How to Remove a Stick and Poke Tattoo

Updated October 16, 2022
Cropped Image Of Woman With Partially Removed Tattoo On Neck

Are you feeling a bit of tattoo regret? Don't worry, you aren't alone. Many tattoo enthusiasts look for ways to remove their ink, especially those with stick and poke tattoos. Since stick and poke tattoos do not employ the use of any electric machine, they can be less precise and lead to less-than-desirable results.

So how do you remove the tattoo? Tattoo removal is big business. Professional services can also have a hefty price tag. But a professional service by a credentialed expert may be your best bet to undo your ink.

Can You Remove a Stick and Poke Tattoo at Home?

Getting rid of a tattoo at home is nearly impossible. It is also unsafe. There are some methods that you may see promoted online, but these methods can cause pain and possibly even scarring. Do-it-yourself methods can also lead to infection and painful bleeding.

There are different home procedures that tattoo enthusiasts might use to remove their art. Salabrasion and dermabrasion are two that are touted online. Salabrasion involves the use of gauze soaked in sodium chloride. Dermabrasian is the manual removal of the top layer of skin.

But a 2013 study in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology noted that salabrasion and dermabrasion could produce unpredictable results and prolonged healing times. Additionally, skin discoloration and scarring are frequent. Study authors advise against both methods.

Tattoo removal creams are also widely available online and in some stores. Unfortunately the creams don't work and could cause harm.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), there is no evidence that tattoo removal creams or ointments are effective. Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings against their use. According to the government health organization, these home remedies may cause skin rashes, burns, or scars. And you are likely to still have your tattoo after using them. The FDA has not approved any tattoo removal ointments and creams or do-it-yourself tattoo removal kits.

Lastly, some people have tried natural methods for tattoo fading at home. For instance, methods involving lemon juice, aloe, yogurt, and honey are sometimes suggested for tattoo removal. Some spas and salons even sell these services.

But again, experts advise against them. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology notes that there is no evidence to show that these methods are effective. Study authors also point out that they are usually performed by non-medical personnel and that there are no laws or regulations governing the procedures. Side effects may occur as a result.

Professional Treatments for Tattoo Removal

What you have at home won't cut it and could cause serious damage to your skin. The best way to get rid of your tattoo is by using a professional service like laser tattoo removal. According to the AAD, lasers outshine other methods for removal because they have been shown to remove tattoos safely and effectively, use fewer treatments, and can treat persistent ink colors. While the cost of these treatments can be significant ($200 to $500 or more per treatment), your health is more important and your safety is at risk if you try a home method.

The AAD explains that you'll need to consult with a tattoo removal specialist before getting any laser treatment. Specifically they suggest going to a dermatologist. While tattoo artists and aestheticians may offer the service, you won't have the benefit of medical training and side effects are more common.

Keep in mind that safe and effective laser tattoo removal will usually require more than one treatment. Each time you go, the laser will treat a different layer of skin. The time it takes and the number of treatments needed will depend on the scope of your tattoo. But investing the time and money into a professional service can save you from the potential damage that home treatments can cause.

How to Remove a Stick and Poke Tattoo