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In a side-by-side comparison of multiple lasers for tattoo removal, 1064 nm lasers prove most effective

Study also shares that one type of laser is most effective in recruiting macrophages which help in pigment metabolism.

By Andrea Alstad | Mar 30, 2022

Wausau, WI (March 28, 2022) – Tattoo removal is in high demand, and many types of lasers can be used for tattoo removal. In a recent pre-clinical study, comparing four types of lasers for tattoo removal, one came out on top due to its greater ability to recruit macrophages, the white blood cells that play an essential role in pigment metabolism.

Tattoo models with black ink were treated with 1064 nm nanosecond, 1064 nm picosecond, 755 nm, and 595 nm lasers for one session. By evaluating and analyzing the clinical photographic, melanin index, and hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining, the study demonstrates that 1064 nm lasers were most effective and that increased macrophage recruitment plays an essential role in laser tattoo removal.


The preclinical report, led by Xiao-Jie Du MD, is titled, “Comparative study of 1064 nm nanosecond, 1064 nm picosecond, 755 nm, and 595 nm lasers for tattoo removal: An essential role by macrophage” The report, published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine (LSM), the official journal of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Inc. (ASLMS), was selected as the March 2022 Editor’s Choice.

“Multiple devices are available for tattoo removal, and we felt it would be informative to have a side-by-side comparison across different lasers. In the persistence and clearance of tattoos, macrophages are regarded as an important player,” Du said. “Thus, in the present study, we compared the efficacy of tattoo removal with different type of lasers and aimed to evaluate the relationship between the destruction of pigment particles versus the recruitment of macrophages.”

As the authors shared, dermal macrophages serve as guardians of the skin by ingesting pathogens, dead cells, and any type of particles, thereby preventing the spread of potentially harmful substances through the body. They investigated whether superior tattoo clearance was associated with increased macrophage recruitment and concluded that the greater the number of macrophages recruited, the better the efficacy of tattoo removal.

While there was no significant difference between the effectiveness of 1064 nm nanosecond and picosecond lasers for tattoo removal, the 1064 nm nanosecond laser had the strongest macrophage recruitment. The authors concluded that the 1064 nm nanosecond lasers are the most effective for black tattoo removal due to higher macrophage recruitment, which plays an essential role in pigment metabolism during laser‐tattoo removal.

Xiao‐Jie Du is a medical doctor who was enrolled in the 8-year medical program in Xi'an Jiaotong University. Her ongoing medical training is conducted in the Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University. Now she is a lab member of Professor Weihui Zeng and dedicated in the mechanism of laser treatment in dermatological disorders including tattoo removal. This work is accomplished in collaboration with the lab of Professor Bin Chen in the State Key Laboratory of Multiphase Flow in Power Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University.

Editor’s Choice is an exclusive article published in LSM, the official journal of the ASLMS. View the complete manuscript.

The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Inc. (ASLMS) is the largest multidisciplinary professional organization dedicated to the development and application of lasers and related technology for health care applications. ASLMS promotes excellence in patient care by advancing biomedical application of lasers and other related technologies worldwide. ASLMS membership includes physicians, surgeons, nurses, and allied health professionals representing multiple specialties, physicists involved in product development, biomedical engineers, biologists, industry representatives and manufacturers. For more information, visit



The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Inc. is the world’s largest scientific organization dedicated to promoting research, education and high standards of clinical care in the field of medical laser applications. It provides a forum for the exchange of scientific information and participation in communicating the latest developments in laser medicine and surgery to clinicians, research investigators, government and regulatory agencies, and the public.

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