Understanding the process of how a tattoo is applied gives us a unique insight into what is required for the removal process.
Being Old Has its Advantages | Dispersion. Have you ever noticed how old tattoos look faded and blown out? When a tattoo has been in the skin for over 10 years, your own immune system has time to try and chip away and remove a portion of the ink without the need of laser. Our clients find that the older the tattoo is the fewer laser treatments are required.
Removal Challenge | Scar Tissue
If you look closely at the original tattoo you will see that there are raised spots. Sometimes, when the tattoo is applied by an amateur tattoo artist, scaring will occur if the tattoo machine is not tuned appropriately or if the tattoo does not heal properly.
When pre-existing scaring is present, the tattoo removal process may take longer due to what we call “scar tissue encapsulation.” This is when the tattoo ink is encapsulated in scar tissue. When this happens the laser has to first breakthrough the excess tissue and then needs to breakdown the ink. Only after the ink is broken down can it then be carried away by the immune system. While the laser still effectively breaks down the ink, the body struggles to remove the ink from within the scar tissue.
Full Stomach Tattoo Removal | 6 Sessions Before & After. This client had a successful removal after six short laser technology treatment of her belly button tattoo using the PicoWay laser technology.
Challenge | Skin Type
Even with careful consideration and expertise, sometimes client’s melanocytes will react negatively to treatments. In the case of this client, she did have one treatment that presented hypopigmentation. Luckily after the application of vitamin e oil, and a 12-week break from laser treatments, her hypopigmentation cleared and we were able to leave her with her natural skin tone intact, and tattoo gone.
How Many Laser Tattoo Removal Treatments Do Knuckle Tattoos Take? Knuckle tattoos fade naturally, the skin on your hands exfoliates faster than that of the skin on other body parts. Tattoo artists tend to compensate for natural exfoliation by setting more ink into the area so the tattoo will hold. Normally, knuckle tattoos take an average of 8-10 sessions to fully remove.
Removal Challenge | Placement
While ink placement in the fingers may be beneficial for removal if done by a light-handed artist, circulation in the fingers is less than ideal for removal. Because of their distance from the heart and major lymphatic glands, the removal of finger tattoos can present as difficult. Luckily for this client, the ink was very superficial, and so lightly saturated that ink density wasn’t an issue.
The teardrop tattoo has a number of meanings. Most people associate it with prison tattoos, murder, gang affiliation, or the loss of a loved one.
This client came to Removery's Ink-nitiative Program after spending a portion of his adult life in prison. This teardrop tattoo is an unwanted reminder of the past, the difficulty people have transitioning back into the public is extraordinary. To get rid of this job stopper, our client’s goal was full tattoo removal as quickly as possible.
Removal Challenge # 1 Prison Ink
A large variable in tattoo removal is the chemical composition of tattoo ink. Even in the USA, there is no FDA approval or regulation on tattoo ink. This leads to tattoo removal being unpredictable. Where some ink removes in just a few laser treatments, some heavier synthetic inks can take double the time than their organic counterparts.
Removal Challenge # 2 Amateur Tattoo Artists
When tattoos are applied within the walls of a prison typically they are a product of whatever the “artist” can find.
If this didn’t make the tattoo removal process difficult enough, the machines that are used within prisons are usually homemade, with very little accuracy for the depth they deposit the ink into the skin. Usually, prison tattoos are deposited higher in the dermis than a professional tattoo. This can lead to easier removal as the laser can target the pigment more effectively.
How to Remove Face Tattoos?
This tattoo was removed in 2 treatments. Unfortunately, the photo shown is the progress after only one treatment. Due to the blue hue of this tattoo, we chose to use our PicoWay laser for his first removal treatment. The 755 wavelengths allowed for ideal clearance of different colors, especially the blackish blue pigment with very little post-treatment aggravation.
Do Old Tattoos Take Longer to Remove Than New Tattoos? Older tattoos are able to be removed faster than new tattoos because over time the body tries to breakdown the tattoo ink on its own. At first glance, this tattoo appears to be all black line work, but when taking a closer look you will notice slight green and red pigments left. These pigments faded over the tattoo’s life span of 17 years (luckily).
Removal Challenge #1 Skin Type
Helena is a Fitzpatrick skin type 5-6, which means that she has more melanin in her skin to protect her from the sun. If the green and red pigments remained saturated and vibrant, Helena may not have been able to remove her tattoo completely. Laser tattoo removal clients who are Skin types 4-6 and have any color outside of black can be a challenge to safely remove.
Removal Challenge #2 Ink Color
Red and green ink can be a challenge to remove on darker skin. The particular wavelengths that laser tattoo removal treatments produce make red and greens a challenge. Red ink best responds to the 532 wavelengths, this wavelength is unable to yield safe results on darker skin types due to the melanin absorption. In short, if applied to the skin with high melanin content, it will typically create hyper or hypopigmentation, which is the lightening or darkening of the skin. This condition can be permanent.
Green pigments respond best to a 730 or 785 wavelengths. Much like the 532 wavelengths, these wavelengths can cause pigmentation damage that is unsightly to someone desiring complete tattoo removal.
Why Laser Before a Cover Up? With laser treatment being so readily available, many artists choose to refer their cover up tattoo clients to Removery to undergo laser tattoo removal before putting their art in the same place. This allows for the artist to do a tattoo to their full ability, without having to dance around different artists' old and unwanted tattoo ink. This also reduces the need for the cover up tattoo to be a very large, and a very dark tattoo. Thanks to laser, if you want a cover up tattoo, but don’t want a huge dark raven, the possibility remains.
How Many Treatments?
The main question asked when a client comes in to lighten an unwanted tattoo before a tattoo cover up, is “how many treatments do I need?” While this is a difficult question to answer for even full removal, it becomes even more challenging to give accurate answers for tattoo cover ups. This is due to the numerous tattoo styles, and artist preferences that play a roll in the cover up tattoo process, and different skin tones. Every artist will require a different level of lightening before they apply the new tattoo. This is largely due to the tattoo artist’s style, and style of tattoo. If you are looking to have an American traditional tattoo applied with heavy lines and bright vibrant colors, odds are your artist will require fewer treatments than an artist who specializes in light black and grey portraits, which an old tattoo would more easily show through.
How Do I Ensure my Tattoo is Light Enough for the Cover Up Tattoo?
At Removery our first piece of advice when seeking a cover up tattoo is to decide on the tattoo you want, find an artist who you love, and speak to them. The best results come from good communication between an artist and client who are on the same page. Every technician at Removery is highly skilled in laser tattoo removal, but typically we do lack the artistic insight your artist will have. Speaking to your artist can also reduce the size of the area you need to be lasered or colors that need laser removal. The less ink we need to remove, the less costly the removal process will be and fewer side effects.
Thigh tattoo removal is common, many clients come in with single thigh tattoos that think that tight tattoo removal is difficult or expensive. Depending on the depth density and size of the tattoo the cost can be reasonable. This client has a scorpion on her thigh the outline is black linework and the inside is yellow shading. Typically the black line work takes roughly 8-10 sessions to remove. While the yellow is not completely removed it is less noticeable now that the black borders are removed.
Tattoo removal cost is determined by many factors, while multiple sessions are necessary, size is the most important variable to determine how much tattoo removal will cost for you. While we can give you our best guess, we will need to see your tattoo in person to give you an accurate size.
Tattoos that are more likely to be consistently exposed to direct sunlight can present challenges for our laser technicians. Find out why.
When you purchase a Complete Removal Package, we will continue to treat your tattoo until all removable ink is gone — regardless of the number of sessions or time.