How To Get Rid Of A Stick-And-Poke Tattoo

Time to erase that stubborn ink with some easy remedies and treatments!

Reviewed by Bianca Lorena Saldes, Registered Cosmetic Nurse Bianca Lorena Saldes Bianca Lorena SaldesRegistered Cosmetic Nurse facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (English Hons) Pahul Nanra BA (English Hons) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MSc Manjari Uppal MSc linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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If you have been wondering how to get rid of a stick-and-poke tattoo but are not sure which method to rely on, you have landed on the right page. Stick-and-poke tattoos are a form of body art created without using a tattoo machine. They are also referred to as a DIY or hand-poked tattoo. This type of tattoo method relies on a simple approach where a professional tattoo artist uses a single needle attached to a stick to manually puncture the skin, depositing the ink deep into the layers to birth a beautiful design. This technique originates from ancient tattooing traditions and has gradually evolved into a popular alternative to machine tattoos. The process involves meticulous precision as the professional artist guides the needle by hand to form the desired design. Keep reading to understand how long the tattoo may last and ways to get rid of it once it fades or becomes dull. Scroll down.

How Long Does A Stick-And-Poke Tattoo Last?

Stick-and-poke tattoo
Image: Shutterstock

Hand-poked tattoos or stick-and-poke tattoos typically last anywhere from 7 to 10 years or even longer. However, the longevity of such tattoos may vary based on numerous factors, such as an individual’s skin type, ink quality, and aftercare. Other factors like sun exposure, skin moisturization, and rate of skin shedding may also affect the longevity of the tattoos. Moreover, tattoos on certain body parts, such as the fingers, hands, toes, and ankles, may fade faster than tattoos on other body parts. These body parts are exposed to frequent friction, which may impact the longevity of the stick-and-poke tattoo on these areas. Regular touch-ups help refresh the design and extend its longevity.

protip_icon Pro Tip
Inserting the needle at an angle, rather than directly downward can help create a more precise and cleaner design.

If you have this adornment but somehow have tattoo regrets now, or your tattoo has become dull, and you want to remove it, continue scrolling. The following section explores different effective methods of tattoo removal that can help you get rid of a stick-and-poke tattoo.

How To Get Rid Of A Stick-And-Poke Tattoo

Laser tattoo removal
Image: Shutterstock

There are two methods you can try to get rid of a stick-and-poke tattoo – professional treatments and natural tattoo removal methods. Professional methods are more effective than natural methods. But most people who don’t want to deal with the pain of a tattoo removal procedure tend to opt for natural treatments. However, remember that natural treatment may only lighten the tattoo and not completely remove it. Keep reading to learn more about the professional and natural treatments you may consider.

1. Professional Treatments For Tattoo Removal

  • Salabrasion

The tattoo removal method involves rubbing salt on the skin to abrade the surface of the tattooed area. It aims to lift the tattoo particles, thereby eventually causing the tattoo to fade.

  • Dermabrasion Using Sand

This method is similar to professional dermabrasion. Unlike professional dermabrasion, which is done using a rotating tool, this method involves using sanding tools to buff away the epidermis (the skin’s top layer). This may diminish the appearance of scars, wrinkles, and even tattoos, resulting in skin regeneration.

  • Tattoo Removal Cream
Applying tattoo removal cream
Image: Shutterstock

Tattoo removal creams contain chemicals that specifically help to break down the tattoo pigments within the skin. They aim to gradually fade the tattoo, but their effectiveness may vary. Such creams may not guarantee complete tattoo removal and may just fade it.

  • Laser Tattoo Removal

You can also opt for a laser treatment to remove stick-and-poke tattoos. However, it is recommended to get it done at a reputed clinic for the best results. In this process, pulses of laser light are released on the tattooed skin. These laser light pulses target the tattoo ink, shattering it into minute particles. The skin is then healed away by its natural regeneration process. There are different types of lasers to choose from. However, the type or wavelength of the laser used depends on factors such as the tattoo ink pigment type, the size of the tattoo, your pain tolerance, and more. It’s best to consult a healthcare professional to determine which type of laser will be suitable for removing your tattoo.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Apply a gentle, fragrance- and alcohol-free ointment or a tattoo balm on your hand-picked tattoo once daily to ensure it stays hydrated and vibrant.

Before choosing any of the above-discussed professional methods, consult a healthcare professional to determine their suitability. They will consider the ink color, how old the tattoo is, and if you have any underlying health conditions. This will help reduce the risk of side effects.

The above professional treatments performed by a tattoo removal specialist may help you get rid of the unwanted tattoo. However, if you still want to try natural methods for tattoo fading, check out the next section.

2. Natural, At-Home Methods For Tattoo Removal

  • Lemon Juice
Lemon juice for tattoo removal
Image: Shutterstock

Using fresh lemon juice on the tattooed skin regularly may help get rid of a stick-and-poke tattoo. However, this method requires consistent use over multiple sessions. Lemon contains vitamin C, which exhibits skin-lightening properties (1). This may help in fading the tattoos gradually. To use lemon juice for tattoo removal, dip a small cotton ball in lemon juice and apply it on the tattooed skin. Leave it on for as long as possible and then wash it off. Do this daily for a few weeks to see the desired results. However, remember that the lemon juice may irritate the skin and make it sensitive to UV rays. Therefore, do a patch test beforehand and use SPF when stepping out into the sun.

  • Aloe Vera And Honey
Aloe vera and honey mixture for tattoo removal
Image: Shutterstock

According to anecdotal evidence, the brightening properties of honey may help fade the hand-poked tattoo over time, while aloe vera offers nourishment to the skin and soothes it. You can apply the mixture of a teaspoon of each of both natural ingredients daily and expect results in a few months. However, remember that this DIY method may not remove the tattoo completely.

If you are considering removing your stick-and-poke tattoo, you have a range of options at your disposal. While DIY approaches and natural remedies like aloe vera, honey, and lemon juice may appear easier, they may not offer effective results as professional treatments. Moreover, DIY remedies may take a long time to show some results. Professional methods of tattoo removal, such as salabrasion, tattoo removal ointments and creams, and laser treatments, are quite effective. However, the method that may suit your needs depends on factors like tattoo size, color, and skin type. Therefore, you must consult a dermatologist and work with them to get your tattoo removed professionally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are sticks and pokes safe?

While stick-and-poke tattoos are safe, they may pose risks like infection and uneven healing. Hence, it is important to use sterilized equipment and follow proper aftercare methods.

Can you use pen ink for a stick and poke?

Using pen ink for a stick and poke tattoo is not suggested, as it may contain harmful substances that can increase the risk of infection, leading to numerous adverse effects and health issues. It may also lead to cross-contamination if fresh ink is not used.

Is stick and poke permanent?

Yes, the tattoos can be permanent, lasting from 7 to 10 and even way longer with good aftercare.

What happens if a stick-and-poke gets infected?

Infection from hand-poked tattoos can lead to redness, swelling, skin irritation, discoloration, and even pain. If left untreated, it may even lead to some serious complications. Therefore, consult a doctor if you notice signs of infection in your tattooed area.

Should I ice my stick-and-poke tattoo?

No, it is best to avoid icing stick-and-poke tattoos, as it may damage the skin tissue. Ice can only help numb the skin temporarily and may not be beneficial.

Do stick-and-poke tattoos hurt?

The method may hurt slightly more than a normal tattooing method, as it needs to be done manually. The overall sensation may bring a painful experience.

What ink to use for stick-and-poke?

Use a sterile, professional-grade tattoo ink color that is specifically designed for stick-and-poke tattoos.

Key Takeaways

  • The stick-and-poke tattoo method involves creating a design manually using a needle attached to a stick.
  • The hand-poked tattoo can last up to 7 to 10 years and even longer with proper aftercare.
  • They can be removed using professional treatments like salabrasion, dermabrasion, and effective tattoo removal creams.
  • Natural remedies like lemon juice and a mixture of aloe vera and honey may also help fade the tattoos to some extent but aren’t as effective as professional methods.

Attempting a stick-and-poke tattoo can be tricky, but with the right guidance, you can try this traditional method yourself. Check out the video below for some simple steps on how to do a hand-picked tattoo at home!


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  1. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications
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Bianca Lorena Saldes
Bianca Lorena SaldesRegistered Cosmetic Nurse
Bianca Lorena Saldes is a Registered Cosmetic Nurse and Esthetic Educator with over five years of experience in the field. Her expertise lies in anti-aging treatments, and she aims to help individuals feel confident and look their best.

Read full bio of Bianca Lorena Saldes
Pahul Nanra
Pahul NanraBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Pahul Nanra is a content writer with a penchant for all things fashion and beauty. She has two years of experience in writing across beauty and lifestyle genres. She is an English Honors graduate from Delhi University with a diploma in Fashion Designing from YMCA.

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Anjali Sayee
Anjali SayeeAssociate Editor
Anjali is an associate editor at StyleCraze. She specializes in hairstyles and hair and skin care and has written over 200 articles in these domains. She has 7 years of experience, and her philosophy about hair and skin care is simple: if you love and care for it, it will be healthy.

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Manjari Uppal
Manjari Uppal Beauty & Lifestyle Writer
Manjari is a beauty and lifestyle writer with over three years of experience in writing across different niches, including beauty, health, wellness, and technology. She first discovered her passion for writing in school and has since honed her craft to perfection.

Read full bio of Manjari Uppal