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  • Writer's pictureZak Lockhead

Does Tattoo removal work?

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

As Laser technicians, we often get the same questions over and over and over again. I mean, I wish I had a pound for every time I had been asked ‘Well does tattoo removal work’. Although I joke, these are very valid questions. I mean tattoo removal can be expensive, and you don’t want to waste your money and/or time on something that quite simply doesn't work. So to help, I have written this article to finally answer this.

Does Laser tattoo removal work?

So firstly, does Laser tattoo removal work? Quite simply, yes it does! Using the right machine with a trained operator, laser tattoo removal is an extremely efficient (and even safe) method for getting rid of most tattoos. I have attached images of some of the work we have done in one of my clinics using a DL1 Q-Switch ND:YAG.

Can Laser tattoo removal fully remove a tattoo?
Full removal of Tattoo following Laser tattoo removal

Laser tattoo removal
Another example of a full removal with Laser treatment

As you can see, there is no doubt that tattoo removal is highly efficient at removing tattoos. Now… there are some things I must mention. Just like everything, laser tattoo removal isn’t perfect and will not work in certain circumstances….

Coloured tattoos

Coloured tattoos are the arch enemy of many laser technician and can be especially difficult to remove (although not impossible). Many of these coloured inks contain a lot of base colours, amongst other things, and it can be highly difficult to break these up and fragment these using the tattoo removal machine.

Coloured tattoos and Tattoo removal
Coloured tattoos and Tattoo removal

As you can see from the diagram, black/blue tattoos are easiest to remove, followed by red/orange/yellow coloured tattoos, with green and purple colours by far the hardest to remove. Now with some of the ultra-advanced machines we currently have, green tattoos may represent less of a problem. For example, the Q-Switch ND: YAG Pico machine which we sell has been shown to remove green tattoos in as little as 1 session! This is because it releases pulse widths in the picosecond range, which is highly effective in fragmenting the ink particles.

Q-switch ND:YAG Laser tattoo removal
Q-switch ND:YAG Laser tattoo removal

The age and location of a tattoo

Older tattoos are generally easier to remove. This is because years of UV exposure has probably already faded them significantly, or your body has naturally broken the ink particles down with time. BUT… this may not always be the case. Some of the older tattoos have been done with inks that are, let’s just say, not quite that good. For example, it is not unheard of for some of these inks to contain carpet dye and thousands of chemical components that makes laser tattoo removal much more difficult!

The location of a tattoo is also a huge consideration. Tattoos in fleshy areas (i.e. your chest) are generally more easy to remove as there is a great blood supply surrounding them, which makes it easier for the broken down ink particles to be removed by your lymphatic system. Whereas, distal parts of your bodies (i.e. finger tattoos) have a very limited blood supply and circulation, and it can be almost impossible to remove. If you look at this finger tattoo it almost hasn’t shifted at all following many sessions of tattoo removal.

Laser tattoo removal
Finger Tattoo removal


The more ink there is, the harder it will be to remove. Now with cover ups, there is a huge amount of ink situated in the dermis, so it will likely take longer to remove and may never fully be able to be removed.

Cover up Laser tattoo removal
As you can see, there is much more ink in the dermis with a normal tattoo compared to a cover up tattoo


There is no doubt that tattoo removal can be a highly successful procedure for removing tattoos. However remember, the removal must also be completed with an effective Laser for results to be good. We stock the highest quality Q-switch ND:YAG laser tattoo removal machines that will remove almost any tattoo!For a free consultation, contact us at any time.

As always, thank you for reading!

Dr Lockhead

0113 4180464


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