What makes a tattoo easier to remove?

MAY 15, 2023


A number of factors make a tattoo easier to remove, but one of the most salient is the colour of the ink used in the original design. The easiest tattoos to remove with laser tattoo removal are black, green, blue, and dark purple.

Our expert consultants know that darker colours of ink absorb a broader spectrum of light, and so, most laser wavelengths are capable of penetrating them and shattering them apart. Consequently, the easiest tattoos to remove with laser tattoo removal are black, green, blue, and dark purple. Conversely, lighter colours are tougher to remove and will often take a greater number of treatments to clear. White is the most difficult colour tattoo of all to remove with a laser. We will consider the following in this blog post:

  • Different colour inks are easier to remove than others

  • Different methods are better at removing tattoo ink than others

  • The health of your immune system influences how easy a tattoo is to remove

  • A lymphatic massage will make a tattoo easier to remove

  • Staying safe in the sun will make a tattoo easier to remove

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The easiest tattoos to remove with laser tattoo removal are black, green, blue, and dark purple. But a lot depends on your immune system. 

When answering what makes a tattoo easier to remove, a lot depends on the technology used.

Lasers are far better at removing tattoo ink than the earliest methods of dermabrasion and salabrasion: essentially rubbing the epidermis away with brushes or salt. These were dangerous and painful methods for removing a tattoo, leaving the skin exposed to infection. Back to the present now and the LightSense™ laser safely and effectively removes black ink from all Fitzpatrick skin types. This is because it works on ultra-low and safe energy - adeptly making the most of the concept of fluence. Read all about the science behind fluence and why it is so important here. As for colour ink, we cannot yet safely treat colour ink tattoos on Fitzpatrick skin types 4-6. This is because there is a risk that the laser could damage the skin’s melanocytes and cause scarring. “Currently, our experts can treat black ink on all skin tones. However we can only safely treat coloured inks on Fitzpatrick 1-3 skin types,” says Leslie, who deals with NAAMA’s clients on a regular basis. “We determine your skin tone and create a bespoke treatment plan based on the scale.” The LightSense™ laser offers precise treatment on safe and low energy. Because of this, there is less downtime between treatments and clients visit our Central London studio every 2-3 weeks. That translates to laser tattoo removal in months, not years.

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Does massage speed up tattoo removal?

A massage can greatly speed up tattoo removal. A lymphatic massage helps to make the system in your body that is responsible for clearing out unwanted tattoo ink stronger and more effective. A lymphatic drainage massage is a gentle way of encouraging the lymph fluids to travel throughout your body whilst stimulating the drainage of the lymph nodes. It can relieve swelling and help aid the treatment of a wide variety of medical conditions.

A healthy immune system

Clients with strong and healthy immune systems, who regularly exercise, get the right amount of sleep, eat well, and are hydrated, stand the best chance of easily removing their tattoos. We know that all might sound like a bit of a tough ask. But many of our clients think of it as a further investment in themselves. 95 per cent of the fluid in your lymphatic system (the bit that flushes out unwanted ink) is plain old water. So a glass or two extra each day will greatly improve your chances of getting the most from laser tattoo removal. This is because laser tattoo removal works with your natural immune system to flush out the ink pigment that has been shattered by the laser. A healthy immune system speeds up this process.

Tattoo location

Tattoos that are located near to your heart, an area where there is a strong flow of blood, will clear quicker than ink that is located on your extremities (think hands and feet). Again this is because after shattering the ink apart with the LightSense™ laser, tattoo removal relies on your body’s natural immune system. So, somewhat counterintuitively perhaps, those little pinky tatts might take a lot longer to remove than a full on chest piece. There are other factors that influence how easy it is to remove a tattoo, including the density of the ink. But because tattoo inks are extremely unregulated (as we found out in our interview with John Swierk, assistant professor at Binghamton University), the best way to find out how easy it will be to remove your tattoo with its unique ink profile is to book a patch test and consultation with one of our experts. "We have seen a fair number of cases where there is a discrepancy between what's supposed to be in the bottle and what is actually in the bottle,” John told NAAMA. “That may be a cause for concern."

Staying safe in the sun will make a tattoo easier to remove

Last but not least, to make a tattoo easier to remove you should follow our sun exposure guidelines and stay safe out in the sun. We are not able to safely treat tattoos if your skin is burnt, blistered, or has been exposed to strong sunlight and is tanned. As Dr Fiona Worsnop, a Harley Street and NHS Consultant Dermatologist advises, “If you already have UV damaged skin that is in a protective, reactive phase, then the immune system is a bit more distracted.” Adding that, “We know the sun is an immunosuppressant.” What makes a tattoo easier to remove? Following our guidance above and reading our sun exposure guidelines are great places to start if you hope to make the most of laser tattoo removal at NAAMA studios.