4. Know that the success of the removal depends on a number of factors.
There are many things at play when it comes to a successful removal, including the location of the tattoo.
“More vascular areas of the body respond better to laser tattoo removal,” said Khorasani. “For instance, the scalp and the face are more vascular than your feet and toes and therefore easier locations for tattoo removal.“
Your skin type also matters. Khorasani explained that those with darker skin have pigments on the skin that will interfere with the laser hitting the pigment of the tattoo, which can delay or prolong the removal process.
And while it was probably a wise decision to get your tattoo from a legit source, that can also make it more difficult to remove later on.
“Professional tattoos are harder to treat, as they are a better tattoo, with the goal of the ink not wearing off on its own,” said Tahl N. Humes, medical director and founder of VITAHL Medical Aesthetics. She added that amateur tattoos lighten on their own faster, are usually not well-placed in the skin and can generally be removed easier.
Additionally, Khorasani said older tattoos are easier to remove, as your body essentially starts its own removal process the day that you receive it. The type of ink used can also make a difference, as well as your tattoo’s colors. It sounds backward, but black ink is actually eliminated more quickly than its brighter counterparts.
“Ironically, the laser targets darker pigment very well. So, generally, dark-colored tattoos do much better,” said Anna Guanche, a dermatologist at Bella Skin Institute in Calabasas, California. “It’s the reds, yellows and pale greens that are tougher to remove.”
Finally, there’s your own overall well-being. Your body and your immune system are responsible for removing the ink particles, so your health plays a role in how well the tattoo is removed from your body, said Dayna Reilly, a registered nurse and licensed esthetician who works at Boston skincare and tattoo removal clinic The Finery.
“If you are looking to get a tattoo removed, the best advice I have for you is to stay as healthy as possible, drink lots of water and exercise frequently so your body has a heightened response toward the ink it detects and is able to carry it out of your body in the fastest, most efficient way possible,” she said. “Your body is the variable in this process that you have control over, so take advantage of that and live a healthy lifestyle.”