Factors That Influence Tattoo Removal

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Almost a quarter of the United States has at least one tattoo and more than a quarter of them regret it within the first year. Thanks to technological advances in the dermatology field, tattoos aren’t as permanent as they were once thought to be.

There are many important factors when considering tattoo removal. Fellowship trained Dr. Cameron Rokhsar is a highly acclaimed cosmetic surgeon who has special expertise in laser skin care. In a recent 15 year study published in the December 2012 edition of the Archives of Dermatology, several key variables to the success of tattoo removal were discovered. This new information can help doctors and patients agree on realistic cosmetic goals. Dr. Rokhsar will use the most effective course of laser removal, the quality-switched laser.

Researchers have found the number of laser treatments increase, depending on the following:

  1. Smoking
  2. Presence of colors other than black or red
  3. If the size of the tattoo is larger than 30 cm
  4. Location of a tattoo on the legs or arms
  5. If the tattoo is more than 36 months old
  6. The density of the ink

The success rate on tattoo removal is contingent on several recently discovered factors, such as the size and age of the tattoo, as well as how much time lapses between each tattoo treatment.  Treatments were found most effective when they were spread out less than eight weeks apart, there could be a lower success rate because the skin needs to regenerate collagen- an important structural protein found in the skin. It is also important to note that smokers have almost 70 percent less of a success rate removal than non-smokers. The Q-switched laser uses a high intense pulse beam that is directed deep within the skin to break down the ink. Once the ink is broken down into small enough particles, the body absorbs it, while also stimulating collagen production. The collagen replaces new skin cells so the patient is left with a clean slate. In the study, almost 50 percent of patients that had undergone 10 treatment sessions had a successful tattoo removal. The success rate increased with the number of treatment sessions. Tattoo removal was success for 75 percent of those who had undergone 15 sessions. Because each patient’s skin has different pigment levels and has experienced different amounts of exposure to the sun and other elements, it is not possible to guarantee a completely successful tattoo removal for everyone. However, in light of this new study, doctors are can better assess the quality of the tattoo removal, providing more realistic cosmetic goals for the patient.

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar is a fellowship trained dermatologist and laser surgeon who is an expert in tattoo removal. His extensive training with laser treatments has set him apart from other cosmetic skin and laser surgeons, giving him a reputation for excellence. He is currently practicing in New York City and Long Island.

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