Laser tattoo removal is a process; one that can take a year or more to complete in some cases. The density of the ink in the skin is one of many factors involved in determining how long a tattoo will take to achieve complete removal. Other factors include but are not limited to your own immune system, placement of the tattoo, and skin color. On average a tattoo requires 5-10 treatments to completely remove. Treatments are typically spaced 4-8 weeks apart.
If you’re wanting to remove multiple tattoos, often times two or more can be treated in the same session. There is a limit to the size of the area that can be treated at one time, though. The amount of ink we can treat in one treatment is roughly equivalent to the size of a standard sheet of paper. Much more than that and the immune system could be overwhelmed with shattered ink. Also the subsequent swelling could be quite uncomfortable. So the amount of ink you want to remove could add to the amount of time needed for complete removal.
This article, One Direction tattoo removal cost, states that whatclinic.com took a look at the tattoos of members of One Direction and determined that Zayn Malik would have to undergo laser tattoo removal treatments (spaced 6 weeks apart) for 38 years to completely remove all of his tattoos. The article does not state if that estimate was calculated by tr4eating one tattoo at a time until it was gone before starting another, or by working on multiple tattoos in each session. That being said, it is very likely much less time would be needed to fully remove all of Zayn’s tattoos.
The point that should be emphasized here is that laser tattoo removal is a process, and results should not be expected to be immediate. Progress will be seen with each treatment, meaning that you will see a difference in your tattoo after each treatment. At first it may be slight differences that are more noticeable by looking at the before picture beside the next before treatment picture. Each treatment builds on the previous treatment, and before long significant fading is visible. If ever you have questions about your laser tattoo removal treatments or the progress of your tattoo, ask your laser specialist. It’s always better to have clarity on a subject than to continue to wonder if what you are experiencing is normal or not. As always, Vanish staff wants to make sure you are completely comfortable with your treatments and fully understand the process.
We have heard this sentiment echoed by some of our patients here at Vanish. Many factors contribute to how quickly your body heals itself. A seemingly slower healing process is not necessarily something to worry about.
If you’ve had a few laser tattoo removal treatments and all of a sudden the healing process seems to be lagging on, it could simply be that the laser’s setting is targeting ink deeper in the skin and thus the healing process can be a bit longer. It could be that you have a significant amount of shattered ink in your skin and your immune system is working hard to flush it away and spending less time on healing the surrounding tissue. It could be that for some reason, your immune system is not working as well as it had been with previous laser treatments.
Several factors can weaken the immune system. Cold weather can draw blood flow towards the center of the body, limiting the immune system’s response to more superficial areas, like the skin. Stress can play a huge role in the effectiveness of your immune system. Indulging in many sugary treats, YUM, can have a slowing effect on the immune system. Sleep deprivation can also hinder the immune system’s response. So many factors can slow your immune system, it is hard to know exactly why healing is taking longer.
If healing is taking a bit longer than before, just allow more time between your treatments. As long as the treated area is healing without signs of infection there should be no cause for concern, however, if other warning signs are present, you may want to consult with your physician. If you’re uncertain, give us a call. Let us know what’s going on. You may even want to send a picture. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and refer you to your physician if necessary.
If you’re a fan of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, you may recall an episode recently where Doc Robbins performed an autopsy on a “Jane Doe” who had no finger prints and traces of THC in her system as well as some evidence of chemotherapy drugs. Doc Robbins noted a discolored lymph node and at first assumed it was due to the cancer for which she had been treated. On further investigation, removal, and dissection of the lymph node, Doc Robbins determined the discoloration was from tattoo ink, though he had not seen a tattoo on her body. He switched to a UV light source and, with the assistance of CSI Brody, discovered that “Jane Doe” had once had a tattoo on her neck that had been removed via laser tattoo removal treatments. Really? Is it possible to see your laser removed tattoo under UV light long after it is no longer visible under regular lighting?
It’s an interesting concept, but one that is likely fabricated in someone’s imagination. Laser tattoo removal works by heating ink particles to the point that they shatter into tiny particles that the immune system can then flush away. This process does take ink particles through the lymph nodes which could, in fact, lead to discolored lymph nodes, but just getting a tattoo can cause the same discoloration because some ink particles are already small enough for the immune system to flush away. This is why tattoos tend to fade over time. Back to tattoos removed via laser…since the ink gets broken up and flushed away, once the ink is gone from the body, there would be nothing left to fluoresce under an ultra violet light source.
On the other hand, some physical trauma to the skin can be seen under ultra violet light. Old bruises and such have been seen months after the visible bruising had faded. That being said, it may be possible to see the trauma caused to the skin during laser treatment long after the skin has healed. Of course, whatever image you may see of a laser removed tattoo under ultra violet light would never be the crystal clear image depicted in the TV show. We’re not even sure you would be able to tell it was a tattoo that had undergone laser tattoo removal treatments. It did make for an interesting story, though.
Photo courtesy of Simon Howden via www.freedigitalphotos.net
UV Yoda tattoo
One fun and growing trend in tattoos these days is blacklight or UV tattoos. These tattoos are near invisible under regular lighting, but expose them to UV or blacklights and they glow with blazing detail. Some who have these blacklight tattoos carry a small blacklight so they can show off their glowing ink at a moment’s notice. Blacklight tattoos are quite popular among club goes and “ravers,” but they are gaining ground in the mainstream population as well. The idea of having a tattoo in a highly visible location that can only be seen under special circumstances is appealing to those who for whatever reason cannot have visible tattoos.
As cool as they are and as appealing as they might be, there are some things to keep in mind before running down to the local tattoo shop for an awesome blacklight tattoo. UV inks have been known to fade just as any other ink over time. Also the UV inks may take on a yellow or brownish tint as they age, similar to white ink tattoos. Colored UV inks will be visible under regular lighting, but will glow in vibrant florescent colors under a blacklight so if you’re wanted an “invisible” tattoo stay away from colored UV inks. UV inks are not FDA approved for human use, though neither are any other inks. The FDA does have the authority to regulate all tattoo inks, but due to “other public health priorities and a lack of evidence of safety concerns” they have chosen not to regulate any tattoo inks as of yet. If you want to highlight a regular tattoo with UV inks, you’ll need to get the regular inking done first, allow it to heal, then come back for the UV ink as UV ink is a bit thinner than traditional ink and the two do not mix. Traditional ink will basically cover the UV ink. And lastly, UV ink is not able to be removed by laser tattoo removal treatments, so if in the off chance the ink doesn’t turn out right or becomes more visible as the years go on, it cannot be removed at least not with the currently laser technology.
If you decide on getting a blacklight tattoo, make sure to seek out a reputable artist (you should do this for all your tattoos). Also look for an artist who has experience with UV ink. Remember UV ink has a thinner consistency than traditional tattoo inks and can be harder to work with. You will also want to make sure your artist has a blacklight within arm’s reach especially for white UV ink. Regardless of regular ink or UV ink, you want the best tattoo you can get, after all they are intended to be with you’re the rest of your life and beyond.