A common question we get from people seeking laser tattoo removal in the Milwaukee area is “How many laser treatments will it take to remove my tattoo?” It is almost impossible to correctly estimate the correct number of treatments a tattoo will need for complete removal. People are different. Tattoos are different. Both respond differently to laser tattoo removal.
In order to help create a tool that would help estimate the number of treatments for removal, two skin specialists created a scale to account for different factors that can affect tattoo removal. The scale, named the Kirby-Desai scale, is based on clinical research conducted in 2009 and is said to be 80% accurate.
Skin Type (1-6 points)
The skin type and tone is an important factor according to the scale. Skin type is categorized according to the Fitzpatrick Scale. Skin that is fair benefits the most from laser tattoo removal and skin that is darker requires more low-energy treatments to avoid hypo-pigmentation. The darker your skin is, the higher your skin type points will be.
Location (1-5 points)
Location is another important factor. Tattoos that are located on the chest, neck or upper arms tend to respond best because they are located on parts of the body that receive the most blood flow. The further away your tattoo is from your heart, the higher your location point score will be.
Ink Colors (1-4 points)
Black and red inks respond well to treatments. Multi-color tattoos tend to take longer. Tattoos that have only black ink will receive 1 point in this category and tattoos with multiple colors will receive 4 points.
Amount of Ink Density (1-4 points)
The ink density depends on a number of factors such as amateur or professional tattoo, the design of the tattoo, and the ink quality. Amateur tattoos are not placed deep in the skin, making them require less laser treatments. Blackout tattoos or tattoos with a great deal of ink in them will receive 4 points in this category.
Scarring and Tissue Change (0-5 points)
Tattoos can sometimes cause scarring and tissue change if the artist is heavy handed or aggressive. Tattoos that have scarring may take longer to remove. The scoring in this category is based on the amount of scarring present at the tattoo site or the tissue damage.
Layering and Cover-ups (0-2)
Tattoos that are covering up an old tattoo generally are larger and have a lot of ink in them, giving cover-up tattoos a score of two points in this category.
The Kirby-Desai scale can help estimate the number of treatments needed to achieve optimal results. Remember, laser tattoo removal is a process that takes time and patience. If you live in the Milwaukee area and are looking to get started on your laser tattoo journey, give us a call today. Remove A Tattoo – laser tattoo removal clinic 414-617-2849.