March 16th 2017
After reading the articles on my blog, you might be wondering how many treatments someone needs to get their tattoo removed. The truth is, this depends on a lot of different aspects. The type of laser being use, type of tattoo ink, tattooing skills of the artist, your skin type, if any scars are underneath and whether you might have covered up another tattoo or had it retouched.
In short, what the laser does
“The lasers break down the ink particles in the tattoo. The broken-down ink is then fought off by the immune system, mimicking the natural fading that time or sun exposure would create. All tattoo pigments have specific light absorption spectra. A tattoo laser must be capable of emitting adequate energy within the given absorption spectrum the pigment to provide an effective treatment. Certain tattoo pigments, such as yellows, greens and fluorescent inks are more challenging to treat than darker blacks and blues, because they have absorption spectra that fall outside or on the edge of the emission spectra available in the tattoo removal laser. Recent pastel colored inks contain high concentrations of titanium dioxide which is highly reflective. Consequently, such inks are difficult to remove since they reflect a significant amount of the incident light energy out of the skin.” by: Wikipedia
The Kirby-Desai Scale
In 2009, William Kirby et al. executed a study to design a numerical scale to assess the amount of tattoo removal treatments necessary to achieve satisfactory results. Kirby is the current medical director at Dr.Tattoff Inc. in California. On Youtube you will find many of their laser tattoo removal video’s.
“As tattoos have become increasingly popular in the Western world, tattoo-removal requests have also increased. Laser tattoo removal is the current treatment of choice given its safety and efficacy. However, due to varying types of tattoos, it has been difficult to quantify the number of laser treatments required with certainty. […] Results of the study revealed that complete removal of all the tattoos in 100 patients was achieved in our subject group. The average number of treatments required was 10 treatments, with a range of 3 to 20 treatments.” by: The Kirby-Desai Scale
Your clinic can give you advice on the (minimal) amount of sessions needed, but hopefully the Kirby-Desai scale can give you some information in advance. In my case the tattoo responds very well and we’re expecting to be done after 6 more sessions. The pale skin makes it easy for the laser to penetrate and the tattoo was placed by a skillful artist who used quality ink. After 4 treatments the shading had disappeared and the lines are fading visibly. Off course the thicker lines take longer, ass do the areas that are more dense. Overall I’m in luck, but mostly I’m in very good and professional hands.