12 Factors that Affect Laser Tattoo Removal
Tattoos, at their best, are personal statements of meaning, creativity and expression. But we’re all human, and we’re all allowed to change our minds… sometimes people outgrow a tattoo that was meaningful in the past, or simply get tired of it, or are not happy with the quality. Whatever the reason, Laser Tattoo Removal is now faster and more effective than ever.
The two outer layers of skin are called the ‘dermis’ and the ‘epidermis’. The epidermis is the outer layer, and protects the layers underneath from the elements.
Tattoos are designed to be permanent, and they are therefore applied to the dermis - the inner layer. When tattoos are being removed, our PicoSure Laser energy targets the ink, leaving the surrounding tissue unaffected.
However there are factors that influence its effectiveness - we’re going to run through the top 12 with you here.
1. Skin tone
Skin tone affects the time it takes for the process to work. The reason for this is that a higher wavelength is required on darker skin. A lower frequency wavelength is more effective for tattoo removal, but could cause scarring or hyper/hypo pigmentation (darkening or lightening of the skin), so is therefore avoided for people with darker skin tones. This doesn’t mean that the treatment won’t work - it may simply take longer to be done safely. If you have questions about this, come and talk to us. We offer free consultations, and unbiased advice - our clinicians always prioritise safety so will be able to steer you in the right direction, even if that is to avoid treatment.
2. Ink type and quality
Tattoos don’t just vary by design - they also vary in the type and composition of ink used, with artists using a variety of compounds to create pigments. This doesn’t just apply to colours, but also to the ink type and quality. Some compounds that are found in certain inks, such as beryllium, are difficult to remove via Laser treatment. The good news is that the PicoSure Laser that we use is the most effective available worldwide, and is very effective at removing dark or pre-treated inks.
3. Skill of tattoo artist
Depending on the technique of the tattoo artist, some tattoos will leave more scar tissue than others, even if it is not visible. Tattoos are harder to remove from areas that have scarred.
4. Location of tattoo
The location on the body can affect the speed of the Laser Tattoo Removal process. Areas of the body with a large blood and lymph node count, such as the face, neck, upper and lower back, are easiest to treat. Arms and legs also work well - however as you move towards the extremities, such as the hands and feet, tattoos are slower to remove.
5. Size of tattoo
The larger and denser the Tattoo, the more Laser Tattoo Removal sessions you will require. For example, a small wrist tattoo will be quicker and easier to remove than a full sleeve. The treatment itself is very quick - the laser works instantaneously on the ink - but the larger the tattoo, the longer each session, and the more that will likely be needed.
6. Age of tattoo
As tattoos age, then ‘sink’ more deeply into the skin, which is why some appear slightly faded over time. In general, the more recent the tattoo, the quicker it will be to remove.
7. Ink colour
Contrary to what you might expect, black ink is typically the easiest to remove. Some coloured inks, particularly reds and greens, and difficult to remove with traditional Laser therapies. However, the PicoSure Laser, which we use exclusively, is the world’s leading Laser Tattoo Removal technology, and works effectively even on coloured inks.
8. Depth of ink
This is again related to the skill of the tattoo artist. Professional tattoo artists tend to use more ink, and penetrate a little deeper into the dermis than amateur artists. The deeper the ink is embedded into the skin, the longer it will take to remove.
9. Immune system
The PicoSure laser that we use works by applying waves of pressure to the tattoo inks, which shatters it apart into microscopic particles, that are then expelled by the body’s natural processes. Healthy practises such as a balanced diet & exercise, avoidance of smoking & excess alcohol, and management of sleep and stress all contribute to a strong immune system which will make the process as efficient as possible.
10 . Smoking
Research suggests that smoking can reduce the effectiveness of Laser Tattoo Removal. However, studies focussed on the older Q-Switched last technologies, rather than the PicoSure technology exclusively used here at FADE, which is the most advanced available. However, it appears that smoking can compromise results, and suppress the immune system, and is there best avoided if possible.
11. Sun exposure
Laser Tattoo Removal cannot safely be undertaken on sun burnt skin, and for safety, during your treatment, we recommend avoiding sun exposure as much as possible. Where it’s unavoidable, we recommend using a high SPF sun block, or covering the treated area.
12. Type of Laser
There are several types of Laser technologies used to remove tattoos. Traditional Q-Switched lasers are among the most common and can take around 10 – 20 sessions to achieve a good clearance. With the new PicoSure laser - which we exclusively you - you can expect to see more complete tattoo removal up to 75% quicker than traditional lasers. Traditional lasers heat the ink in your tattoo breaking it into small pieces, but the patented PressureWave™ impact from the PicoSure laser shatters the ink into tiny particles which are more easily disposed of by your body.
The good news is that Laser Tattoo Removal technology has advanced rapidly in recent years, and we exclusively offer the most advanced technology available worldwide - PicoSure. This guarantees the quickest, most comfortable, and most effective treatment available. If you have a tattoo that you would like removed, you can arrange a Free Consultation with us, and one of our expert clinicians can run through all the factors with you, including timing, cost and expected outcome. Get in touch today to see what we can do for you.