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What Can I Do If My Tattoo Isn’t Completely Faded?

What can I do if my tattoo isn’t completely faded?

“Dorian, I went to a removal clinic and after several months of treatment, my tattoo isn’t gone! They said there is nothing more they can do to fade it!”

This is probably the most common issue with laser removals. You have a level of fade that leaves the tattoo less visible than before you started but still oddly visible, like a ghost tattoo that someone can still see if they look right at it.

Not a fun place to be.

The good news for you guys who haven’t gone through this is that your tattoo is lower risk if it’s solid colored. Complicated multicolored tattoos are more difficult to fade because different inks respond in different ways to the ink removal lasers. There’s a tendency for part of the tattoo to be more visible than other parts, another reason I recommend doing a cover up as first option (more than just a bit).

High complexity, lower fade

The most difficult tattoos for the lasers are multicolored tattoos that are also highly complex in nature. I’m talking about intricate patterns like sweeping back designs with full on backgrounds and character details down to the hairs and facial gestures. Oh boy, those ones will likely not fade completely.

The more detail, the more ink used. And if some of the tattoo is flesh colored, red, tan, or white, you can be sure that you’re looking at a partial removal from the lasers at best.

Natural removal tends to fade more evenly

As natural removal methods exfoliate the skin, bringing the ink to the top, they are less discriminatory in that sense. The amount of ink used and the different types of color/pigment are less of a factor. A lot of my clients are rather surprised after paying a couple thousand dollars to a laser tattoo removal clinic, and then trying a basic exfoliation process and the rest of the tattoo goes away on its own!

Of course you don’t need to wait until a laser removal returns a subpar result. Check out my laserless removal guide if you haven’t already for lower cost, at home removal methods.: [link]

You know why you haven’t seen these techniques on TV? Because they’re not good moneymakers. They’re low-cost and don’t require a doctor. Thankfully, ink under the skin isn’t a terribly difficult problem to solve, especially with the right ingredients and removal process.

Which tattoo colors can you remove?

“Hey Dorian,

I got some pretty wicked tattoos: tribal stamp around my left wrist, my own words to live by on my upper back. But my biggest one is my flower blossom that uses quite a few colors. Is this going to be a problem if I decide to remove it? Thanks man”

It definitely makes things more complicated, that’s for sure. Some tattoo removal methods are very sensitive to the type of ink pigment being used.

For example with laser methods, black and red pigment won’t be an issue. But others will especially if they’re lighter. The problem is that lasers have difficulty targeting these ink layers.

Nontraditional colors, nontraditional methods

The flip side of the coin is that it doesn’t matter if you’re tattoo is pink, purple, or some crazy lime green if you use methods like the apricot scrub mentioned in my guide (check it out here: [link])

That’s because exfoliation methods don’t discriminate, they simply wear off dead layers of skin until the tattoo is exfoliated.

Of course this is one of several methods discussed in the guide.


Another thing you need to keep in mind especially if you’re considering another tattoo is “Will this be something I can modify or mask later?” For example pink flower petals will be much harder to mask than black which can be easily turned into a wheel, astrological symbol, or many other things.

But you’ll never need to change that tattoo, am I right? There’s a reason you’re on this page isn’t there 🙂

I have tattoos of various types on every limb in my body. And I’m perfectly cool with it because I know how to reverse, cover, or modify all of them. As a professional artist and remover, I guess that extra bit of knowledge helps. All I can say is be smart about your upcoming tattoo and always have a backup plan. View All

Don't Work Hard Earn Smartly.

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