Does laser tattoo removal really work?

The answer is: it depends. There are in fact very few colours which cannot be removed with laser treatment, namely yellows, turquoises and pale greens. The easiest and most effective tattoos to remove are plain black ones. The key is to ensure you choose an effective tattoo removal method which delivers the results you want with minimal risk.

So what are the options?

Tattoo removal using chemicals.

There are various methods of tattoo removal using chemicals. These can range from Rejuvi tattoo removal to deep chemical peels. Rejuvi tattoo removal involves injecting a cream in to the skin which bonds with the tattoo ink and expels it from the body.

Deep chemical peels: Not recommended. The aim is to burn away a layer of skin in order to get rid of the ink.

Advantages: None

Disadvantages: ineffective removal of the tattoo. Severe potential scarring.

Rejuvi tattoo removal:

The product claims to be able to remove light ink colours like yellows which are either difficult or impossible to get rid of with laser tattoo removal. Can be effective if administered correctly. Avoid tattoo parlours offering this treatment. Rejuvi tattoo removal is an art form in itself and is not necessarily best administered by a tattooist.

Advantages: can remove colours like yellow which cannot be removed with laser tattoo removal.

Disadvantages: The high risk of scarring is the biggest disadvantage of this tattoo removal option.

Laser tattoo removal

There are 2 types of laser which can be used for laser tattoo removal. A ‘passive’ laser and an ‘active’ laser tattoo removal system.

Laser tattoo removal using a passive laser: these are on the cheaper end of the laser tattoo equipment scale and as such tend to be purchased by tattoo parlours or beauty salons.

Advantages: These cheaper machines may enable a beauty salon or tattoo parlour to pass on the savings to you. However as most people do not know the difference between a ‘passive’ or ‘active’ laser (to most people a ‘laser’ is a ‘laser’), a lot of businesses will not offer a cheaper treatment.

Disadvantages: laser tattoo removal using a passive laser will not remove the tattoo completely. It will only partially fade it. A beauty clinic or tattoo parlour may take advantage of the fact that you, the consumer do not know the difference between an active or passive laser and may well charge you the same price you would expect to pay for a medical grade active Q-switched laser.

Laser tattoo removal using an Active Q-Switched laser:

This is the single most effective way of removing tattoos of nearly all colours. The laser light is delivered in nanoseconds meaning a Q-Switched laser tattoo removal machine will literally shatter the pigment in the skin, breaking it up in to small particles which are then eliminated by the body’s immune system.

Advantages: Laser tattoo removal using an Active Q-Switched (AQS) laser is considered the gold standard treatment by dermatologists for effectively removing almost all tattoo colours with minimal risk of scarring. An Active Q-Switched tattoo removal laser will, in most cases, remove all traces of the tattoo. Because it requires several treatments, it is also possible to fade a tattoo if this is the desired effect. Unless you are prone to scarring anyway (e.g. keloid scarring) there is very little risk of any scarring if the skin is allowed to heal properly and aftercare advice is followed.

Disadvantages: Will not remove certain colours like yellow or light blue. Not suitable for people prone to scarring problems e.g. keloid scarring. However the same would apply to any tattoo removal methods.

At Laser Skin Solutions Bournemouth we offer laser tattoo removal using an Nd:YAG Q-Switched (AQS) laser. We only operate medical grade lasers and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) systems, the same ones used by the NHS. We offer a FREE no obligation consultation. Book in today by calling 01202 29 69 69

Always do your research. If in doubt, do not treat.

For more information on laser tattoo removal in Bournemouth check out our laser tattoo removal treatment page and laser tattoo removal frequently asked questions.

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16 Responses to Does laser tattoo removal really work?

  1. Paul says:

    Bout 2 years ago i had a rosemery bead tattoed round my neck its a right mess. Im woundering if this tattoo can be removed proply and safely or if this laser thing even works ?

    • Kerry says:

      Hello Benjiman – yes this ‘laser thing’ really does work! We are currently treating many tattoos successfully. Are you locally based? If so would you like to pop in for a consultation and let us take a look?

  2. philip says:

    hi there i have a tattoo on my uper arm i would like removing it has black,blue,small amount of red, yellow. Could I send a picuture to yourself in order establish if its possible to remove due to the colours.

    • Kerry says:

      Hello Phil and thank you for your enquiry. Yes please do send us a photo of your tattoo and we can take it from there. I’ll email you at the address provided. Kind regards, Kerry

  3. Ashley Collins says:

    I have a black tribal style tattoo on my lower back, it measures 17cm wide and 6cm tall,
    I really don’t like the look of it now i am older and would like a quotation for removal, I don’t really like the idea of just fading it out so unless you were sure that you could completely remove it at a reasonable cost i would have to think twice,
    I look forward to hearing from you with a guide price and any advise!

    Many thanks


    • Kerry says:

      Hi Ashley
      can you let me have either a contact telephone number or an email address for you so I can advise you further?
      I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards,

  4. Donna avery says:

    I have a tattoo on my upper arms which Iv had done in the early 90s! I need these removed for my wedding day which is in a years time, Iv had one treatment of rejuvi?? Which scarred me on my wrists but not on my upper arms! Would it possible to try laser after having this other treatment done?
    Many thanks

    • Kerry says:

      Hi there, I’m sorry to hear of your experience with rejuvi treatment and scarring. Sadly you’re not the first to come to us with problems of scarring post rejuvi treatment. Yes it is possible to have laser treatment post rejuvi treatment (even if you have scarred) but we would need to do a thorough consultation and assess the skin damage. We may have to wait until your skin settles down before proceeding with treatment. For a free, no obligation chat on what can be achieved and what your options are, please do book in for a free consultation by calling 01202 29 69 69. If you have a year until your wedding I would urge you to come in as soon as possible as laser tattoo removal needs a course of treatment with around 8 weeks’ spacing in-between. Kind regards, Kerry

  5. Marica says:

    I currently have a plane black tattoo, with a UV outline, over the last year or so the tattoo has began to burn, which has proceeded to get worse. After doing some research, there is a possibility that the UV ink may contain Phosphorus. I’m looking to have this tattoo removed, however, I’m concerned that the recommend procedure states that, that tattoo will be broken down and absorbed by the immune system, as I do not want the Phosphorus getting into my immune system as I’ve read it can have consequences. Would this procedure be safe for me to use?

    Thank you

    • Kerry says:

      Hello Marica we have tried to contact you at the email address provided. I’m sorry to hear you have been experiencing bad side effects from your UV tattoo. Unfortunately we are unable to treat UV tattoos and would advise serious caution to anyone contemplating getting one, due to the side effects experienced further down the line. Drop us a line via the main website or call the clinic directly on 01202 29 69 69 so that I can advise you further.

  6. Tom says:

    Hi, I have a large all black tattoo on my upper back that I got 10 years ago. If I were to send a picture would you be able to advise me if it is possible to make it completely go and also provide me with an estimated price?


    • Kerry says:

      Hello Tom and thank you for contacting us. Please do send us a picture of your tattoo. You can send us a message via the website.

  7. Charley says:

    Hi I really need some honest advice and hoping to get some decent laser work some .
    I foolishly had an old tribal design “coverd up” with another ..but I has not worked and now I am left with a mess. The tattooist really must of seen me coming as iv paid a fortune so feel really foolish now as should of had the original removed first!
    It’s heavy and there’s blue and yellow involved and a lot of black.
    I can send you picture if you can help
    Ideally I want it remove enough to have another design put over the top at some point .
    Obviously I am going to choose the artist very very carefully next time ! I hope you can offer some advice and possibly treatment !

    • Kerry says:

      Hello Charley and thank you for contacting us. I’m sure we would be able to help. Black is the easiest colour to remove with laser treatment. Yellow I’m afraid is not possible to remove. Regarding the blue, it depends how dark it is. Like yellows, we are not able to remove turquoise. It sounds like there is a lot of black however which is really encouraging. If you’d like to send me your contact telephone number using the contact page on our website ( I can give you a quick call to discuss. We look forward to hearing from you.

  8. John says:

    Hi, I’ve asked a few people in the past of it would be possible to successfully remove my tattoo with mixed answers, I have a full tribal sleeve (all black) that I got years ago and now want it removed, could this be done successfully and would it leave substantial scaring? I look forward too hearing back from you thanks

    John G

    • Kerry says:

      Hello John and thank you for your post. Black is the easiest colour to remove with laser tattoo removal. However in order to remove it as fully as possible, you would need an ‘active’ Q-switched YAG laser rather than the cheap ‘passive’ Q-Switched YAG lasers often used in tattoo parlours. Whilst scarring is possible, it is certainly not an expected side effect, unlike the chemical tattoo removal options which cause significant scarring. Textural scarring is not common with laser tattoo removal and in the few cases where scarring does occur, these tend to be pigmentation changes within the skin e.g. hyper-pigmentation (dark marks) or hypo-pigmentation (light marks). Black tattoos however are by far the easiest tattoos to remove, with minimal side effects. If you’d like to let us have a contact number for you we can book you in for a free, no obligation consultation.

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