Every tattoo is different, and the number of laser tattoo removal sessions needed to successfully remove a tattoo can vary greatly depending on multiple variables.
Factors to consider when removing tattoos:
- Ink Color: Greens and blues more challenging than black and red inks. White ink can oxidize and turn darker once hit with the laser.
- Age of Tattoo: Older tattoos are generally easier to remove and require less sessions than newer tattoos
- Size of Tattoo: According to a 2010 study by the American medical association it was noted that larger tattoos over 12 inches in diameter require more sessions than smaller tattoos.
- If you Smoke: The same study mentioned above also directly linked the negative effects of smoking on tattoo removal. Regular smokers had a 70 percent lower rate of removal after ten sessions compared to their non-smoking counterparts. This lower success rate is most likely related to smoking’s direct effect on wound healing.
- Location of Tattoo: Removal of your tattoo is harder in areas that have a limited vascular supply and slower healing. Thus, tattoos on the feet, lower legs or hands require more sessions than tattoos on the chest and back.
- Amount of Ink: The amount of ink used is another parameter that affects laser tattoo removal. Professional tattoos have a greater density/volume of pigment that resides deeper in the skin. On the other hand, amateur tattooing is usually uneven, superficial, and done with dramatically less ink.
- Your Skin Type: Laser tattoo removal is more effective for individuals with lighter skin, because lighter skin does not significantly absorb laser light, most of the laser energy is focused on the tattoo pigment. Darker skin absorbs a portion of laser light from the tattoo. Also, most laser clinics adjust the laser accordingly on patients with darker skin to avoid unwanted side effects.