Is laser tattoo removal really effective? That's what every patient wants to know. The answer is: it depends. For the most part, it is very effective, but there are a number of factors at play here. Some tattoos can be removed easily, while others will require a number of laser removal sessions. How do you know which category yours falls into? Here are a few guidelines.
How Tattoo Removal Works
First, let's talk a little bit about how the process works. With laser tattoo removal, a technician will use a laser to break up the pigment particles beneath your skin. It's important to note that this doesn't get rid of the ink by itself. Next, your bodies natural immune response will kick in and carry the pigment particles away to be excreted naturally.
This process takes time, and you can't do it all at once — that would be too hard on your skin. Most tattoos require anywhere between 4 to 7 sessions to fully remove. The exact number of sessions and the length of time it will take depends on a number of factors. Here are a few of the most important considerations.
How Large Is The Tattoo?
As we said, your average tattoo will require anywhere between 4 to 7 sessions. This is based primarily on the size of the tattoo. Very small tattoos may only require one session, while large tattoos may require many many more.
How Old Is The Tattoo?
The age of the tattoo is another important factor. In general, the older the tattoo the easier it is the remove. This is because pigment naturally breaks down as the tattoo ages. Newer tattoos will require many more sessions on average.
Where Is The Tattoo Located?
In more sensitive areas, you might need more sessions spaced out longer to give your skin ample time to recover. Areas like this include the feet, lower legs, and hands. These areas have reduced blood flow, so recovery will take longer. On the other hand, if the tattoo is on your chest, back, or shoulders you should heal much quicker.
What Is Your Skin Type?
Patients with lighter skin generally have more success with laser tattoo removal. That's because light skin absorbs less light, so the laser is more focused on the tattoo pigment. Darker skin will absorb more light and require more sessions.
What Type Of Pigments Are In The Tattoo?
Another thing that makes a difference with tattoo removal are the pigments (colors) used. Black, green, and blue pigment are the easiest to remove, while red, orange, and white pigment are among the hardest.
Are You Healthy?
The tattoo removal process relies heavily on your bodies ability to heal. In general, the healthier you are the more effective your laser tattoo removal will be. Smoking, in particular, has a large impact on the effectiveness of laser tattoo removal. Not only is smoking bad for your health in general, it directly impacts your bodies ability to heal.
So, laser tattoo removal is very effective in general. That said, some tattoos will require more sessions (and more time between sessions) than others. Still, anything is better than spending a lifetime with a tattoo that you don't want!
Are you looking for an experienced cosmetic surgeon to perform your laser tattoo removal? Dr. DeMercurio has over 9 years of experience in the field and his clients hold him in very high regard. Please, contact us at The Florida Center for Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery today for more information on getting rid of your unwanted tattoos.