Balshi Blog

Laser Tattoo Removal And How It Works

Everyone knows someone with a tattoo. 30% of the population has at least one, and over half of the millennial population have a variety of artwork tattooed somewhere on their body. Some start at age 18, some start at 25. Some, even later. 

But with the rising acceptance of tattoos, getting them on a whim can become more frequent. Or, it becomes a fun – and expensive – addiction. Creating artwork on your body as a means of expression which lasts a whole life-time sounds pretty cool.

That being said….

We grow and change as we age. That means ideals, beliefs, even taste in art… changes. Not to mention, styles and trends in tattoos have definitely changed over the years. 

Anyone reminiscing over tribal arm / bicep tattoos in the 90’s?

Maybe the good-ole lower back tattoo with a label that – shall not be named!

The 2000’s famous-stars behind the ears or the spider-web / star elbow tat?


I think I’ve made my point. 

Time, preference, and styles evolve and with the permanency of tattoos that means we could be left feeling a whole lot …. Well, less enthused about our forever-artwork. 

Ever heard your parents tell you that tattoos are permanent? Maybe you shouldn’t get them because removing them is impossible? That you might regret them altogether?

In the year 2020, this is no longer a problem. Studies show that 25% of people regret their tattoos. And that’s good news for them! Getting rid of your unwanted tattoos with minimal side effects is now possible with Laser Tattoo Removal.

How Is This Possible, You Ask?

The lasers use a high-intensity light beam that breaks up the pigment colors in the skin. The darker the color the easier it is to treat. Colors like black and blue absorb all laser wavelengths making it easier to break up the pigment in the skin. 

Depending on the size, age, and colors of your tattoo, the color of your skin and how deep the ink goes, will be the determining factor of how many treatments you will need for a full removal. However, this procedure doesn’t take days or even weeks. Expect months to a year for fading and regeneration of the skin. This also depends on the body’s immune system and the rate at which the laser breaks down the particles of pigment in the skin. 

This treatment is safe for people with healthy immune systems but people like women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not be treated. 

Talk to your doctor for a consultation to evaluate your tattoo and advise you on the process and what you might need. Larger tattoos will require more time and light pulses than a smaller tattoo which will determine the amount of treatments you might need for a full removal. 

How Does It Work?

Your doctor will supply you with protective eye shields and test your skin’s reaction to the laser. This will also determine the most effective energy treatment during your procedure. 

The technician will then use that level of laser energy to pass pulses of intense light through the top layers of your skin and allow the colors of the tattoo to absorb the light. 

It sounds uncomfortable. And, it is. However, most patients don’t need anesthesia but topical anesthetic or cream can be used to alleviate discomfort. 

After treatment, an ice pack or cool pack will be used to soothe the area. The area will be treated with an antibiotic cream and bandaged for protection. 

Much like laser skin removal treatment, these areas of the skin should be protected by the sun and sunblock should be used at all times. Especially while it’s healing. 

There are other ways to treat tattoos. There is excision, dermabrasion, or salabrasion as additional options if you’re not looking for laser tattoo removal. However, laser tattoo removal is often safer even though it comes with just a few risks:

  • Unlikely – but your tattoo may not be completely removed from the site. Select colors may be removed more easily than others
  • Cosmetic tattoos for eyeliner, eyebrows, or eyeliner can become darker after treatment and may fade.
  • Like more laser removal treatments, any site being worked on is at risk for infection or permanent scarring. 
  • As well as hypo-pigmentation. Where the skin that is treated becomes lighter than the skin around it. Opposite hyper-pigmentation where the skin becomes darker, which is also a risk post-treatment. 

Like most procedures, finding a reputable doctor will allow you to feel comfortable that your treatment is in the most experienced hands. Keeping risks and errors at a minimum. 

The Year 2020 and Beyond

Advances in technology are allowing for the quick development of new tools in laser tattoo removal and shorter recovery times between treatments. Research and technology are trying to develop results that allow a patient to safely have 4 laser treatments in one day. Also, by testing out additional lasers. In certain cases being able to remove 50% of the ink in one visit was achieved,

However, more research is needed before this becomes more widely available. But there’s hope for the future and the future of laser tattoo removals. We can only get better in time… right? Well, unless you’re an unwanted tattoo, I guess. 

As an alternative to many treatments, which can be very expensive, many patients have decided on lightening the ink about 50%. This will allow a tattoo artist room – or maybe inspiration – to design over the original tattoo to create new art pieces. 

This could also minimize the risks of scarring or white patches from full laser tattoo removal. 

Many people experience the same thoughts! Thousands of people get tattoos every day and nearly one third of all people regret their tattoo(s). However, thanks to advancing laser technology, most tattoos can be removed without even the remnants of a scar!

Call Dr. Balshi at Balshi Dermatology In Delray Beach for Laser Tattoo Removal

If you’re looking to remove unwanted or unsightly tattoos contact Balshi Dermatology, a board-certified dermatologist in Delray Beach, who can help remove tattoos with laser technology. Call us at (561) 272-6000 or send us a message on our Contact Page to set up your appointment.