Can Q-switched Laser side effects be reversed?

I had around 5 sessions of Q-switched Laser 4 years ago to remove a tattoo on my back, and I was left with white patches where the tattoo was. I can also see parts of the old tattoo that couldn't be removed. What can I do to completely remove it and get back the original color of my skin? Am I stuck with this hypopigmentation for all my life? I'm not sure which bothers me more, the faded tattoo or the white spots...


F, 39, New Jersey

Tags:man back side effects laser tattoo

Can’t speak for everyone, but it doesn’t seem to be the case for me. The problems and skin damage I experienced as a result of my Q-switched laser removal treatments seem to be fairly permanent. It is true that I can use cosmetics products to try to cover them up a bit, but the result is far less than perfect. I almost wish now that I hadn’t bothered trying to have the tattoo removed. It might have been better to have it altered in some way. Of course, I understand that they now have other types of laser treatments that result in less side effects, so maybe people with this problem should look for that.

I had the same thing happen to me after going through tattoo removal with the Q-switched laser treatment, but I probably had it worse than yours. My tattoo was gone but I had huge white spots on my stomach where it was removed. I think its called hypopigmentation. I was so embarrassed that I never wore bikinis and hated changing at the gym locker room. I was scared to get my other tattoo removed but I did, and it turned out great! No spots or marks at all. Unfortunately, I still have spots on my belly, but they have faded a little bit. I still don't wear two piece bathing suits though but at least my tattoos are gone!

Because I have a fairly dark skin type, my doctor warned me when I had my tattoo removed that I might experience certain undesirable side effects, like scarring or pigmented lesions in the area where the tattoo was removed. And my skin color where the tattoo was removed certainly became much lighter, showing where the tattoo was before. At first, I felt as though I wasn’t really getting any benefit from having my tattoo removed, since it was still there in a kind of outline. However, I have to say that after almost a year the color of my skin in that area more or less returned to normal. Until that happened, I used cosmetics to try to cover up the difference. Fortunately, I never got the scarring that some people get after a few months. Make sure you limit sun exposure to the treated area.

I got the white spots on my skin from having a tattoo removed. I had them covered up with another tattoo I like better. I have, however, read online that those discolored bits of skin will eventually grow back in their original shade. It could take months or it could take many years. I didn’t want to walk around for years with white spots on my skin, thus the cover up piece. I was also afraid that my natural skin tone would never return to those spots; I had read that was also a possibility. So, I would suggest another tattoo to cover it up. If you don’t want to go the route of more ink, you could always try PicoSure laser tattoo removal. I’ve read that the way they take the ink out is more effective and stimulates your body’s collagen and elastin production - which is supposed to lessen the risk of the white spots. Maybe, you could talk to the PicoSure people, and see if getting treatments will stimulate your collagen and elastin production and get rid of the white spots.