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What is the Hardest Color Tattoo to Remove?

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Dr. Hardik Soni

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People have millions of ways to express their personalities – from the clothes they wear to the car they drive or the ink on their bodies. As with cars and clothes, there are different ink colors to choose from when it comes to selecting tattoo pigment. However, not all pigments are created the same as some tattoo colors may be more difficult to remove than others. 

So which tattoo color is the hardest to remove? White ink is one of the harder pigments to extract because it only reflects the laser light instead of absorbing it. If you are planning to undo white ink, remember that there is also a risk of darkening the ink instead of completely removing it.

Common Tattoo Colors: Which Colors Are Hard to Remove?

When you visit a laser technician, the first thing to ask them is will the color of my tattoo affect the removal process? The answer is yes. Since laser treatment sessions use light wavelengths, the color of the ink will dictate how much light can be absorbed by the skin. Different colors require specific laser wavelengths so they can be removed.

Here are common tattoo colors and a short description of how difficult to extract they are:

  • Black – Black ink is the default color of tattoos. Black, gray, and other similar shades are the easiest to remove because they absorb all the light.
  • Darker hues – Red, dark green, and navy are also fairly easy to undo because they can absorb the majority of the light from the laser treatments.
  • Lighter tones – Lighter tones like yellow, blue, purple, and green can be tricky because they are placed in the lower part of the absorption spectrum. This also applies to neon-colored inks.
  • White – White inks are the hardest tattoo ink to remove because it doesn’t absorb much of the light. They can even darken during laser removal treatment.

Why Are Some Colors Easier to Remove Than Others?

There are two factors to consider when it comes to removing colored tattoos: one is the color of the tattoo, and the other is the type of laser utilized during the procedure.

The basic rule of tattoo removal is that the closest color to the shade of the skin is, the harder it is to undo. Some colors like black, gray, and navy absorb light better, making it easier to break the ink particle in the skin. But lighter colors like white, yellow, and neon hues can be challenging because they can only absorb a fraction of the laser.

One laser cannot be used to remove all the ink colors of your tattoo. Each type specializes in targeting different wavelengths. Here are three of the different lasers used for tattoo removal:

  • Q-switched ruby laser has a 694nm wavelength that can undo black, blue and green ink
  • Q-switched alexandrite laser has a 755nm wavelength that can also remove black, blue, green ink
  • Q-switched Nd: YAG laser comes in two different wavelengths: 532nm for red pigments and 1064nm for blue and black colors

How Are Colored Tattoos Removed?

If you’re thinking of getting a tattoo because tattoo removal services are accessible anyway, you might have to think twice about this semi-permanent decision. While tattoo removal treatments are becoming more common, it’s not exactly an easy process, especially if you’re planning to get inked with multiple colors. 

Tattoos are permanent on the skin because of the heavy metals in them, such as manganese, copper, and lead. These elemental particles can be difficult to remove without the help of lasers. Lasers heat these particles and zap them apart. They are eventually swept into the bloodstream to be engulfed by the white blood cells.

To remove the tattoo, you might need to return for two to ten sessions depending on the number of layers, size, and colors of the tattoo.

What Are Effective Treatments for Colored Tattoo Removal?

If you want to remove colored tattoos, there are three options to choose from:

  1. Laser Removal is considered the most effective way to undo colored tattoos. However, it can yield different results depending on the color of the tattoo; dark-colored ones are easier to remove than lighter ones.
  2. Surgical Removal involves cutting off the inked skin and sewing the remaining parts together. It is an effective method to remove colored tattoos because pigments are not considered during surgery. However, it leaves a scar, so it is better for smaller tattoos.
  3. Dermabrasion removes the upper layers of the skin, allowing the ink to escape. The results for each person are hard to predict, which is why it’s not a common treatment.

Remove Your Colored Tattoos at Ethos Spa

Tattoos are a life-long commitment. But if you decide one day that you don’t want an inked skin anymore, go for laser tattoo removal here at Ethos Spa. Our state-of-the-art laser system can safely remove tattoos of all colors. Schedule a consultation with us now.

Learn more: Can Microneedling Remove Tattoo?

Dr. Hardik Soni

MD, Founder/Lead Physician

About Dr. Hardik Soni

Dr. Hardik Soni is the founder and Medical Director of Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness. His primary focus is on minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures including botulinum injection (Botox and Dysport), dermal fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse), laser hair removal, chemical peels, and laser skin rejuvenation. Dr. Soni believes in a more conservative approach and his first goal is education. Clients are able to determine the ideal treatments after discussion with Dr. Soni regarding the expected outcomes, cost, as well as risks.

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