When it comes to removing an unwanted tattoo, there are not that many options available. The safest and most effective solution is laser tattoo removal. The procedure will provide great results and effectively clear your skin.
Now, we are talking about a laser procedure. It must be done by a certified technician. Plus, results will vary from one person to another. Each tattoo is unique and so each tattoo removal procedure is too.
However, there is a set of six key factors that will indeed affect laser tattoo removal. While some of them are beyond your control, other relates to how your tattoo was inked and what type you decided to go for.
Your immune system
Amongst factors that are out of your control when it comes to the results of tattoo removal is your immune system. It is one key factor that you probably did not suspect. Yet, your body's immune system will help determine how long your treatment will take.
Removing tattoo pigments create ink debris in the body. After all, when you get a tattoo, the ink is injected under the skin in the body. Removing toxins, debris and other exterior intruders is indeed the job of your immune system.
The ink particles are broken down by the laser. Your body will also play a role in removing said particles as it will break them down even more. The speed of that process depends on your body's unique immune system.
There are ways to boost your immune system. However, there is still so much you can do. Your metabolism, working out and staying hydrated will help your body break down your tattoo. Drinking plenty of water will also help your system flush out the broken ink particle.
The size of your tattoo
The second key factor that will affect laser tattoo removal is the size of your tattoo. The smaller the tattoo the easier to remove. One laser session may not be able to cover the whole surface of the tattoo.
Larger tattoo will thus require more laser treatments. While a small heart on the wrist will be treated in ten minutes, a full arm will take more than an hour. And even then, the laser may not have covered the entire treated area.
Indeed, even a small tattoo will require several sessions to achieve complete removal. This is because there may be several layers of ink with some particles deeper within the skin than others. Then, some particles of ink may be more resistant than others.
A 2010 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that tattoos over 12 inches in diameter were least successfully removed after 10 treatments. Removing a large tattoo remains however easier than removing a small tattoo.
Your skin tone and complexion
Laser tattoo removal works on all skin types and complexions. The laser is targeting the ink to trigger the healing process from the skin. However, skin color may interfere with the efficiency of this tattoo removal method. Dark-skinned people may need additional sessions.
The ink used in tattoos penetrates the second layer of the skin called "dermis". The dermis is protected from all outside elements by a first layer of skin called "epidermis". A tattoo can only be removed if the laser is able to penetrate the dermis whilst leaving the epidermis intact and undamaged.
Your skin color will affect how long the laser takes to penetrate the dermis.
Indeed, light skin does not significantly absorb laser light. Thus, most of the laser energy focuses on the tattoo pigment. On the other hand, dark skin siphons a portion of the energy from the tattoo. Thus, darker skin tones take longer to successfully achieve a tattoo-free look.
To avoid burns and scars ad stay on the safe side, dark skin tones require a weaker laser intensity. Thus, the number of treatments will also be higher.
Your tattoo placement
The fourth factors that affect laser tattoo removal is where it is located. Areas that are harder to reach will be harder to treat. Body parts where the skin is extremely sensitive will require a lower laser intensity. Thus patients will need additional sessions.
The upper back, lower back, face and neck have a larger counts of lymph nodes and blood cells. Thus, the immune system react faster to the treatment in those areas. On the other hand, treatment on the legs, feet or hands is slower.
In short, laser tattoo removal is harder and slower on tattoos located in areas that have a limited vascular supply and slower healing.
The ink color and type
Dark colors tend to absorb light faster. Thus, it may come to no surprise that black is actually the easiest color to remove with a laser. Green and blue ink particles are also somehow easy to deal with as they remain on the cold dark color side of spectrum.
Warm colors such as red, orange and white are much more challenging to remove with a laser. Even ink that has faded will be tougher to break down with a laser. It is achievable of course but it will take additional sessions.
Each tattoo is unique in design. So is each individual's immune system. The same goes for ink. Pigments come from different components and some are harder to break than other. Ask your tattoo artist the exact make-up of the ink used in your tattoo.
This will help determine how strong the particles are and how long it will take to break them. For example, compounds in ink such as beryllium are hard to remove. Each ink type will also penetrate the skin to a different extent.
The age of the tattoo
The last key factors that will impact the results of laser tattoo removal is the age of your tattoo. A tattoo is made of ink particles that stay under the skin. However, to your immune system, that ink is still an intruder that it must combat.
That is why your immune system will have started to break ink particles on its own. This explains why old tattoos are prone to color fading on their own. Thus, they are easier to remove with the laser. However, if you had an old tattoo covered by another one, it may take longer if there are two layers of tattoo to remove.
In conclusion, there are a number factors that affect laser tattoo removal. They will all determine how long the treatment takes and how efficient it is. The laser used will also have an impact. That is why before booking a session, we advise that you book a free consultation first.
Thus, you will be able to discuss your needs with the technician. Taking into account your skin tone, age of your tattoo, placement and color of ink, the technician will be able to recommend a course of treatment suiting you best.