Is This Normal or is my Tattoo Removal Specialist Not Doing a Good Job?

The tattoo is completely black ink, consists of 5 small symbols across my chest, has only had 1 touch up, and is over 2 years old. I am young, with pale white skin. I had 5 laser treatments so far and seem to bleed a lot. Yet the only difference I've seen are tiny white dots forming in the tattoo. You can't see a difference at all unless you look at it closely and it's not fading well. Am I doomed, should I have more patience, or should I try seeing a different specialist? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 3

Questions to ponder if tattoo laser is working slowly or not at all

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Based on your description you may be responding less than would be typical.  There are factors that may come into play, including the type of ink but also the laser which is being used and the settings.

Assuming you have an experienced laser physician, the settings are likely okay but you may wish to ask directly.

The most effective lasers for tattoo reduction are the Q-switched lasers, specifically Q-switched YAG and Q-switched Alexandrite.  In some cases with less than expected response, it may be worth considering switching from one to another (e.g. using a YAG instead of Alexandrite or vice versa).  Different brands of the same laser may have differing profiles and sometimes it's worth even trying a treatment with a different brand of the same laser (e.g. a different YAG).

All this is worth a discussion with your MD....

Seattle Dermatologic Surgeon

Burns After Tattoo Removal

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Thank you for your question. Unfortunately it is difficult to predict whether your skin will return to its normal pigmentation. Sometimes the pigment does return to normal, but depending on the laser used and the depth of the burn, the hypopigmentation can be long-lasting or irreversible. I recommend returning to your treating physician for an evaluation. All the best!

Hardik Soni, MD
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Bleeding and minimal results after tattoo removal

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The first question I would ask is who is performing the removal? It should be a board-certified dermatologist because they are truly the specialists. The bleeding does not seem normal. I would discuss this with your doctor.

Brian E. Dubow, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

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.