Tattoo Removal Success Factors
Some tattoos can be removed faster, some take more treatments. Also some tattoos completely disappear while some leave a slight residual “ghost”. The factors that affect the number of treatments and the removal success are the tattoo’s color, age, size, location, layering and amount of ink. The patient’s skin color, scarring, and smoking Are also important.
Color: In general, green, blue, and black are easier colors to remove. Red, orange, yellow, and white inks are more difficult.
Age of the tattoo: Older tattoos may be easier to remove, particularly if they have faded.
Tattoo Size: Larger tattoos require more treatments.
Smoking: Regular smokers have a 70% lower rate of removal after 10 sessions compared to their non-smokers. It is believed that smoking’s effect on wound healing is responsible.
Skin Color: For individuals with lighter skin, tattoo removal is more successful. Lighter skin doesn’t significantly absorb laser light so most of the laser energy is focused on the tattoo pigment. And because darker skin absorbs more energy, the treatments must use lower energy settings.
Location: Removal is harder in areas that have a less blood supply and slower healing. Tattoos on feet, lower legs, or hands need more treatments, tattoos on the chest or back fewer.
Amount of Ink: Professional tattoos use more pigment and it resides deeper in the skin. Amateur tattooing is easier to remove.
Scarring or tissue damage: Some people, especially those with dark skin types, are at risk for developing scars during the tattooing process. Pigment under scar tissue is much more difficult to remove and requires more treatments.
Layered Tattoos: Layered tattoos (when a patient tries to cover up the initial tattoo with another one) are difficult to remove and require significantly more treatments than singular tattoos. It is necessary to use darker ink tones to cover previous tattoos. Since the new layer is larger and darker full removal can be very difficult.