Laser tattoo removal is the best tattoo removal option out there. It is the safest, most effective tattoo removal treatment that ensures the tattoo disappears in the shortest possible time (now, take this with a grain of salt). However, even as such, laser tattoo removal takes time. How much time, you may ask. Well, it can take a long time before you see the actual results. Laser tattoo removal is surely known for taking time and of course, being rather expensive.
But, don’t let this discourage you! Laser tattoo removal is, once again, the best tattoo removal option for you. To clear a few things about the time it takes for the actual tattoo disappearance, keep on reading. In the following paragraphs we’ll take a look at why laser tattoo removal takes a long time to work, and when can you expect final results. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Laser Tattoo Removal Insight
How Does It Work?
Before we get into the actual discussion about how many treatments one requires to get rid of a tattoo, we first need to discuss the way laser tattoo removal works. Now, laser tattoo removal is performed using special types of lasers known as Q-switched lasers. These are the best lasers on the market for this purpose.
They utilize something known as the photomechanical effect to target ink inside the skin. Once they target the ink, the lasers send a shock wave of infrared energy that dissipates the ink. This is possible because the ink absorbs the infrared light and dissipates from inside out (upon being heated up).
This may sound complicated, but it is a pretty straightforward process. Unfortunately, a few shock waves won’t do it if you want to get rid of the whole tattoo. It may take hundreds of infrared shock waves to even notice the ink is dissipating into the surrounding skin.
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How Long Does It Take To Get Rid of a Tattoo?
Laser tattoo removal takes time; a lot of time! Surely more time than it took you to get tattooed.
One of the main reasons laser tattoo removal takes so time doesn’t lie in the number of infrared shock waves. It lies in the heat these waves produce. In order not to burn the skin completely, the clinician can only apply a few of these infrared waves at a time. Otherwise, alongside burning the skin, one could end up dealing with some serious scarring and skin damage. That is why it is essential to get laser tattoo removal done by a professional.
So, how many treatments does it take to get rid of a tattoo? It can take you between 10 and 25 laser removal sessions to get a tattoo partially or fully removed. Now, these sessions cannot be done immediately, all together in a few days. It takes time between each of the sessions for the skin to heal and recover. The body needs to recover and build an immune system defense for the upcoming laser removal sessions.
Now, the number of treatments depends on certain factors. For example, larger, colored tattoos placed in areas with thin, sensitive skin with a high number of nerve endings can take longer to remove than a smaller, black & grey tattoo placed on, let’s say, one’s thigh. Sometimes, it can take up to a year to get rid of a tattoo fully.
Another reason why tattoo removal can take up so much time lies in your own immune system. Sometimes, when the immune system is weakened, the laser removal isn’t as effective as it usually is, so it may take you even more removal sessions than firstly expected.
Which factors Determine The Number of Tattoo Removal Sessions
Laser tattoo removal won’t take the same amount of sessions for every person out there. There are certain factors that specifically determine the amount of laser removal sessions for your particular tattoo. These factors include;
- Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is a system of organs, tissues, and vessels all working together with the get rid of all sorts of toxins, metabolic waste, and foreign bodies from your body. It is also responsible for moving lymph, a colorless liquid, back into your bloodstream. Thank this, the body is sufficiently supplied with inflammation-fighting cells. This is how our bodies are able to fight off viral and bacterial infections, inflammation, and all sorts of immune deficiencies.
The lymphatic system is a busy thing, and its priority is to take care of your organs. As such, it may take a longer time to recognize the ink wandering around the body. So, from the very laser removal treatment, it may take the body up to 2 months to detect the dissipating ink and work towards removing it from the organism altogether. Once this happens, the tattoo will start to fade away quickly, and the laser tattoo removal will appear more efficient.
Laser tattoo removal can be very easy or very difficult to complete depending on the location of your tattoo. You may ask yourself why? First of all, if the tattoo is located somewhere on thin, sensitive skin, with a lot of nerve endings, the laser removal may take a long time so as not to damage the skin by burning or scarring it.
Furthermore, in the thin skin areas, the blood flow is usually weaker than in thick skin locations. This means that the lymphatic system will take even longer to target the dissipating ink in the think skin area, which means that the tattoo fading will also take a longer time.
The blood flow is, of course, the strongest in the chest area, since it is the closest to the heart. So, tattoos in this area will start fading in the shortest time. Tattoos far away from the heart will take the longest time to start fading and showing the effects of the laser removal procedure. The weaker the blood flow, the longer the laser tattoo removal process; that’s just the nature of our bodies.
Of course, the larger the tattoo, the more removal sessions it will take to get rid of the ink. If a large tattoo is also colored, especially with colors like red and yellow, you can expect up to 25 tattoo removal sessions to get rid of the ink. It will be difficult to get rid of such a tattoo, and there is no guarantee the red and yellow will fully disappear.
- Tattoo Color/Pigment
As we mentioned in the previous paragraphs, colored tattooed take longer to get rid of, especially if they contain red and yellow ink. The color/pigment of the tattoo can affect the overall duration of the removal process significantly.
Dark pigments, like black, grey, dark blue, or brown are the easiest to get rid of. The infrared laser can easily target and heat up darker pigments because of their easier heat and light absorption. On the other hand, things get really difficult when it comes to lighter pigments, like red, orange, yellow, white. These pigments cannot easily absorb infrared energy, which required more removal sessions and a more aggressive approach.
- Your Age (and The Age of The Tattoo)
The age of your skin can significantly affect the effectiveness and the duration of laser tattoo removal. For example, tattoos on older skin are difficult to remove to do skin wrinkling, healing issues, and overall lack of elasticity and hydration. Older skin also doesn’t bounce back and is generally sensitive to treatment like laser removal.
Moreover, new tattoos are also hard to remove. Despite one’s youthful skin, it can be difficult to get rid of fresh ink, especially considering the skin has just healed from tattooing. You need to wait at least a few months to undergo laser tattoo removal. This is the only way to minimize skin damage, burning, and scarring.
- Tattoo Health
Now, it happens that people sometimes experience tattoo infections or even allergic reactions (to the ink, for example). This can damage the tattoo, and the skin as well, even when properly treated and healed. And, of course, this can affect the overall tattoo removal process. In the aftermath of an allergic reaction and infection, the tattoo doesn’t look good and one wants to get rid of it.
But, the skin is sensitive and one cannot simply go get the remaining ink removed. The skin needs to heal completely, which can take a long time (depending on the severity of skin damage). And only then can you get to laser removal, which can also take even longer to avoid damaging the already weakened and damaged skin.
Laser tattoo removal is the best option for effective and complete tattoo removal. Sure enough, it takes a long time, and it costs pretty much, but it provides the best results and minimizes any potential skin damage. We surely recommend you explore your options; there is a procedure that takes less time but risks serious skin damage (especially if not done by professionals). Hopefully, our little insight into laser tattoo removal was helpful, but if you have any more questions, make sure to talk to a professional clinician.