How should I remove my hand tattoo completely and how safe would it be? (Photo)

I got this tattoo in the beginning of may and I'm regretting it. It was a unique way to add my daughters name to me without it being the typical tattoo. I'm going through a lot of postpartum anxiety and it's manifesting into a fear or my tattoo ink causing a late reaction and killing me or causing my hand to fall off. Crazy I know. I have other tattoos that don't scare me. How should I go about removing is and how safe would the treatment be?

Doctor Answers 9

Tattoo regret

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Dear Ald589

It sounds to me like you are not in the best frame of mind to make this decision. I would personally suggest you step back and address the anxiety, the irrational fears, etc. You are not crazy, these are just symptoms of chemical imbalance which is very common postpartum. Let's not turn tattoo regret into tattoo removal regret. It is a safe but long process, lots of wound care...keeping it clean and protected may not be an easy task while caring for a small child...


Lisa Vuich, MD

Nashua Physician
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Lasers Remove Tattoo Regret

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So sorry to hear of your postpartum anxiety! It's understandable that you want both you and your daughter to be in optimal health. To allay your fears, the tattoo will not cause any damage to your body. However, if you would feel better removing it, the only way to proceed is with laser tattoo removal. I recommend PicoWay, as it is very effective at fractionating ink into very small particles that will then be safely removed by the body. Tattoos usually take at least five sessions to fade completely. Luckily, you seem to only have black ink, which is the easiest to remove. Please talk to a board-certified dermatologist with expertise in tattoo removal.

Removal of hand tattoo

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Many people feel regret after getting a tattoo, so you are not alone in your feelings. Your tattoo can be safely removed with a laser. It is important to understand that laser tattoo removal is a process that takes time and repetition.  However, with the newest laser technology, it is safe and effective. Not all lasers are the same. Technology has improved over the past few years. With a dark tattoo such as yours, I would look for a provider with an "enlighten" laser.  That particular device is perfectly suited to a tattoo like yours and should provide the most complete results in the fewest number of treatments. It is always important to remember that results will vary from tattoo to tattoo. An experienced physician will be able to give you a reasonable estimate related to your particular tattoo. 

Jeffrey Gosin, MD, FACS
Atlantic City Vascular Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Laser Removal of Hand Tattoo

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The best laser for your tattoo would be the PicoSure. PicoSure has a short pulse duration that exceeds photo thermal 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.

Hardik Soni, MD (not currently practicing)
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician

Pico Laser + PFD Patch

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Pico Lasers work well.  PFD patches were recently released and allow you to cut down the number of sessions as well as reduce healing time and increase comfort.  So instead of say 6 sessions, you may be able to remove it in 2-3 sessions. 

Ricardo Pocurull, MD
College Station Internist

Absolutely Safe Laser Tattoo Removal

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I'm sorry you're having anxiety, but this can be safely removed with laser tattoo removal. It will take a series of treatments for complete removal. See an expert. Best, Dr. Emer

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

Use the Best Technology Available

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Thanks for your question.  You have 2 routes for laser tattoo removal.

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 2 reviews

Removing a tattoo on the hand

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The black ink is easiest to remove with a 1064 laser. You can expect improvements but maybe not 100 percent removal of the tattoo. The consensus is to use a QS laser for the first several treatments and a pico for the last treatments for the best results. Picosure is the wrong wavelength.

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

PicoSure is FDA approved for tattoo removal

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Thanks for your question and photo. PicoSure is FDA-approved and uses photomechanical PressureWave technology, which is capable of shattering even the smallest targeted ink particles. The laser’s ultra-short pulse duration creates an intense impact, breaking up the tattoo ink into tiny particles that are easily eliminated from your body. Best is to visit a board certified dermatologist to discuss number of treatments as each person reacts differently. Hope this helps. Best, Dr. Katz

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