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Frequently Asked Questions: Laser Tattoo Removal

Top reasons for patient to have their tattoo removed?

Regret (about 70%), Employment, Military, “outgrew the tattoo” and also, many come in to “lighten tattoo’s so they can change them to something else.

What is the top areas patients have tattoos removed from?

Wrists, ankles, lower mid back and arms

Most bizarre place you have seen a tattoo?

Pubic area and inner lip mucosa (mouth)

What are the hardest colors to remove?

White cannot be removed and can oxidize (darken).  I have seen this with pink when red and white are mixed together.  Sometimes changing wavelengths I am able to remove the oxidation and sometimes not!

Yellow sometimes will lighten and sometimes not.  I would say that yellow and white are wildcard colors meaning we don’t know what will happen when hit with a laser.  I will often times do a test spot prior to beginning treatments.  Some colors mixed with white may not oxidize right away, but after several treatments they might.

Red is normally an easy color to remove. Sometimes hypopigmentation can be a side effect that will normally resolve  after treatments.

What is an ideal candidate for tattoo removal?

Lighter skinned populations have less a chance of pigment changes, meaning post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation, or hypo-pigmentation.

Are there any restrictions on having a tattoo removed?

It is best to not be tanned in the area you are having the tattoo removal

You cannot be pregnant or breastfeeding

Most patients are 18 years a older

You must wait at least 6 weeks after getting a tattoo to have it removed


For more questions about your individual tattoo please call our office to schedule a complimentary consultation: 206-525-1168


Joanie Poth, RN

Posted in Picosure, Tattoo Removal Tagged with: , , ,

Bird Tattoo Removal Before & After

 4" Mid-back Tattoo Removal Before and After

4″ Mid-back Tattoo Removal Before and After two treatments with the PicoSure Laser

Posted in Picosure, Tattoo Removal Tagged with: , ,

Tattoo Removal Video

Curious to see what the tattoo removal treatment looks like at Seattle Skin and Laser? Take a look at our treatment videos! Here is one of our very own provider, Joanie Poth, RN treating a blue inked tattoo with our PicoSure laser. Have questions? Give us a call at 206-525-1168

Posted in Picosure, Promotions, Tattoo Removal, Tattoos in the workplace Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

3D Printer Used for Tattooing

Would you rather trust a human or a machine to create your art? Check out this invention using a 3D printer:tattoo 3d printer




Posted in Uncategorized

Tattoo Removal Summer Tips

Back/Shoulder Tattoo Removal

Back/Shoulder Tattoo Removal



If you are considering, or already undergoing any type of laser treatments over the summer months, it is important to minimize tanning as much as possible.  Unprotected sun exposure can increase the risk of side effects such as skin discoloration, blistering and scarring.  It’s important that you provide extra protection for your skin during the summer months using a good SPF 35 or above, and limit your sun exposure, especially to areas that are being treated.

Follow these simple suggestions, and you will have the best possible tattoo removal outcome!

Posted in Picosure, Tattoo Removal Tagged with: ,

Tribal Neck Tattoo Removal Before & After


Neck Tattoo Removal Before and After: Black tribal covering initials underneath Partial removal after being treated 13 times using the Q-switched Nd: Yag laser Tattoo removal completed after 3 final treatments using the  Picosure Laser

Black tribal covering initials underneath

Partial removal using the Q-switched Nd: Yag laser (13 treatments)
Tattoo removal completed after 3 treatments using the Picosure Laser





Posted in Picosure, Tattoo Removal, Uncategorized

The Current ‘State of the Art’ in Tattoo Removal

Seattle Skin and Laser has been performing laser tattoo removal in conjunction with Blink Tattoo Removal for the last 7 years.  We have successfully removed hundreds of tattoos using multiple different laser systems.

However, tattoo removal has been performed for hundreds of years.  Early techniques were crude by modern standards and involved physical removal of tattoo pigments by physical methods, such as injection of foreign material, salabrasion (salt rubbing), dermabrasion (using a wire brush attached to a hand engine), excision (cutting out), trichloroacetic acid application, and carbon dioxide laser ablation.  While these methods were somewhat effective, they were painful and often left unsightly scarring, resembling third degree burn scars.

Removed using the Q-Switched Nd: Yag from Hoya Conbio

Removed using the Q-Switched Nd: Yag from Hoya Conbio

The evolution of laser technology in the early 1990’s involving the development and commercialization of ‘q switched’ (nanosecond pulse duration) systems revolutionized the medical removal of tattoos. The early systems had serious limitations on what types of pigments could be removed.  Older systems such as the q switched Nd:YAG, and q switched Ruby lasers also frequently caused superficial scarring and pigment loss due to beam profile, relative lack of power, and relatively longer pulse duration which generates a thermal (heat) effect on tissue.  Use of these systems produced significant aerosolization of tissue during treatment which posed some risk of transmitting infectious diseases to the operator.

Removed using the Q-Switched Nd: Yag from Hoya Conbio & the Q-Switched Alexandrite from Cynosure

Removed using the Q-Switched Nd: Yag from Hoya Conbio & the Q-Switched Alexandrite from Cynosure. Some hypopigmentation visible.

Q switched technology evolved significantly in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Devices became more powerful allowing treatment of deeply situated tattoo ink, beam profiles improved resulting in less superficial tissue destruction.  Different systems such as the qs Alexandrite which allowed treatment of blue and green pigment became commercially available.  In the mid 2000’s there were numerous options for laser removal of tattoos.  Although the technology had evolved rather quickly, there were still significant limitations including the inability to remove very deep pigment and significant thermal effect of the lasers on tissue resulting in superficial scarring and dyspigmentation.  Our experience also demonstrated that some tattoos were simply refractory to complete removal despite multiple treatments with multiple laser systems (qs Nd:YAG, qs Alexandrite, Fractional carbon dioxide, Fractional erbium.)

This stubborn tattoo was treated 14 times using the Q-Switched Nd: Yag from Hoya Conbio. The final 3 treatments were completed using the Picosure from Cynosure.

The development of the picosecond 755nm laser (Picosure, Cynosure) represented the first novel technological advance in laser tattoo removal in many years.  This laser was approved in 2013. Picosecond refers to the pulse duration (width) of the laser energy delivered to the skin.  The Picosure laser pulse duration is approximately 6 fold shorter than older q switched lasers.  Shorter pulse widths are beneficial when removing tattoos as less thermal (heat) energy is dissipated to the surrounding normal skin structures resulting in less discoloration and scarring of skin in the treatment field.  In terms of laser energy/ pigment interaction, picosecond energy delivery is fundamentally different than nanosecond (q switched) energy.  Picosecond energy produces a more complete shattering of the pigment (photoacoustic effect) as opposed to the photothermal effect imparted by older systems.  Research demonstrates that picosecond energy delivery shatters tattoo pigment more completely resulting in fewer treatments needed to completely remove a tattoo.  In addition to this, picosecond laser removal results in fewer undesirable effects such as, post treatment blistering, dyschromia and scarring.  The limitations of the Picosure device include inability to treat red, orange, and pink tattoo pigment.  Darker skin type patients may also develop pigment alteration.  This often resolves with time but could potentially be permanent.  Cynosure has developed a picosecond 532nm device which will address the colors that the current unit cannot treat.  The newest picosecond device which has been approved and released is the Enlighten (Cutera).  This is a 1064nm/532nm picosecond device.  This laser may potentially be beneficial for treating darker skin types and may penetrate deeper into the skin.  It is unlikely to be as effective as the Picosure for blue, purple and green tattoo pigment.  Unfortunately some tattoo pigments continue to defy non-invasive laser removal.  These include white (titanium), pastels such as pinks, some yellows, and florescent pigments.

Seattle Skin and Laser was an early adopter of the Picosure device.  We have operated this tattoo removal laser since 2013 and have been thoroughly satisfied with the results our patients have experienced.  We have observed that this laser removes tattoos with 40-50% fewer treatments than the q switched systems.  Many tattoos which were previously refractory to our older systems have been effectively treated as well.  As the Picosure does not treat red/orange pigment, we still utilize our Nd:YAG system (Revlite/HoyaConbio) for these colors as it is very effective and produces almost no adverse effects.  We have found this combination to be effective for the vast majority of tattoos.  We are committed to upgrading our technology as it evolves, with the goal of providing the region with the combination of the most experienced laser tattoo removal staff and the most efficacious laser tattoo removal technology available.



Posted in Picosure, Tattoo Removal Tagged with: ,

Last Day to Join our Terrible Tattoo Contest!

Join our friends at Seattle Skin and Laser & The Stranger as they host their second annual “Terrible Tattoo Contest”. The winner gets free removal using the Picosure laser! Today is the last call for entries!



Posted in Promotions

Tattoo Removal and Your Career

What do you think of this Huffington Post article? Tattoo Removal Rises As Employers Hesitate To Hire Inked Applicants

Professionals who consult for tattoo removal at Seattle Skin and Laser are now given two options for hiding a visible tattoo. Complete removal using the new Picosure laser from Cynosure is the very best option. It is the fastest laser on the market today, often removing tattoos in half the treatment time of older lasers. The second option is covering the tattoo. This is a great option for those who really love their tattoo, but would like to have it covered occasionally. Make-up can also be a secondary solution for patients who are mid-way through tattoo removal and would like more coverage until the end result is achieved.

Seattle Skin and Laser now offers the ColoreScience mineral make-up corrector pallet. corrector pallet

This make-up can be applied directly to the tattoo and will stay on for several hours. This is a great option for job interviews, weddings, and other events where you would like to temporarily camouflage your tattoo. Be sure to ask about this option, in conjunction with laser tattoo removal at your complimentary consult.

The ColoreScience corrector pallet retails for $50.00.  Now through the end of August enjoy 15% off.  Call Seattle Skin and Laser to discuss tattoo removal and cover-up options today. (206) 525-1168

Posted in Makeup, Picosure, Tattoo Removal, Tattoos in the workplace Tagged with: , , , ,

Tattoo Removal – using our new Picosure laser


We are excited to announce the arrival of the Picosure laser for tattoo removal. It is the new gold standard, leading the way, for quicker and safer tattoo removal.

As I said in an earlier blog, we were researching the Pico, and if we believed it would perform as promised, we would make it available to our patients.  Some of you may already know that we brought it on line this past August and it is exceeding our expectations.

After several months of hands on experience with the Picosure, treating hundreds of tattoos, I am impressed with results I am seeing.  The effects this laser has on some of the more difficult pigments to treat such as, blues, greens and even yellow has been spectacular. Due to the new ultra short pulse technology of the Picosure, these pigments fade significantly with only two treatments.  Tattoos with these colors, treated with older technology usually needed at least 7-10 treatments to get the same results.  While the Pico is best in most circumstances, we will continue to use our Yag as well, which is more effective on red ink.

Another plus is that treatments with the Picosure are notably less painful for most of our patients, and the healing process is faster.

When I was introduced to this laser in August I nicknamed it “Darth.”  It is big and powerful…definitely living up to its name!!

Posted in Picosure