Best Tattoo Removal Laser for Black Ink? (photo)

I have had this tattoo for about 2 years now and want it removed. I am looking up reviews for the Picosure, Astanza Eternity, and the Q-Switch ND YAG. Each review says something different. I have my photos attached but need opinions on which laser to use. Unless there is another laser out there that would work even better than these three please let me know! Thank you

Doctor Answers 8

Use the Best Technology for Tattoo Regret

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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 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.

We recommend waiting 6 weeks until your tattoo is healed and then finding an experienced physician in your area.  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.

Fort Worth Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Laser Tattoo Removal -- Takes a series of treatmetns

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Tattoo removal can be done but will take a series of treatments for improvement.  I suggest seeing an expert.  Best, Dr. Emer.

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

Black Ink

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Pico lasers are the most advanced technology. I utilize the PiQo4 laser which has 4 Pico wavelengths including the 1064 wavelength to target black ink making it possible to remove 96% of ink in as little as 4-6 treatments. I also utilize the Picosure for a total of 5 Pico wavelengths. Tattoos are removed faster and safer with Pico lasers and there is less risk of scarring. I believe it is important not only to seek the best technology but an experienced laser tattoo removal provider. I have been practicing laser tattoo removal for almost 20 years.

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

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Laser Tattoo removal

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Black tattoos are typically responsive to laser treatment. Either Q-switched ND:YAG or Picosure lasers should work well for your situation.

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Tattoo Removal

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For your tattoo EITHER the q-switched 1064 or the pico would work well.  There are many brands available with each of those technologies.  In this case the type of laser is more important than the brand.  Good luck!Marilyn Pelias

Marilyn Pelias, MD
New Orleans General Surgeon

Tattoo Removal

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I utilize the Alex Trivantage with its unique pump technology and does not scar with these types of tattoos. I have been using this laser for 3 years now with great results.  Best, Dr. Green

Tattoo Removal

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For your black ink tattoo (also green, blue, etc. ink) the Picosure laser is the treatment that will completely remove the your tattoo the quickest, usually between 5-10 sessions, 6 weeks apart. Treatments are fast and there is no scarring risk with the Picosure. I use the Picosure in our practice with great success.You are a good candidate, so find a doctor with a Picosure Laser.Best of Luck!

James Shire, MD
Chattanooga Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Choice of Laser Tattoo Removal device

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Thanks for your question. It can certainly be daunting to understand the differences between the different devices. Your blue/black ink color is a relatively "easy" target for tattoo removal and your skin tone is fair which helps as well. The Picosure is a Q switched Alexandrite and should do well with this. The Astanza Eternity is a Ruby laser, which is used for resistant blue and black ink but is not usually the first go-to with this ink. The Astanza Duality (Q switched NdYag) would be an excellent choice. Someone who has the Astanza Trinity has both the Eternity and the Duality devices on hand (Duality= 2 wavelengths (1064/532) + Eternity 1 wavelength (694)= 3 wavelengths thus the 2 laser combo is called the Trinity). The Astanza device has higher peak power, especially at higher spot sizes, than the picosecond lasers on the market. Being able to effectively use the laser at large spot sizes allows for deeper penetration into the dermis and less scattering of energy within the skin tissue. By focusing the beam deep into the skin, practitioners will acheive a better response with deeper-placed ink particles – yielding faster ink clearance and facing fewer “stubborn” tattoos. But again I would expect that you would do well either way. Just understand that not all Q switch NdYag lasers are equivalent. Some are vastly underpowered compared to others. Best,Lisa Vuich, MD

Lisa Vuich, MD
Nashua Physician
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 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.