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Why does my tattoo turn white during my laser session?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions we get asked in the clinic, and for good reason! You may have seen in one of the many videos online how a tattoo seems to magically disappear once treated by the laser. Unfortunately, it probably hasn’t disappeared, and that whitish yellow colour you see has a bit of an explanation behind it.


Why does the tattoo ‘frost’?


When the laser is absorbed by the tattoo ink pigment, it is heated rapidly. This in turn causes gas or plasma to form, and then released through the skin in the form of gas. The release of this gas causes the ink to become white and is commonly referred to as ‘frosting’.


Should a tattoo ‘frost’ every time it is treated?


Frosting is a very common and safe side effect of laser. Rather than being a bad thing, it is actually the ‘end point’ a laser technician will look for during the first 1 – 4 sessions. In general, the further along you get in your treatment plan, the less you will see the frosting effect due to the presence of less ink.


How long does ‘frosting’ last for?


Frosting is only temporary and usually subsides within 10-20 minutes following treatment.


Do you have any further questions in relation to frosting? Please give us a call at the clinic on 07 5607 0563 or shoot us an email at


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