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Laser Tattoo Removal

Cosmetics and Laser Center appointments: (813) 259-8694

Advances in laser technology have revolutionized skin care and tattoo treatment today.

Prior to laser treatment, tattoos were removed with invasive, painful and often risky procedures leaving unsightly scars.

Today, by using lasers for tattoo removal, patients can expect reduced risk for scarring and damage to the skin. The laser works by delivering a bolus of light that is attracted to the tattoo ink, creating a photoacoustic effect to break up the ink particles. These particles are then absorbed by the body’s macrophages, tiny cells that scavenge the skin for unwanted materials. Different color tattoos actually take different wavelengths of light to be destroyed.

At USF Health, our dermatology specialists use a q-switched laser with three available wavelengths, allowing us to treat all skin types with any color tattoo.

Each tattoo is unique, so the removal technique is tailored to best suit each patient’s unique skin care needs. The number of laser treatments are usually based on the color of the tattoo, the skin type of the patient, the location of the tattoo, the amount of times it was inked, and the healing response of the skin.

What are the benefits of laser tattoo removal?

  • Reduces appearance of the tattoo over time
  • A safer alternative to other tattoo removal options 

What can I expect?

  • Cool air is used to minimize discomfort during the treatment and a topical numbing cream is often applied prior to the procedure
  • During the treatment, you feel a snapping rubber band sensation that is tolerated by most patients
  • Multiple treatments are needed to achieve the best results – we like to allow 6 to 8 weeks between treatments
  • After the treatment, an ointment is applied to the treated area and should be reapplied with a bandage daily for 3- to 4 days following treatment
  • Mild blistering, redness, peeling, scabbing, and swelling can be expected after the treatment


Please note: Cosmetics procedures are not covered by health insurance.