When you are unhappy with a tattoo, it’s natural that you want to remove it as soon and efficiently as possible. Tattoo removal can vary depending on the individual and the tattoo removed. Laser is the safest, most reliable form of removing tattoos. But, often, it doesn’t work out the way you hope it will.
Many factors can make the removal process either go faster or slower. People ask, “why isn’t my laser tattoo removal working?” Below are the ten reasons laser tattoo removal might not be working.
1. Type Of Laser Used:
For effective tattoo removal, lasers must be powerful enough to break down ink pigments in a reasonable amount of time. Many standard laser devices do not have enough power and do not break apart the ink adequately to reach the desired result.
Modern lasers such as the RevLite Nd: YAG and PicoSure picosecond laser are much more effective at removing unwanted tattoos without causing side effects such as burning or scarring.
An Nd: YAG laser, such as the RevLite, utilizes thermal energy to break down the ink. But if too much heat is applied, it can damage the skin.
The PicoSure laser uses a shockwave effect that breaks the ink into particles much smaller than other lasers can. This allows for less trauma to the skin because of its picosecond pulses. Using less heat and targeting the areas with tattoo ink minimizes the damage to your skin.
2. Laser Wavelength And Ink Colors:
Different laser wavelengths are required to remove different ink colors, with darker colors requiring less power than lighter ones – making black the easiest for lasers to remove. Many tattoo removal clinics offer a 1064nm laser for tattoo removal. A 1064nm laser is typically effective in removing all-black tattoos. However, this type of laser may not work on colored tattoos.
Blue and green ink are notoriously difficult to remove – they need a 694nm laser, while red and orange ink responds well to a 532nm beam.
So if you have tattoos of different colors, your best option would be to find a clinic with the gold-standard PicoSure laser, which can treat any color.
3. Laser Technician Experience:
The laser technician’s skills and experience will greatly influence the success of the treatment and ensure that your skin remains unharmed.
If a tattoo doesn’t respond well to treatment, an inexperienced, untrained technician will continue treating the same spot for too long. This will not remove the tattoo any faster or more efficiently – it can lead to scarring, blisters, and pain.
A well-qualified practitioner will use the appropriate number of laser pulses to remove hair safely and effectively.
Laser treatments cause the skin to generate significant amounts of heat, so cooling it down right after every session is crucial. To speed up the healing process after laser tattoo removal, take some precautions – try not to sweat too much or stay in warm weather for an extended period.
Following your laser treatment, take care not to expose yourself to excessive heat or moisture; this includes wearing loosely-fitting clothes and abstaining from any contact sports that could result in skin injury. Do not apply cosmetics and perfumes to the treated area.
5. Recovery Time:
If you are coming in for treatments before six months, it could slow down your healing process. You might think that getting more treatments means better or faster results, but this isn’t always the case – your body is responsible for most of the work when removing tattoos.
Giving yourself plenty of time in-between treatments will allow your body to process broken ink particles. While also maximizing the effectiveness of each treatment. This maximizes the speed of one’s removal process and reduces the risk of any potential complications in healing.
6. Tattoo Location:
The location of the tattoo on your body also impacts how quickly it will fade. Your circulatory system also plays a role in erasing the ink from your skin. Because your blood circulates the least through your extremities, tattoos on your hands, wrists, feet, and ankles take longer to fade compared to those close to your heart.
Don’t worry about that tough-to-remove tattoo on your ring finger. Just know that it will take time – like how you have cold hands due to low blood circulation to the area.
7. Ink Composition:
Ink composition plays a crucial and mysterious role. This is because there are an infinite number of inks on the market, each with varying degrees of pigment. While many of them may require licensing, none of them are FDA regulated.
This means we have no idea about the ink composition. There are natural (organic) and artificial inks. Both inks vary tremendously in composition. Organic inks are created from plant-based materials, whereas artificial ones usually contain heavy metals or plastics. Artificial inks are also typically much harder to work with; it takes more time to clean them off.
8. Ink Density And Saturation:
Tattoos can be of different patterns and designs and unique in its way. There are variations in ink saturation and density, which will determine how fast your tattoos will fade.
A denser and more saturated tattoo requires more ink particles deposited in the body. Therefore, a denser tattoo can mean more work for the laser and your body, so it might need more treatments and more time to fade.
9. Age Of Tattoo:
Older tattoos are easy to remove. Tattoos tend to fade over time. This is because your body had limited time to digest and eliminate ink. Your immune system recognizes tattoo ink as a foreign material it needs to process and eliminate, which is why tattoos blur or fade over time.
An old tattoo will require fewer treatments than a newer one would need.
10. Overall Health:
The laser will break down the ink while your body takes care of the rest. Since your body is processing most of it, how healthy you are will impact how effective the whole process is. Age, underlying health conditions, activity levels, and other lifestyle choices all account for the tattoo removal process.
Acute dehydration and lack of physical activity make tattoos more stubborn due to reduced blood flow. Medical issues that reduce one’s immunity or blood flow typically slow down the fading process for tattoos. Taking steps to become physically healthier can help tattoos fade quickly.
Laser tattoo removal is an immensely intricate process that hinges on many factors, the most important being time. Thankfully, there are things you can do to help increase the rate at which your tattoo fades. However, patience will always be an integral part of this experience.
We always recommend consulting a board-certified cosmetologist to maximize effectiveness and reduce the risks of the laser tattoo removal process.