PicoSure Lasers May Cause Temporary Ghost Images Following Successful Tattoo Removal

Occasionally I’ll get a question regarding a “ghost” image being left behind following PicoSure laser tattoo removal. The ghost image phenomenon is usually just transient hypopigmentation which generally resolves on its own in most cases – see example image below. So what causes hypopigmentation in the first place? During the course of treatments, the natural melanin pigment is removed via the same mechanism as the tattoo ink itself. Once the tattoo is gone, and the treatments are discontinued, the skin will repigment itself in time. However, one risk factor for permanent hypopigmentation is the number of treatments required to remove the tattoo; the fewer the treatments, the less chance for unwanted side effects. For this reason, I only utilize the PicoSure laser for all of my tattoo removal patients because it clears more ink in fewer sessions.

The PicoSure laser’s picosecond pulse creates a powerful PressureWave which shatters ink and allows it to be removed from the body. This is referred to as photomechanical impact and it’s a revolutionary technology that goes far beyond the simple photothermal action of old-style Q-switched lasers which can only heat up the tattoo pigment in an attempt to destroy it. In contrast to older Q-switched laser technology, the PicoSure laser actually decreases the risk of unwanted side effects such as permanent hypopigmentation and scarring. If you have a tattoo you would like removed safely with PicoSure I can be reached  by phone @ 512-479-9997  or just stop by my NEW location in Austin, TX:  Austin Medspa on W. 6th St.

Temporary ghost image:

Transient hypopigmentation



  1. Molly - Reply

    How long does this typically take to resolve? My last treatment was 6 months ago and my pigment has a white color to it where the tattoo was

    • admin - Reply

      Hi Molly,
      Hypopigmentation can take months and in some cases even years to resolve. A board certified dermatologist may be able to speed up the process with medication so I recommend seeing one. Black seed oil applied daily has also been shown to aid in the treatment of hypopigmentation. Good luck & thanks,

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