There are many factors involved in determining how quickly/easily a tattoo can be removed. On average a tattoo can be removed in 5-10 sessions. This range is very broad due to the number of factors involved in how easily a tattoo can be removed. Some of these factors are listed below.
The Age of the Tattoo
Older tattoos typically respond better to laser treatment than new tattoos because they have had time to be exposed to elements that can break down ink in the skin. On the other hand, older tattoos have also had time to settle deeper into the skin. Newer tattoos have more durable inks and a wider variety of colors which sometimes make them more difficult to remove. Very new tattoos, within a few months old, are often easier to remove because they have not had the time necessary for the ink to settle into very deep layers of skin.
How Dense/Dark the Ink Is
Very dense/dark ink can be quite difficult to remove. While the body will actively remove the ink once the laser has targeted and shattered the ink, it can take a few sessions before very noticeable results occur. It is easy to get discouraged when dealing with dense, dark ink, but progress can be made and the tattoo will respond to treatment given enough time.
Where the Tattoo is Located
Tattoos that are located on the torso, upper arms, and upper legs tend to be easier to remove than tattoos located further out on the extremities. Because the body’s immune system is the primary force in removing tattoo ink once it has been shattered by the laser, areas with better circulation tend to see results quicker than areas where circulation is poor.
The Patient’s Immune System
The better your immune system is, the more likely it is for you to see quick results with laser tattoo removal. The laser breaks up the ink so that it is then small enough for your immune system to remove. An active immune system can result in quicker flushing of the ink particles.
The Contrast between the Color of the Skin and the Color of the Ink
When the ink closely resembles the skin color, it can be harder for the color to be removed. Pinks and yellows tend to be some of the more difficult colors; however they are often not applied very dense and thus break up quickly.
There are many more factors that determine how many sessions a tattoo would require to remove, these are just a few. For an idea of how many sessions would be required for your particular tattoo, our office offers free consultations to allow our laser specialist to see your tattoo, get an idea of you and your immune system, and make an educated estimate tailored to your specific tattoo. Remember all tattoos and people are very different. Even if you and your friend got the same tattoo by the same artist at the same location with the same ink in the same place, it is possible for your tattoo to be removed in more or less sessions than your friend’s.