Blue and green pigment in tattoos was successfully removed using a novel picosecond laser in a recent study.
Ten patients (mean age, 31.5 years) with 12 multicolored tattoos containing blue and/or green pigment were treated. Ten tattoos (mean age, 9.5 years) previously were untreated, while two were recalcitrant and showed clinically apparent pigment after at least 10 treatments. The tattoos were located on the upper back, shoulder, leg, thigh, abdomen, arm and neck. Fitzpatrick skin types were II to IV.
Of the 10 untreated tattoos, three had green pigment only, six had blue and green pigment, and the other one, created atop a pre-existing tattoo, was described by the patient as “turquoise.” One of the recalcitrant tattoos also was described as turquoise; the other had green pigment.
After patients were locally anesthetized, tattoos were treated with a 755-nm alexandrite laser, with variable pulse duration of 750 picoseconds to 900 picoseconds and a repetition rate of 5 Hz. Recovery time was minimal; the average pain score reported was 1.08 on a 10-point scale.
At 1-month follow-up, 11 tattoos had more than 75% clearance of blue and/or green pigment, with greater than two-thirds of those approaching complete clearance. A green-only tattoo required two treatments to achieve a similar result. After one or two treatments, purple pigment also demonstrated greater than 75% clearance, but the other colors had 25% or less removal.
Researchers cautioned, “while a particular laser and selected parameters may successfully remove one tattoo of a certain color, they may not work as effectively on another tattoo of the same color” because of varying elements and chemical compounds used in creating tattoo colors.
“We believe this new technology is far more effective in targeting blue and green pigment, with expedited clearance and improved recovery time owing to less collateral injury of surrounding tissue,” the researchers concluded.
Disclosure: See the study for a full list of relevant disclosures.