The Top 8 Myths about Laser Tattoo Removal
1. It takes between 4-10 treatments to completely remove unwanted tattoos.
No-one can tell you how many sessions it will take to remove a tattoo.
There are a number of factors that influence how many tattoo removal sessions you will need, most of these are out of our control. One of the most significant factors that will influence the number of sessions that you will need to remove a tattoo is the age of your tattoo. There is a misconception that brand new tattoos are very easy to remove – however that unfortunately is not the case. Our immune system will instinctively attempt to remove tattoo ink, the immune system detects the ink as a foreign matter and as a result, works to remove as much as it can. When comparing a 20-year-old tattoo and a ‘new’ tattoo, the 20 year old tattoo will be faded prior to starting laser treatments, it will have undergone a color change and may even appear to be ‘blurry’, because the body has worked for 20 years to remove the ink. Whereas a new tattoo will have 100% of the ink sitting in the dermis. Clients seeking removal of a new tattoo need to wait till the site has healed, normally 6-8 weeks, before they begin laser removal sessions on their new tattoos, and can expect a greater number of sessions.
2. My tattoo is small – it won’t take many sessions to remove!
This is one of the most common statements that we get when clients enquire about tattoo removal. Unfortunately, size plays absolutely no part in the amount of sessions you will need, while it may sound confusing – the size only determines the amount of time that you will spend sitting in the tattoo removal chair. A whole sleeve can be removed in the same amount of sessions as a tiny letter, it all depends on the amount of ink that the artist has injected into the skin.
3. It’s only a wrist tattoo- it will go away fast!
The location on your body is one of the most dominant factors for tattoo removal. Blood flow and White Blood Cells are the vessel that your body uses to carry the ink particles around and out of your body. The closer your tattoo is to your heart (where the blood pumps from) the easier it is for your body to send cells to the area and carry the ink away. Facial, chest, rib, upper arm and neck tattoos will always fade faster (and require less sessions) than ankle, finger and wrist tattoos since the blood flow is more prominent in those locations.
4. All ink colors respond the same!
Ink color also plays a big part in the number of laser sessions you will need. Black ink is the fastest and easiest pigment to treat and remove. Colored tattoos require a different treatment approach and rely on a laser with multiple wavelengths. Red, orange, and some pinks are slightly more complicated than black ink, but the 532 wavelength means Uninked can remove them. There is no tattoo removal laser on the market that specifically targets yellow ink, so for yellow ink tattoos we make no promises. Purples are tricky, sometimes you have to experiment with several wavelengths to see which one the ink responds to, but with multiple wavelengths we can get the job done. Blue and green ink require many more treatments than any other color, but are removable despite what other studios may say. A Picosure Laser used by many tattoo removal studios and clinics is not the laser of choice for several colors, blue and green included. Clients are often times referred to us because we have the capability to treat coros. Uninked uses a Q-Switched Tri-Wavelength Laser that has a wavelength to target blues and greens.
A little known fact is that manufacturers of tattoo inks are not required to reveal the contents. Tattoo inks may be made from titanium dioxide, lead, chromium, nickel, iron oxides, ash, carbon black, and other ingredients. Among the most popular pigments are those made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a type of heat-resistant plastic that is used to make luggage, pipe fittings, appliance parts, and, when ground down, tattoo inks. These inks are popular because they produce the vivid colors people are seeking in their tattoo art. Our bodies will struggle to break down many of these ingredients, which as a result requires many laser removal sessions for a tattoo to be completely removed.
5. The lighter the skin, the harder the removal!
All skin tones can be treated with laser tattoo removal; however, each client’s treatment process will have to be tailored exclusively to their individual skin tone. Darker skin contains more pigment (melanin), so care must be taken by the laser specialist when choosing the power settings, to ensure the skin pigment is minimally affected. Less aggressive or conservative sessions are needed to do this. This will result in more sessions for dark skinned clients. While light skinned clients, with little pigment will require less sessions.
6. Touch ups or cover ups don’t matter, I can still easily have my tattoo removed!
The amount of ink that a tattoo artist has placed into the skin will influence the number of sessions required to remove it. The more ink that is in the skin – the harder your immune system has to work to break it down. This is known as heavy handed tattooing. Many clients seek a “touch-up” when a tattoo begins to fade or a “cover-up” when they want to change a tattoo. This creates double the amount of ink in the skin, therefore the number of laser tattoo removal sessions will be increased. It is also common for tattoo artists to ‘over-fill’ the skin with ink, this is seen in fine line or line work tattoos,and some script tattoos. Artists who work like this, produce risen, scar-like tattoos and your body will have to work extremely hard to remove the amount of ink that is in your tattoo.
7. All Ink is created equal!
The ingredients in the ink that the artist uses can make it hard to predict how many treatments a tattoo will need. Tattoo inks can include ingredients such as Chrome, Lead, Aluminium, carbon, zinc and many others. The unknown ingredients in ink have made it impossible to predict the number of sessions a removal will take. Ink that is used may be stubborn for your body to break down.
8. My health has nothing to do with Tattoo Removal!
Healthy individuals respond better to tattoo removal and can require fewer sessions. Living a healthy lifestyle, drinking water, and avoiding nicotine cannot be overlooked. The immune system and circulatory system are challenged to remove the ink in your tattoo, the more you look after your body and give it the fuel and exercise it needs, the easier it will be to remove your tattoo. Healthier clients can rid themselves of unwanted ink faster, and thus require fewer laser sessions. Clients that struggle to drink water each day will find that their tattoos hang on for much longer than our clients who are healthier and more hydrated. You don’t need to become a marathon runner or drastically change your diet, but small changes such as taking vitamins, exercising more and eliminating nicotine will be beneficial for your tattoo removal.
At Uninked we are constantly working on client removal protocols to ensure our clients are getting the most out of their tattoo removal sessions.
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in Tattoo Removal as tattoos are meant to be permanent and as a result, some can be more stubborn to remove.