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Why Hasn't my Tattoo Gone?
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Doctor Answers 2
Laser tattoo removal
Tattoo removal by laser, removes a percent of what is present, and each treatment, that absolute number becomes less because there is less to treat. Less pigment remaining, means less target to absorb the laser energy. Some tattoos have different types of pigment, especially if it is an amateur tattoo. Many tattoos take more than 12 monthly treatments to fade them significantly.
Tattoo fading depends on a number of variables
The rate at which a tattoo fades depends on a number of variables, including:
1. age of the tattoo [older tattoos generally fade more with each treatment]
2. amount of time between treatments [the longer you wait between treatments, the more time your body has to get rid of the pigment, and the fewer treatments you will need]
3. the type of ink or mixture of inks in the tattoo [there are about 200 different kinds of tattoo ink]. It looks like your tattoo might have had some iron-based pigment or brown mixed with it, and if that is the case it could contribute to the slow clearing]
4. location on the body [the further you go down the body, the slower tattoos clear and/or the more treatments they need
5. the type of laser used to treat the tattoo, and the condition of the laser [generally, higher powered lasers are more effective because they can use a larger, deeper-penetrating spot size]. The wavelength of the laser needs to be appopriate to the color of pigment being treated. Finally, lasers [like other machines] go out of calibration eventually and so need to be maintained on a regular basis so that the treatment will be safe and effectiv.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.