in ink composition and our own individual immune systems which is actually what clears the ink.

Hope this helps,

Dr D.

Louis M. DeJoseph, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Easiest inks to remove.

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Our machine Alma uses Q switch technology. It clear all colors but the one color green was touted to be possibly difficult. We have been having great results so far. Different ink densities require more treatments. Pain is tolerable, but we us anesthetics under skin and patients love the results. 

Black blue and green tattoo colors that are the easiest to remove

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Black, Violet, Indigo, Blue and Green tattoo colors are the easiest to remove.

Yellow, orange and red are fairly easy with our laser but are usually thought of as more challenging tattoo colors.

Ritu Malhotra, MD
Cleveland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Every Color in the Rainbow Can Be Removed! :)

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Any color can be removed, but colors such as yellow, pink, bright sky blue and bright kelly green take
somewhat longer to respond. We have been performing Laser Tattoo Removal since 1978 and have more experience in this area than virtually anyone else performing these procedures. Using the wrong tools, lasers, light sources or chemical peels can make successful tattoo removal very difficult, sometimes impossible without leaving a scar. This is why it is so important to see the right experienced people at the right clinic right from the start! Best of luck to you!

Dr. S

Bruce Saal, MD
Los Gatos Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Different wavelengths work best on different tattoo colors.

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Different tattoo colors respond to different wavelengths of laser light.   For example, 755nm works best on blues & greens, as well as black, 1064nm works great on blacks and near-blacks, and 532nm is best for reds, yellows, and orange.  Also some lasers work better than others with Pico-second lasers like Picosure being the best.

Tattoo Removal

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Thank you for your question and a great one at that. In the past colors were difficult to remove and black was the easiest. Newer technology now makes colors able to be successfully treated. 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 with the exclusion of white and flesh tones. Pico technology also removes tattoos faster and safer with less risk of scarring then older laser systems. It is also important to seek an experienced tattoo removal provider. I have been practicing tattoo removal for almost 20 years. I hope this helps. Best wishes. 

Daniel J. Ritacca, MD
Chicago Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Getting rid of colors

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With the combination of picosecond technology using (Picosure and Enlighten) we find that we can get rid of most colors. The yellow can still be stubborn and also some colors can be difficult on some darker skin types. 

Sachit Shah, MD
Surrey Physician

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.