Can opaque grey tattoo ink be removed with a laser? (photos)

My tattoo artist used an opaque grey instead of an ink wash. The grey is made with white and black ink mixed together i believe. I hear white does not come out.

Doctor Answers 4

Laser Tattoo Removal for Gray Ink

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You are correct about white ink: the lasers cannot remove white, however,  I haven’t treated any tattoos with grey ink being made from a mix of black and white ink.  All the grays that I have treated have been black ink applied lightly, and it tends to come out quickly (often with 1 treatment) with treatment from the PicoSure Laser.  Are you positive about the mix?  We recommend 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 an older,  nanosecond laser.

Fort Worth Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Can laser remove white ink particles

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Thanks for your question. Although you are correct in understanding that the laser is drawn to color specifically, not white, there is a mechanism by which the white ink particles can clear with laser tattoo removal. You mention that the white was mixed with black to create of course the gray. The laser energy will be  absorbed by the target chromophore ( the black ink) and will selectively damage or destroy that chromophore through photothermolysis. However there is an additional photoacoustic effect (that's the popping sound you hear) which is capable of shattering nearby ink particles regardless of their color. This photoacoustic effect can result in the clearing of the white ink particles that are mixed with the black. Best, Lisa Vuich, MD

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

Tattoo Removal

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You would be a great candidate for the Alex Trivantage laser. This laser is the only one on the market that can target colors.  The multiple wave lengths can target all the colors in the tattoo with 4-6 sessions.  You should contact a board certified dermatologist as soon as possible.

Tattoo Removal -- Pico/Q Switched Laser

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Tattoos should be removed with q switched or pico lasers, we will often combine with fractional lasers to help speed the process. No matter the device it will take several treatments to see the outcome depending on your response and the technology. Please see a laser expert. Best, Dr. Emer

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