Tattoo Removal

Our cosmetic dermatologist are experts at tattoo removal. If you are interested in tattoo removal in Washington, DC, the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery can help. Schedule an appointment for a consultation to discuss laser tattoo removal in Washington, DC to learn what removal options might work best and what results you might be able to expect.

The practice of decorating the body with tattoos dates back to the Stone Age and has persisted through the centuries. Tattoos are common in every part of the world, and in many cultures is associated with specific rites of passage. In the United States, where tattoos are merely ornamental, people sometimes regret receiving them. Studies today suggest that more than half of all adults with tattoos wish they didn’t have them.

laser tattoo removal washington dc

Individual results may vary.

Tattoos Removal in Washington, DC Explained

The mechanism behind a tattoo is simple: inks of various colors are introduced into the skin by a sharp instrument (usually a needle). Modern tattoo methods have become more advanced with intricate patterns and the use of exotic blends of natural and synthetic dyes to produce a wide range of colors within the tattoo.

Classifying Tattoos

Tattoos are commonly categorized into four groups:

(1) Professional Tattoo These tattoos are more complex applications of large amounts of pigment and multiple colors. Because of their complexity and, amount of pigment, they require the most treatments, usually on the order of 10 or more laser sessions.

(2) Amateur Tattoo These tattoos are the simplest in appearance and the easiest to remove. Self-applied tattoos and medicinal tattoos (from radiation markings) typically fall in this category. The scant amounts of black ink or pigment in these tattoos can typically be removed in a few laser sessions.

(3) Cosmetic Tattoo These professionally applied tattoos consist of red, black, or brown pigments and are designed to mimic lip, eye or brow liner. Unfortunately, many cosmetic tattoo pigments contain a reddish-brown substance (iron oxide or titanium dioxide) that can turn dark upon laser impact. To gauge this, a single small test pulse is often applied to the tattoo to determine the response before additional laser treatment is applied.

(4) Traumatic Tattoo These tattoos are the result of an accident that forcibly introduces foreign debris into the skin. Depending on the size and distribution of the tattoo particles, it can take as little as a few to many laser treatments to clear the traumatic tattoo.

Tattoo Removal in DC at Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery

Tattoos are regarded as a deep type of pigmented lesion. Dermasurgeons in Washington, DC can remove the tattoo ink particles in the same manner as they take out the pigment in a mole or brown birthmark. The same lasers that target pigment in the skin also can reduce the tattoo particles to much tinier pieces that the body can eliminate or hide. Because color is related to absorption of light energy, different lasers are used to remove different-colored pigments. Tattoos of the same color may also react differently because tattoo pigments may have different chemical compositions.

All of the tattoo lasers are effective in removing black or dark blue tattoo ink, but no laser currently available can remove all of the inks in multi-colored professional tattoos, so treatment of multicolored tattoos requires the use of at least two different laser systems.The number of laser treatment sessions necessary to remove a tattoo depends on:

  • The kinds of pigments or inks used
  • The number of different colors used
  • The amount of pigments or inks used
  • The length of time a tattoo has been present

Picoway Laser

Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery is known worldwide as being a leader in laser skin surgery. We were one of the first practices in the world to offer PicoWay laser, an FDA-cleared laser treatment for the removal of tattoos and pigmented lesions. PicoWay laser incorporates picosecond (one trillionth of a second) pulse durations to generate ultra-short pulses with very high peak powers of laser energy on the skin. A strong photo-mechanical impact occurs that results in the fracturing of tattoo ink or pigment particles in the skin.

The PicoWay laser safely delivers picosecond pulses to effectively treat of all skin types. In addition, a wider range of tattoo ink colors (including stubborn inks such as reds and yellows) can be successfully targeted, thereby clearing multicolored tattoos in fewer treatment sessions.


Individual results may vary.

Although an estimate can be made regarding the number of laser treatments that will be necessary to remove a tattoo, it is impossible to predict the exact number of laser sessions necessary due to individual variations.

If you have a tattoo you no longer desire, schedule a tattoo removal consultation in Washington, DC on K Street at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery to learn how we can help.

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