There’s a recent People article about SNL comedian Pete Davidson and his journey to remove all the many tattoos throughout his body. While he’s already received several treatments, he says that according to his laser tattoo removal technicians, it will take two more years to complete the process.
This lengthy process surprised many readers, and it has led to questions from potential laser tattoo removal patients about how long their tattoo removal will take. Is it common for tattoo removal to take more than two years? Our experts at Laser Lights Cosmetic Laser Center are weighing in.
How Long Will It Take to Remove My Tattoos?
It’s true that laser tattoo removal is a multi-step process, with patients generally receiving treatments 4-6 weeks apart. The number of sessions depends on the person; the size, color, and depth of the tattoo; the tattoo removal technology; and other factors. But a two-year removal process is not common. For Pete Davidson, his tattoo removal is likely taking so long because of the extensive number of tattoos he has.
Factors That Will Affect Your Tattoo Removal Timeline
If Pete Davidson’s tattoo removal is taking so long, how long will yours take? There are actually many factors that will impact your treatment process. When you come to Laser Lights Cosmetic Laser Center for a consultation, our experienced technicians will be able to estimate the number of treatments you’ll need based on all these factors and more:
- Tattoo Size – During a laser tattoo removal session, we can generally only treat a certain amount of surface area in one session. If, like Pete Davidson, you have a significant number of tattoos throughout most of your body and you want to remove them all, we will treat one area at a time until we have addressed all your tattoos.
- Tattoo Depth – When you get a tattoo, the tattoo artist can inject the ink at different depths in your skin. Unsurprisingly, if your tattoo’s ink is deeper in your skin, it can be more difficult for lasers to reach. This usually means that it will take more tattoo removal sessions before you get the results you want.
- Tattoo Color and the Technology It Requires – Tattoo removal works by sending targeted light that the ink in your tattoo will absorb. The energy from the laser breaks apart the ink particles so that your body can process them and remove them. This is important to know because some colors of ink absorb and respond to lasers more efficiently than others.
Black and dark green are the easiest ink colors to remove. Bright colors are difficult to remove because the pigments don’t absorb as much light. Different types of lasers may need to be used for your various tattoos as well because some colors respond better to certain types of laser light. Some of these lasers take longer to remove tattoos than others.
- Tattoo Age – If you’ve had tattoos for many years, you have probably noticed that the ink fades slightly as the years go by. As a result, older tattoos will typically need fewer sessions of laser tattoo removal because your body has already removed some of the ink on its own naturally. The newer your tattoo is, the more treatments it will likely require to remove.
- Treatment Quality – Not all laser tattoo removal sessions are equal. The quality of both the laser and your laser technician will affect the number of sessions it will take to remove your tattoos.
Laser tattoo removal technology has advanced over the years, and newer, more advanced lasers are more efficient in removing ink. The laser also needs to be properly maintained to make sure it’s working effectively enough to remove your tattoos as quickly as possible.
As we noted, the laser technician will impact your treatment as well because it takes a special skill and experience to do the job well. They need to be able to appropriately customize the laser settings and the treatment they administer to make sure they are removing your tattoo efficiently and safely.
Laser tattoo removal can feel like a long process, even if it doesn’t take two years or more, but our patients are thrilled with their results at the end. While the factors above can give you an idea of what to expect, the only way to know what your laser tattoo removal is likely to involve is to schedule a tattoo removal consultation at Laser Lights Cosmetic Laser Center. Our team can assess your tattoo(s) and give you an idea of what to expect. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more insights and follow Dr. David Whiteman on TikTok.