“How Many Sessions?”
This is the second-most popular question asked after “does it hurt?”
And the answer is, unfortunately not straightforward. It’s a bit like, ‘how long is a piece of string?’ If anyone ever tells you that it will take X number of sessions to get rid of a tattoo you are being lied to. Some laser marketers make bold claims that their laser will completely get rid of tattoo ink in only 3 sessions. Yes, some ink does disappear completely in only 1 session (I’ve seen it myself many times) but it’s only a very feint tiny spot of ink which does so.
The intention might not always be to lie and might be formed from deep consideration and a genuine desire to make the tattoo-owner feel a sense of comfort but, the truth is no-one can ever tell how many sessions it will take. And here’s why.
1. Every tattoo is unique. They contain a depth of between 0.03mm and 4mm of ink. There’s absolutely no way of measuring how much ink is in any area of a tattoo. The best we can do is estimate that some areas of ink look less dense than others. The removal process always treats the uppermost part of the ink first and there’s no exact measurement for how much ink is shattered at any one time.
2. The process of ink dispersal is controlled by the tattoo-owner’s lymph system – so dispersing the ink will be a quicker or slower process depending on a large number of variables, such as (but not exhaustively):
i. How old the tattoo-owner is
ii. How fit the tattoo-owner is
iii. How old the tattoo is
iv. Where the tattoo is
v. How well the lymphatic system works
3. No-one ever knows which type of pigment they have been tattooed with, some pigments breakdown faster than others and some colour pigments have the potential to polymerise but no-one ever confirms the type or brand of pigment before they are tattooed with it.
It is true to say that photo-dynamic Nd:YAG lasers (with nano and pico technology) deliver a greater amount of energy and fewer treatments are required with these lasers than the thermal Nd:YAG lasers that you find in tattoo shops and cheap beauty parlours. This is because they can shatter larger amounts of pigment with deeper penetration of energy.
So, as a general rule of thumb, experience has taught us that the number of treatments can be anywhere between 1 and 32 (in some cover-up cases). And that’s about as helpful as a marshmallow tattoo needle. The majority of tattoos regardless of their colour will be close to undetectable following a number of sessions in single figures.
Some removers want to charge you for a block of treatments up-front (usually 8). We won’t do this at Tattoo Liberation as it can be a lot of money to find instantly for some people and puts pressure on people’s finances and lives. We don’t do pressure. We treat tattoo removal one session at a time until you’re happy with the level of fading. That way there’s no obligation, no pressure and no sweet offer which might not live up to expectation. Now, have you seen that string?
Tattoo Liberation – Educating the laser tattoo removal world one blog at a time.
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