How Many Laser Tattoo Removal Treatments Will I Need To Remove My Tattoo?

Understanding how many treatments will be required for removing your tattoo

Removing a tattoo is not always a rapid process. The majority of tattoos take between 8 and 12 laser tattoo removal treatments. Unfortunately, many clients get frustrated when they mistakenly believe that one treatment will be enough. This can lead to clients feeling frustrated about the cost of the removal and how many treatments will be needed to achieve the results they want. The more you understand before you find a clinic, the more your expectations will match the reality of the laser tattoo removal process.

First, how does Laser Tattoo Removal actually work?

Laser tattoo removal involves using laser light to break up different colors of tattoo ink. There are different types of lasers and each laser operates on a different light wavelength. Each laser light wavelength targets specific ink colors. Keep this in mind when searching for a laser tattoo removal clinic that meets your needs. Make sure the laser tattoo removal clinic you choose has the right laser for the job. Using a laser that is not effective on a particular ink color will take longer to remove the tattoo or may not remove the tattoo at all.

Each time a client comes in to have a laser tattoo removal treatment, the laser is used to target the area of skin where the tattoo is located. The laser tattoo removal treatment itself doesn’t take long, but there may be some blistering and scabbing where the laser was used. It is important to take good care of the skin afterward. Carefully following the aftercare directions provided by your clinic will give you much better tattoo removal results. It is also important that the clinic schedules treatments 4 to 8 weeks apart to ensure proper healing of the treated area and reduce the chance of causing permanent damage to the skin.

Additionally, we have a more comprehensive guide to the process of tattoo removal here:

How many laser tattoo removal treatments will I really need to have?

Many clinics measure the tattoo and quote a single treatment price based on size. These clinics are hesitant to estimate the number of laser tattoo removal treatments required to remove a tattoo. Accurate predictions can be  difficult as the practitioner must take many factors under consideration. It is financially beneficial for these clinics to not estimate, rather just let clients make their own assumptions as to how many treatments will be required. A reputable clinic will discuss all factors with you and provide an estimate of the number of laser tattoo removal treatments required. At our Fresh Start Laser Tattoo Removal Clinics clinic, we use the Kirby-Desai scale to estimate the number of treatments a patient will need to remove a tattoo.

What is the Kirby-Desai Scale? And, why it matters for tattoo removal treatments.

The Kirby-Desai Scale is a predictive scale used to estimate the number of treatments required to remove a tattoo. The scale was created after a study conducted by two doctors, Will Kirby and Alpesh Desai. The study used lasers to treat 100 tattoo removal patients. The 100 patients in the study averaged 10 treatments laser tattoo removal treatments spaced six to eight weeks apart to successfully remove their tattoos. However, the actual number of treatments ranged from three to 20 depending on the patient. The doctors used the data from the study to determine six major factors that predict how many laser treatments a person would need to remove a tattoo.

Skin Type

A person’s skin type directly correlates to the number of treatments that will be required for a laser to remove a tattoo. Darker skin types have more melatonin in the skin. The more melatonin the more careful the practitioner will need to be with the patient to avoid unwanted side affects. Darker skin types will require more treatments to safely remove a tattoo.

Ink colors

Every laser fires at a different wavelength. Black ink is absorbed by all colors and is the easiest to remove. Red ink responds well to Nd:YAG 532 which is green laser light. Blues, greens and yellows typically require more treatments to remove. White ink can be the most difficult, because white ink cannot directly absorb laser light.

Body Placement

The closer the tattoo is to your heart the faster it will fade. The better the blood flow the faster the fade. Tattoos on the head, neck and chest require fewer treatments than tattoos on hands and feet.

Amount of Ink

When a tattoo is done by a professional the tattoo gun places the ink deeper in the dermis than when a tattoo homemade. The gun also places more ink under the skin that amateur methods. Amateur tattoos will fade faster than professional tattoos.


Has your tattoo been covered up or touched up? When a tattoo is covered up with a new design, there is a strong possibility that the tattoo artist had to use more ink that normal to get the tattoo to look right. All of the extra ink takes longer to remove.


Some people’s skin is more prone to scarring. The tattooing process may have left some scars behind. When this happens, it takes more treatments do remove a tattoo than if the original tattoo healed normally.

Every Person and Tattoo is different

It is important to note that the Kirby Desai scale has an 80% accuracy rate. That is because every person and tattoo are different. The study also notes that a person with a health immune system will require less treatments. Smokers tattoos need more laser tattoo removal treatments than non-smokers. Older tattoos tend to fade faster than newer tattoos. While every tattoo and every person are different, the Kirby-Desai Scale allows reputable clinics to provide a relatively accurate range of how many treatments it takes for a laser to remove a tattoo.

When choosing a laser tattoo removal clinic, make sure that your provider provides you an estimate of how many treatments it will take to remove your tattoo. Finding a clinic that will stand by their estimate will help to reduce any anxiety you may have with the total cost of tattoo removal. A clinic that estimates the number of treatments required should also provide inclusive, packaged pricing that does not focus on how much per treatment. You should be able to get one price for removing the tattoo, from start to finish. It is possible that more treatments than expected will be needed, however, you will be paying an agreed-upon price for the removal of the tattoo.

You Really Can Get the Best Price

At Fresh Start Laser Tattoo Removal Clinic, we value what you value: great service for a great price. We use the cutting edge Quanta EVO with three true wavelength lasers to remove your tattoo in fewer sessions. With single treatment prices starting at $59, we offer the lowest per treatment prices in Central Texas.  Our mission is to provide you with an unparalleled experience at a price that fits your budget. If you would like schedule a free consultation, or if you need more information on tattoo removal, we are here to help. Call 512-249-0000 for Tattoo Removal Austin or Call 210-455-0187 for Tattoo Removal San Antonio. Get started on your tattoo removal journey today!


Leave a Comment

Call For A Free Consultation