Is it better to remove a fresh tattoo or an old one?

I got a tattoo 4 days ago and im hating it. Im thinking about laser removal, my tattoo is on my ribcage and its a very small one 3x2 with thin lines, only numbers. How many sessions will i need and how much time do i need to wait to start with the treatment?

Doctor Answers 12

Removing a New Tattoo

The tattoo needs to be fully healed before undergoing Laser tattoo removal. This takes 4-6 weeks. I use the Picosure laser which has a short pulse duration that exceeds photothermal action and results in an intense photomechanical impact. This adds up to faster results and fewer treatments when compared to other tattoo removal methods. It works best on darker inks such as black and blue. The number of sessions required to remove a tattoo can range from 6-10 sessions. The amount of sessions depends on the size, color and placement of the tattoo. The further the tattoo is from the heart the more time it will take to remove. I hope this information helps. 

Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Thats a mixed question

First tattoos need to heal before starting a laser removal session I recommend at least a month.

Now old vs new. I have been layering tattoos for a decade and found that the newer inks are far more sophisticated than a tattoo that is 20 years old. There is conflicting data in that it seems fresher tattoos respond better. Its likely not a factor of ink but a factor of your dermis has been holding this ink load for some time and there are physiological changes that occur over time regarding a tattoo ink residing in your dermis. So old ink is probably more laser sensitive but your dermis has been " stained and scared" for years and years.

Glenn Messina, MD
Commack Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Tattoo Removal

Thank you for your question in regards to Tattoo removal. It is recommended to wait until your new tattoo is completely healed before starting laser tattoo removal treatments. 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 183 reviews

Easier for Fresh Tattoos, but you Have to Wait!

It is easier to remove a fresh tattoo than an older one, but you will have to wait until your skin has healed before you can begin treatments. Smaller tattoos like yours take much less time to remove, so you can expect to only need a few sessions.

Eric Seiger, DO
Fenton Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Tattoo Removal

I would recommend waiting two months before trying to remove the tattoo for the best cosmetic results.  Please consult a board certified dermatologist with expertise in lasers and tattoo removal.  Best, Dr. Green

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

Tattoo removal

Hello . 

I would recommend to wait until your skin area has healed ( 4-8 weeks ) then you can remove your tattoo. Fresher tattoos are easier to be removed, it depends on the type of ink used, colors and he laser that it is used.   

Joseph Doumit, MD
Montreal Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Removing a new tattoo

Removing a brand new tattoo is generally easier and requires fewer treatments than an older one. You should wait for your skin to totally heal (4-8 weeks) then begin treatments right away. In brand new tattoos it takes a while for the ink to completely settle into the dermis, so it is more easily picked up by the laser.

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

Removing a fresh tattoo

You will want to wait several weeks (4-8, depending on your body's healing timeframe) before beginning tattoo removal treatments.  Our practice uses the PicoSure laser system which uses trillionth of a second technology to shatter the ink into microscopic particles.  When picosecond technology is used, most tattoo ink can be cleared in half as many sessions as Q-switch lasers would require.  Based on the information you have given, I would estimate five treatments would be needed, treatments should be spaced 6-8 weeks apart.  Thank you for your question and I wish you all the best.  

Laser Tattoo Removal Facts -- Takes a series of treatments

You would need to let the tattoo heal before removing, which could take 4-6 weeks. It will take a series of treatments. See a laser tattoo removal expert for a formal evaluation. Best, Dr. Emer

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

Is it better to remove a fresh tattoo or an old one?

Hello, thank you for your question.  You will definitely have to wait at least a month for the tattoo to completely heal up before you start treatment.  It sounds like the tattoo would be easily removed because it is relatively small and not real dense with ink.  You do not say what color the ink is, if it is black, black responds very well to laser tattoo removal.  It will be multiple treatments however. The latest technology in laser tattoo removal is 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. Many lasers can be successful, but the pico-second technology can usually remove unwanted ink in about half as many treatments as the traditional Q-switch devices.

Good Luck!

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