Laser Tattoo Removal: How Long Does It Take?

Patients often come in wanting a tattoo removed for a specific event. They have a wedding in a few months or an important job interview coming up. Unfortunately, the process doesn’t work that way. Depending on the size, location, and ink used for the tattoo it can take weeks — even months — before it’s fully gone. This is something that you need to come to grips with right away if you’re considering laser tattoo removal. Still, you don’t want to go into the process without a rough idea of how long it’ll take.
Here are a few guidelines that will give you a better idea of just how long it takes to remove tattoos.

The Kirby-Desai Scale
What’s the Kirby-Desai Scale? You can read more about it here, but essentially it’s a tool used by laser tattoo technicians to determine how many laser treatments a tattoo removal will take. It consists of six factors:

  • Skin Type – Skin type is possibly the most important factor. Skin type is classified on a scale from I to VI, with I being the lightest and VI being the darkest. We won’t get into all of the technical details here, but the gist of it is that it’s easier to remove tattoos from lighter skin.
  • Location – The location of the tattoo matters as well. Areas with more blood flow like the chest, the neck, and the arms respond quicker to laser removal. They also heal faster, so the time between individual treatments can be shortened.
  • Color – The darker the pigment, the better it’ll respond to laser treatment. That’s because the treatment relies on the pigment actually absorbing the laser light. Certain colors like white and yellow are difficult, if not impossible, to remove.
  • Density – The density of ink is another important factor. The denser a tattoo is the more treatments it will require.
  • Scarring – Some tattoos leave scarring, which will make it more difficult to treat the area. You should also keep in mind that laser treatment will not eliminate this scarring. Any scarring left over from the tattoo will be visible once it’s gone.
  • Layering – You’ll need more treatments if you’ve previously tried to cover up your tattoo with another. How many more will depend on the ink density of the cover-up tattoo. Typically these cover-up tattoos are even larger and denser than the originals. As such, they can add months onto the process.

Depending on how your tattoo fares on each of these points, the process can take anywhere from a few months to a year. The bottom line is that laser tattoo removal doesn’t work overnight. But think about it, if you have a tattoo and you want it gone then the timetable shouldn’t really matter. Yes, the process may take a while and that can be frustrating, but it’s nothing compared to living the rest of your life with a tattoo that’s making you miserable. The sooner you schedule a consultation the sooner you’ll be rid of your unwanted tattoos.

If you want that tattoo gone then you’ll need someone with experience and skill to perform your laser tattoo removal. If you’re currently dealing with unwanted tattoos, don’t hesitate to contact us at The Florida Center for Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery today. Dr. DeMercurio has many years of experience providing excellent care in the field of cosmetic surgery.