People following my social media accounts will probably recognise this client’s tattoos. He has been coming to the studio for 3 and a half years now and during this time I have lasered 2 full sleeves, his shoulders, all his back, his sides and a leg tattoo. The original ink was oriental style and, being honest, the tattoos were pretty decent…just not what my client wants any more. Luckily for him, the ink has faded beautifully and quickly with only a maximum of 3 laser sessions needed over each separate area in order to be pale enough for fresh work. Yes, that’s right, he wants to cover those same tattoos with new designs. He has said that, had the ink been more resistant, he would never have embarked on such a huge project…instead he was pleasantly surprised at how easily it has disappeared. I see this client roughly once a fortnight. He has recently begun the long process of having new tattoos and because I am lasering such a large body area the fresh ink is being applied to skin that was last lasered quite some time ago. This gives the skin plenty of time to heal, maximum fade and, most importantly, protects the new ink from being adversely affected by the lasering. If you re-ink too soon after lasering it can spoil the vibrancy of the new tattoo as your immune system cells will still be in the area trying to nibble away at any ink. It is normally recommended to wait at least 3 months before new work although I prefer people to wait even longer if possible.
Shaded grey usually fades very quickly and can be completely gone in just 2 laser treatments. This is because the ink has been applied shallow and not too densely. Outlines are usually darker and applied more deeply (vertically) by the tattooist meaning that the laser has to work harder to break the ink down. Oriental design tattoos often contain a lot of this shading hence why the fade can be so quick.
Above you can see part of the original sleeve (left)….after 2 laser treatments (centre), shading gone, some outline left, and on the right is my client’s fresh tattoo. Going more Gothic this time.
And below another area of the original sleeve which only ever had 1 laser session over each separate bit
One of the trickiest type of tattoos to remove is the once very popular tribal style. Very dark, densely applied ink…often with deep black outlines. Frequently used as cover-ups so there is ink already underneath. This is also the type of tattoo most likely to have scarred the skin when being applied and/or provoked a local allergic reaction. If you can’t see the scarring because of the black ink you can sometimes still feel the bumpy skin. Clients need to be aware that removing this ink may uncover some previous damage…something to also think about if wanting new tattoos