If you’re wondering how to get rid of a stick and poke tattoo, we should first look at the history. Possibly the oldest form of tattooing, stick and poke tattoos, currently called hand-poked or machine-free tattoos, have been around for centuries. Going back as far as ancient Egyptian mummies and the practice of Tebori in Japan, these hand-done tattoos have been reinvigorated by skate and punk subculture in the 1970s, with more and more people picking up on the trend today.

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Another common place to hear about stick and poke tattoos is when discussing jailhouse tats. While stick and poke also seem to be the go-to method for tattooing in jail, this machine-free method has become trendier and popular among college-age students and other ink lovers.

However, as we all know, with any trend, there are often ignored risks and misinformation surrounding them – especially when it comes to tattoos.

Let’s take a quick look at what stick and poke tattoos are and what the stick and poke removal process looks like.

What are stick and poke tattoos?

Often referred to as homemade or DIY tattoos, stick and poke tattoos are a seemingly simple way to tattoo without a tattoo gun. You dip a needle in ink and then repeatedly insert it into your skin.

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MEDermis Laser Clinic used laser tattoo removal to get rid of these stick and poke tattoos from a client’s back (first) and another client’s forehead (second).

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it kind of is, but it comes with big risks. By manually poking the skin, you open yourself up to infection, allergic reactions, blood-borne disease, cross-contamination, and plenty of other health concerns that you definitely don’t want to deal with, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With that being said, it’s important to recognize that there is a difference between sterilizing and disinfecting. When you get a professional tattoo done, you can be sure that the equipment has been properly sterilized, while at-home methods may just be disinfected.

Now that you have some background on this tattoo style let’s look at the stick and poke tattoo removal methods.

Do stick and poke tattoos go away?

Another misconception about stick and poke tattoos is that they go away over time. The truth is that they will fade more than a tattoo done by machine, and they’ll often appear lighter, but it’s still a tattoo. The ink is going into your skin, and it won’t just go away – these are not 50-cent temporary tattoos.


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Stick and poke tattoo ink comes in various forms, especially because many people try this at home. We often see problems with cheap tattoo ink. Just because you may have done this tattoo at home, it doesn’t mean you can remove it at home.

Yes, stick and poke tattoos can be removed, but as we always say, it should only be done by a trained professional. Removal creams, dermabrasion, coconut oil, lemon, and other internet myths will not fade your ink. The only safe and effective way to remove your stick and poke tattoo is with laser removal.

Laser tattoo removal for stick and poke tattoos

Just as with every other type of tattoo out there, there are specific characteristics that will affect the ease and success of laser tattoo removal of a stick and poke tattoo.


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With one laser tattoo removal treatment with MEDermis, the ink “blow out” around this tattoo was cleared up.

For example, older tattoos are easier to remove than fresh ones, and certain colors are more challenging, while ink colors like black, brown, dark blue, and green are much easier to work with. In addition to age and color, there are some skin and health conditions that could affect laser tattoo removal as well. Things like:

darker skin pigmentationpre-existing conditions, like eczemahealth conditions, like herpes

can all affect the removal process for a stick and poke tattoo. However, choosing an experienced and reputable laser tattoo removal clinic will ensure that you and your skin are safe.

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Get Rid of Your Stick and Poke Tattoo at MEDermis Laser Clinic

While stick and poke tattoos are primarily tied to historical and cultural practices across many communities, they’re becoming more common at home. If you have a stick and poke tattoo that you don’t love anymore – we can help!

The MEDermis Laser Clinic team has years of experience and is ready to answer all of your laser tattoo removal questions. Are you ready to schedule your FREE consultation? Get in touch with MEDermis Laser Clinics today by calling our Austin clinic at 512-637-5277, the San Antonio clinic at 210-402-4030, or by filling out our online contact form.