Want That Tattoo Gone? Non-Smokers Fare Better

Also, colors make them harder to remove
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2012 7:27 PM CDT
This one shouldn't be too bad, although the colors could be tricky.   (Flickr)

(Newser) – Can't decide whether to try to have that iffy tattoo removed? Italian dermatologists say they've done the first real research into the subject, reports USA Today. They found that a little less than half of all tattoos can be fully removed with 10 laser treatments, and the figure rises to 75% with 15 treatments. Some factors:

  • Smoking: Those who puff will have a harder time. Smoking interferes with the healing of wounds, and the same apparently applies to tattoo removal. In fact, smokers have a 70% less chance of getting the job done in 10 treatments, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Colors: Black and red tattoos come off easier than those with other colors. All-black designs were best.
  • Size: Kind of a no-brainer, but if the design is bigger than 12 inches, expect the longer series of treatments.
  • Placement: Tattoos on the feet and legs were harder to remove.
  • Better laser? The results were based on the common "Q-switched laser," but a smaller study of something called a picosecond alexandrite laser suggested that it works better. It's still mostly in development, however.
(Read more tattoos stories.)

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