Experts say one in five Americans sport at least one tattoo, and the numbers of people wanting them removed are growing.
Two new studies explore the standard laser technique and a new laser approach to tattoo removal.
One new Italian study involved more than 350 patients who underwent tattoo removal between 1995 and 2010 using the standard Q-switched lasers.
Researchers found the tattoos that were tougher to remove included large tattoos, that have colors other than black or red, tattoos more than 36 months old and tattoos on the feet or legs.
Over the course of 10 treatment sessions, smokers faced a nearly 70 percent lower chance of achieving tattoo removal than non-smokers.
In another new study, researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia found that a new approach to tattoo removal appears to be a much faster method than standard Q-switched lasers.
This small study involved just 12 patients.
On average, the Pico laser took a little more than four treatment sessions to clear away at least 75 percent of the unwanted tattoo.
Researchers found yellow or orange tattoos, and older tattoos would be difficult to treat.
The study showed healing will still take longer among smokers and people with leg tattoos.
Also , patients who had the new laser equipment to remove tattoos still experienced the same side effects which can include swelling, wetness and occasional blistering.
The findings appear in the Archives of Dermatology.
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