Is eyebrow tattoo removal efficient?

I am starting a new career where any kind of tattoos are forbidden. I had my eyebrows done several years ago and now I would like to remove any trace of them. Does the tattoo removal work effectively? What kind of removal procedure do you recommend for tattooed eyebrows that will work?


F, 34, Virginia

Tags:woman age 25-34 eyebrows unwanted tattoo tattoo

Cosmetic tattoos, such as eyebrow tattoos, are a convenient way to ensure you always have a well-groomed appearance. However, the demand for their removal is growing as they are also restrictive, preventing the wearer from changing or updating their look in line with current trends.

Eyebrow tattoos can be effectively removed with lasers. It is a safe procedure, and can take anywhere between two to 12 laser treatments to remove all traces of the tattoo ink. Permanent makeup usually uses cosmetic ink, which is different from the ink used for regular tattoos.

However, this does not guarantee quick or easy removal as cosmetic ink can include a range of pigments that behave in different ways to the laser treatment. Older inks are more difficult to remove than newer ones.  

The color of the ink used will also figure in the removal process: flesh toned inks often contain iron, and can oxidize and become darker or even black, and then must be treated as a darker tattoo. Low quality or diluted inks may also cause unwanted side effects during removal.

Another issue to be aware of is that eyebrow tattoo removal using laser carries the risk of burning and scarring unless the eyebrow hairs are first shaved prior to treatment. In addition, laser may affect the pigment in the eyebrow hair follicle.

If the hair absorbs the laser energy the hair may be turned white, or the shaft may be partially or fully destroyed, preventing new eyebrow growth. The safest, most effective lasers for eyebrow tattoo removal are Q-switched Nd:YAG and PicoSecond lasers, as both are less likely to discolor or damage the skin. A combination of laser treatments may be necessary to achieve the best results, particularly if several different colors of cosmetic ink were used.

I recommend that you consult with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who can determine the safest form of laser removal for you. If you can find out the type of ink that was used on your eyebrows, or the brand, this will help your surgeon in determining the best method of proceeding with your laser eyebrow tattoo removal.

The removal of cosmetic ink carries more challenges than regular tattoo ink, so finding an experienced practitioner is essential. While some flesh-toned eyebrow tattoos will fade following microdermabrasion and chemical peels, the most effective option for tattoo removal is laser technology. Your dermatologist or plastic surgeon will identify the most effective form of laser to remove the pigment from the skin with as little adverse effect as possible.

There are several laser options available for tattoo removal, of which PiQo4 and Q-switched Nd:YAG lasers are the most commonly used. PiQo4 is our preferred option nowadays as it can treat all skin colors and all cosmetic ink colors in half the time of Q-switched Nd:YAG lasers.

This is very important as it is desirable to use as few laser sessions as possible to minimize damage to the skin. Patients may need between six and 12 treatments to completely eliminate any trace of the tattoo pigment color from their skin.

PiQo4 lasers create very little discomfort and use pressure waves to disperse the ink pigment into tiny particles. The more quickly and smaller the ink particles are shattered, the more efficiently your body can eliminate them. Hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation may still occur following treatment, but there is less risk with PiQo4 than other lasers.

Consult with your practitioner to determine your best course of treatment and learn more about what the procedure entails: in some cases, you will be required to shave your eyebrows prior to treatment, or you could risk experiencing inhibited hair growth when the eyebrow hairs begin to grow back.