Picosure for Black Tattoos? (photo)

I read picosure works great on green and blue tattoos. But what about dense black tattoos (black outlines and shadding)? I allready had two treatments with qs ndyag with poor results... Only faded a little... And No changes in the black outlines...

Doctor Answers 11

Different tattoo colors require different wavelengths of light...

Black ink responds best to an Nd:YAG (1064nm) and the red/orange will require a 532nm. Green responds well to an Alexandrite (including the PicoSure). Blue responds best to a Ruby laser (694nm). Anyone who tells you differently is incorrect and doesn't understand basic laser principals. Good luck!

Manhattan Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

PicoSure for black tattoos

The PicoSure has become our go-to device for the type of tattoo with dense black ink as you have described. We are seeing clearance for these types of tattoos in approximately half the treatment sessions as with previous technologies. This is due to the different way the PicoSure laser works. With PicoSure -- the light gets absorbed, heats the tattoo ink and fractures the ink into little particles.

The difference is, that older laser devices just basically heated the ink. PicoSure both heats and fractures the ink so it works much more efficiently. PicoSure puts a laser pulse into the ink 8-9 times quicker than the older devices did. 

If you get something from the freezer and it’s glass and you stick it into a hot oven – it will blow it apart. That’s because you heat it up quickly.  And on the other hand, if you put that same frozen glass jar from the freezer and you slowly heat it up – it will dissolve. 

So, one device basically heats it up quickly and fractures the ink – and the other device goes more slowly and heats. They both work -- but one works much more effectively because it does both.


Emil A. Tanghetti, MD
Sacramento Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

PicoSure can help to remove some black tattoos

PicoSure works well to remove blue, green, and some black tattoos. Different colored inks respond better to different lasers, and an in-person consultation is necessary to evaluate your tattoo and make sure your skin color Is right for the picosure or would be better served with the pico way laser. We offer a variety of lasers that can help treat a wide range of tattoos at my practice, and have a high success rate for tattoo removal. 

Sabrina Fabi, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

PicoSure for Black Tattoo's

The PicoSure laser is the latest and most advanced treatment available for tattoo removal.  It breaks up the pigmentation into nano particles that your immune system will absorb over time and eliminate.  Because the particles are burst up into micro small particles it requires less treatments. My staff and I have had great results using the PicoSure for black pigmented tattoo's.

Tina Venetos, MD
Lake Forest Dermatologist
3.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

PicoSure for Black Tattoos

We routinely use the PicoSure for black tattoos as it is the best option available for this color.

The PicoSure works extremely well for all colors except for red although that may change in the future.

Roy G. Geronemus, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Black Tattoo removal with PicoSure laser often works very well

I have found that black responds extremely well to the PicoSure laser when treating tattoos. Your current laser may work very well in the end with appropriate settings but may take many more treatments to achieve significant fading. On average it took me 8 or more treatments to get significant tattoo reduction with older q-switched ruby, alexandrite or NdYag lasers, whereas many patients have considerable reduction in their black tattoos after 3 or more treatments. More treatments than those can be continued to further reduce the lighter tattoo color even further.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

PicoSure Laser

Here at Ethos Spa we use the PicoSure laser. It requires fewer treatments. The PicoSure laser break up the pigmentation of the ink and your immune system will absorb it over time. The laser works best on dark colors as black, blue, purple and green.

Hardik Soni, MD
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Picosure Laser is effective for Black tattoos.

Our experience with the Picosure laser and black tattoos has been nothing short of phenomenal.  We have treated tattoos as new as 6 months and as old as 16 years and have had amazing results despite age of the tattoo.  Due to the popularity of black tattoos in recent decades, most of the tattoos we've seen are in fact black.  Some of the tattoos are very dense and dark and we've seen significant fading of those even after 1-2 treatments.  Even the dark "Japanese ink" tattoos respond well to the Picosure. We have even used the Picosure on black tattoos previously treated multiple times by older q-switched and nanosecond lasers with superior fading after fewer treatments.  I believe the reason for this is the picosecond technology which allows the energy to be delivered in picoseconds which is 1/1,000 of a nanosecond.   Imagine a car hitting a brick wall at 1,000mph vs 1mph and that is what the ink particles experience.  As a result there is less reliance on thermal effect and more reliance on physical mechanical energy to disperse the ink.  As a result, there is more ink scatter and less thermal injury which for most people mean less damage to surrounding tissues, scarring, and pain.  At Chicago Breast and Body Aesthetics, we use a BLT numbing cream and Zimmer chiller which reduces the amount of pain tremendously according to our patients who have had the treatment elsewhere.  

Anh-Tuan Truong, MD, FACS
Chicago General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

PicoSure and Black Tattoos

Studies show that PicoSure™ Lasers require fewer treatments to clear dense black tattoos more effectively than Q-switched lasers.  The technology behind the clinical results is the rapid picosecond pulse which creates a pressure wave to shatter tattoo ink into the smallest of particles.  At Hall Plastic Surgery and Rejuvenation Center in Austin, Texas we treat numerous dark black and multicolored tattoos with excellent clinical results.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

PicoSure for Black Tattoos

From what we've seen in our office, PicoSure delivers great results on black tattoos, and most tattoos in general.  However if the ink is placed below the dermis, surgical removal will be your only option.  

Thomas McFadden, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 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.