Laser Tattoo Removal: 6 Factors to Consider

Did you get a tattoo to make a fashion statement or to please your girlfriend/boyfriend and now regret it? Removal of the tattoo is of course possible but it’s no easy task and is best done professionally.

How quickly the tattoo can be removed and the cost of removal will depend on the number of sessions needed.According to the Dr. Will Kirby and Dr. Alpesh Desai, two renowned dermatologists,it is possible to find the number of sessions required for successful tattoo removal through a predictive method called the Kirby-Desai Scale. Clinics all over the world apply this model to figure out the total sessions required for permanent tattoo removal.

In this post, we will focus on six major factors which are to be considered for laser tattoo removal. Here we go!

1. Tattoo Location

The first factor to be considered for the successful removal of tattoos using laser is the tattoo’s location. Tattoos located in areas that are close to the heart are removed faster compared to the ones that are on other areas. The Kirby-Desai scale shows that tattoos located in the upper body fade faster after laser treatment than tattoos on the lower part of the body.

Tattoo Location
The Kirby-Desai Scale Points
Head and neck
Upper trunk
Lower trunk
Proximal extremity
Distal extremity

2. Skin Tone

Laser removal of tattoo is possible for all skin types. However, people with darker skin tone may need a few more sessions for removing tattoos completely due to the high levels of melanin in their skin. The Kirby-Desai Scale explains that it is easier to remove tattoos on lighter skin tone.

FitzPatrick Type
Skin Color
Points in Kirby Desai Scale
White or olive skin tone
Dark brown

 3. Ink Usage

The amount of ink used in tattoos also determines the number of sessions required. In the case of amateur tattoos, the amount of ink is usually less and uneven over the skin layers and hence easier to remove. On the other hand, professional tattoos have higher ink density and the ink enters several layers of skin which makes these tattoos stubborn.

4. Ink Color

The ink colors used in tattoos also determine how many laser removal sessions are needed.Generally, black and red pigments are easy to remove because they absorb all wavelengths and lack metallic elements.Orange, yellow and green are the most difficult to remove.

Color of the Pigment
The Kirby-Desai Scale Points
Black only
Mostly black along with red
Mostly black/red along with other colors
Various colors

 5. Cover-up Tattoos

Getting cover-up tattoos to hide unwanted tattoos is a mistake many people make. In most cases, cover-up tattoos are bigger in size than the original tattoos and contain more ink. A laser technician first needs to remove the cover-up tattoo before working on the original one. Due to this, the number of tattoo removal sessions and consequently the cost may increase.

The Layering of Tattoo
The Kirby-Desai Scale Points

6. Scarring Issues

Tattooing often causes tissue damage or scarring particularly for dark skin tones.This is because the level of collagen deposition in the skin increases which in turn leads to scarring.

The Way Forward

To get rid of unwanted and stubborn tattoos, we are the go-to clinic in San Jose, California with experienced and qualified medical practitioners.

For more information, call us at 408-294-2399 or fill out this contact form and we will get back to you shortly.