laser tattoo removal

How Long Should You Wait Between Treatments

We are living in the age of instant gratification, but unfortunately there are some things that still cannot, and should not be rushed and tattoo removal is one of them.

Lots of new clients want their tattoo removed and now!

Once they have made the decision to find a tattoo removal professional and they are emotionally invested in getting their tattoo removed, and they often want it done yesterday.

We frequently get emails from people with a photo of their tattoo and asking for a financial quote and how many treatments it will take to remove it. Those not motivated by money tend to be the ones who have made the decision to get their tattoo removed and the sooner the better. When you tell them it could be 4-10 treatments, depending on the tattoo and many other factors, they are disappointed, and often unbelieving and will often try other tattoo removal clinics to see if anyone else can offer quicker time frames.

Obviously in a professional tattoo removal practice no treatment can begin before a full assessment and a test patch is done. Some tattoo removal clinics out there that have no such procedures or even ethics and will not insist on test patches or on a reasonable time delay between treatments. Which brings us to the BIG question… how long between treatments is both optimal and safe?

The general consensus is four to six weeks between treatments although waiting for even longer can be beneficial to your clients both in terms of pain and money. Some tattoo removal professionals wait up to eight weeks which is our preferred option. There is some anecdotal evidence that shows that treatments only four weeks apart can lead to unnecessary scaring and dischromia.

“Best results are always achieved by long treatment intervals giving the Immune System time to do it’s work”. ( ref Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology William Kirby et al )

I recently had a client come in after only one treatment more than 8 months ago and she reported that her tattoo is continuing to fade even 8 months later. This suggests that if the client is not in a hurry, then possibly times between treatments could be even greater than 8 weeks. This could reduce the number of treatments required to remove the tattoo.

The reason for this is at each treatment session the tattoo particles are fragmented or exploded to allow the body to absorb the ink particles into the lymph glands over a period of time. The longer time between treatments mean that this natural healing process can continue to dissipate the ink for months if not years. The result is that the tattoo continues to lighten over time. Continuing treatments destroy the remaining larger particles which in turn will be absorbed over time.

A tattoo removal professional will know that no matter how keen you are to see the end of your tattoo that it is inadvisable to do tattoo removal treatments less than 8 weeks apart. If someone is willing to do treatments closer together then you need to ask yourself if the are;

  • Either badly trained
  • Just interested in getting more money from you!

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