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Tattoo Removal

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Laser Tattoo Removal

We do not offer Tattoo Laser Treatment at this time. This page has been constructed to provide information on the current procedure using Q-switched laser.

Laser tattoo removal is the least intrusive method available. Prior to lasers the only options were removal techniques that were invasive (requiring surgery) and painful. Previous tattoo removal methods included dermabrasion, cryogen skin freezing followed by skin removal or surgical excision of skin. All these old methods often exchanged a scar for the tattoo.

  • Photo source National Geographic News

Lasers have become the standard treatment for tattoo removal because they offer a bloodless, low risk, effective alternative with minimal side effects. Each procedure is done on an outpatient basis in a single or series of visits.

The type of laser used to remove a tattoo depends on the tattoo's pigment colors. (Yellow and green are the hardest colors to remove; blue and black are the easiest.) Lasers developed specifically for use in tattoo removal use a technique known as Q-switching, which refers to the laser's short, high-energy pulses. The combination of wavelengths of the Q-switched Yag laser is effective in treating a full spectrum of colors and tattoo inks, though some of the newer synthetic tattoo dyes are increasingly difficult to remove.


Multiple sessions with a Q-switched laser are required to fade tattoos.

How Tattoo Lasers Work

Lasers work by producing short pulses of intense light that pass harmlessly through the top layers of the skin to be selectively absorbed by the tattoo pigment.

The laser uses a powerful light beam to damage the ink under the skin. There is no cutting of the skin.

The tattoo ink soaks up the beam’s energy and gets extremely hot for a fraction of a second.

This is enough to break up the ink causing it to fade slowly.

Over the next few weeks the body's lymphatic system can clear these small particles of ink.

When these fragmented pigment particles are out of the way the laser beam can penetrate to the next layer of ink. Allow at least a month between treatments.

More than one treatment, which typically only takes minutes, is usually needed to remove an entire tattoo -- the number of sessions depends on the amount and type of ink used and how deeply it was injected. Large, multicolored tattoos can require upwards to 20 sessions and it is impossible to determine the exact number of sessions required at the beginning.

Unless the tattoo is cut out, there frequently remains a faint residual image, even after many treatments.

  • Source Palomar Medical
  • Photo courtesy Bruce Saal, MD
  • Results of multiple laser tattoo removal treatments
  • Patient results may vary

Your Tattoo Removal Process

The laser fires in rapid bursts, these feel a bit like the spatter of hot fat from a frying pan. An anesthetic cream is applied to your skin before the treatment.

The tattoo will feel hot for a while afterwards, and it will probably be red and swollen for the rest of the day. Very dark, or large professional tattoos, will remain tender and swollen for a few days.

Occasionally this is followed by a scab or crust. The tattoo will not look a lot different after the first treatment, but over the next few weeks it will fade a little. Initially the changes may not be obvious until you compare it with a pretreatment photograph. Because tattoo ink is placed deep into the skin, only a series of laser treatments can effectively remove most of the implanted ink.

  • Photo source -Dr. Jay Kincannon

Complete tattoo removal is often impossible. Please understand this prior to commencing treatment.

During your office consultation you will be provided with a detailed plan of the treatments that will benefit you most. Initial Cosmetic Consultations are Complimentary.

Please contact us by phone or email with any questions you may have or request an appointment online for your complimentary consultation.

Beverly Hills Laser Institute, Inc.

8920 Wilshire Blvd Suite 404
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

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