A variety of factors – the size of the tattoo, location, density of the ink, the device used, and the color of the ink – can determine the number of treatments necessary to remove a tattoo. Although it is almost impossible to determine the exact amount of treatments it will take to completely remove a tattoo, a Wisconsin tattoo removal expert can accurately assess these nine factors to help predict the length of the process and its success:
1. Ink color – Generally, blue, black, and green inks are the easiest to remove, while white, red, orange, and yellow inks are more difficult to get rid of. Newer devices such as the Astanza laser are more efficient when it comes to treating these notoriously challenging colors. Recently, a study showed a 75% improvement in blue and green pigments in just 1 to 2 treatments with the Astanza Laser Tattoo Removal device. Almost two-thirds of the tattoos experienced close to 100% clearance. A study completed in 2012 demonstrated a 75% clearance of black ink in as few as 2 to 4 treatments.
2. Tattoo Age – Since older tattoos have often experienced a certain degree of pigment fading, they are often easier to treat than newer tattoos.
3. Tattoo Size – One of the most important variables when evaluating the removal of a tattoo is the size of it. Obviously, larger tattoos will require a higher number of treatments than smaller tattoos. A study published in 2010 by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that tattoos that were larger than 12 inches in diameter were successfully eliminated after 10 treatment sessions.
4. Smoking – The same study also found that smoking negatively impacted the success of tattoo removal. Individuals who smoked on a frequent basis experienced a 70% lower rate of success compared to non-smokers. This lower rate of success is most likely due to smoking’s negative impact on wound healing.
5. Skin Color – Individuals with lighter skin types (particularly Fitzpatrick type 1 or 2) will experience better results during tattoo removal. Since lighter skin types do not absorb much of the light from the laser, the majority of the laser’s energy focuses on the tattoo pigment. By contrast, darker skin types absorb a portion of the energy from the laser. Also, laser technicians often need to use lower energy settings on darker skin tones since they are more prone to unwelcome side effects.
6. Location – Since areas with a limited vascular supply experience slower healing time, tattoo removal in these areas is usually more difficult. Because of this, tattoos on the lower legs, hands, and feet require a higher number of treatments than areas such as the chest or back.
7. The Amount of Ink – The success of Wisconsin tattoo removal also depends on the amount of ink used. Tattoos that have been completed professionally have a higher density and volume of pigment deep within the skin. Alternatively, amateur tattoos are usually closer to the surface of the skin, uneven, and completed with significantly less ink.
8. Scarring or Damaged Tissue – Certain people, especially those with darker skin tones, are at a higher risk of developing scars or other damaged tissue during the process of getting a tattoo. Ink pigment that is located beneath scar tissue is far more difficult to eliminate and requires additional treatments.
9. Layered Tattoos – Tattoos that have been layered over an initial tattoo can be especially difficult to treat compared to singular tattoos. Since most tattoo ink is fairly translucent, covering up a tattoo usually requires darker ink. The new larger, darker tattoo will be harder to treat.