Request a Quote

Please fill out all information and upload a photo. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

×

DRM Laser Blog

6 Factors that Determine the Efficiency and Cost of Laser Tattoo Removal

/blog/6-factors-that-determine-the-efficiency-and-cost-of-laser-tattoo-removal

 

The cost of a tattoo removal is determined by the number of sessions required to remove it, which depends on a number of factors. The Kirby-Desai scale, developed by two renowned dermatologists, Dr. Will Kirby and Dr. Alpesh Desai, is a predictive method to determine the number of sessions required for a successful tattoo removal. The model assigns a numerical value to different factors ruling laser tattoo removal results. Clinics across the world use this model to determine the number of sessions required for permanent removal of a tattoo. Continuing the discussion further, this blog post enumerates six factors that determine the results of laser tattoo removal. Take a look.

1. Skin Colour

Laser tattoo removal process is effective for all skin types. However, people with dark skin tone need a few additional sessions for satisfactory tattoo removal. The disparity in results is due to high levels of melanin present in dark skin. In addition, dark skinned people are also susceptible to hypopigmentation which is the reason why laser practitioners utilize low laser settings and space successive sessions to minimize any side effects. The Kirby-Desai Scale suggests that the lighter the skin tone, the easier it gets to scatter the tattoo ink.

FitzPatrick Type

Skin Colour

Points in Kirby Desai Scale

I

Very fair, red or blonde hair; blue eyes and freckles

1

II

Very fair, red or blonde hair with blue, hazel or green eyes.

2

III

White or olive skin tone

3

IV

Brown

4

V

Dark Brown

5

VI

Black

6


2. Position of the Tattoo

The success of laser tattoo removal depends on the tattoo’s location. Tattoos that are made on areas close to the heart (skin with a healthy supply of blood and lymph) fade faster than tattoos made on other areas. The head and neck areas, followed by upper and lower back, have a large vascular supply, which is why it is easier to remove tattoos from these parts of the body. The Kirby-Desai scale also says that tattoos in the upper body respond faster to laser treatment, compared to the lower body.

Location of the Tattoo

Points on Kirby-Desai Scale

Head and Neck

1

Upper Trunk

2

Lower Trunk

3

Proximal Extremity

4

Distal Extremity

5


3. Amount of Ink

The number of sessions required for laser removal also depends on whether it is an amateur or professional tattoo. Amateur tattoos contain less ink placed unevenly over the skin layers, and therefore, respond faster to laser treatment. Professional tattoos have a higher ink density and the ink penetrates multiple layers of the skin, which makes it difficult to remove the tattoo. Kirby and Desai, in their study, designed a four-point scale to measure the ease of removal based on the quantity of ink contained in tattoos. They concluded that amateur tattoos are the easiest to remove by laser treatment followed by other categories, as shown below.

Amount of Ink

Points on Kirby-Desai Scale

Amateur

1

Minimal

2

Moderate

3

Significant

4


4. Colour of the Inks

The colours used in a tattoo also play a key role in deciding the number of sessions required to remove it. Some colours readily respond to laser treatment, whereas others may take more time. Black pigments, for instance, are relatively small, absorb all wavelengths and lack metallic elements, making it easy to remove. Second to black comes red, which is also easy to remove through laser treatment. Green, yellow and orange are the most stubborn colors and are the most difficult to remove.

Colour of the Pigment

Points on Kirby-Desai Scale

Only Black

1

Mostly Black with Red

2

Mostly Black and Red with other colours

3

Multiple Colours

4

5. Scarring and Tissue Damage

Initial tattoo applications may cause scarring and tissue damage, especially in cases of dark skin tones. The reason is an increase in the level of collagen deposition in the skin, which can lead to scar formation. As per the Kirby-Desai scale, scarring from a tattoo requires comparatively more sessions to be removed.

Amount of Scarring

Points on Kirby-Desai Scale

Zero

0

Minimal

1

Moderate

3

Significant

5


6. Layering and Cover Up Tattoos

Many people make the mistake of going for coverups to hide unwanted tattoos. The cover up is usually larger than the original tattoo and contains more ink. In such a scenario, the laser technician will first remove the cover up tattoo to reveal the original tattoo, which is sure to reflect in the number of sessions required to remove the tattoo as well as  the cost.

Tattoo Layering

Points on Kirby-Desai Scale

No

0

Yes

2


The Bottom Line

In addition to the factors we have discussed, the type of laser also determines the number of sessions required for a successful tattoo removal and of course, the cost. The Kirby-Desai Scale was designed using a Q-switched laser, which is one of the most advanced lasers used for tattoo removal. If you want to get rid of an unwanted tattoo, look no further than DRM Laser. We are the go-to destination for a safe and effective tattoo removal in Melbourne. Our tattoo removal expert is a certified laser safety officer and possesses extensive experience in removing even the most stubborn tattoos. To learn more, give us a call at 0448 886 935 or fill out our contact form.