The program provides free tattoo removal treatment for individuals who desire to remove visible gang-related or anti-social tattoos. These individuals find that their tattoos prevent them from finding good jobs and/or make it difficult for them to make positive changes in their lives.
The Tattoo Removal Program was started by Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in 1998 to address gang violence in the northeast San Fernando Valley.
Many clients referred to the program are former gang members or people coming out of the prison system, though that is not required to be eligible for this program. Clients must complete community service for each tattoo removal treatment that they receive.
Thanks to a team of dedicated physicians who volunteer their time, the laser tattoo removal treatments are provided at no cost to adults who qualify for the “community service”-based program.
In addition to the tattoo removal services, the program staff has been trained to serve as gang intervention specialists. They work in partnership with community-based organizations, local law enforcement and the parole department to address gang violence in the community.
To be eligible for our tattoo removal program, you:
- Must have a gang-related or anti-social tattoo
- Must have a visible tattoo (tattoos on the lower arms, hands, face, neck or head)
- Must be willing to do community service. This can be done at any non-profit agency of your choice or by attending classes that further your education and personal development
Tattoo removal is a gradual process that takes time. After your first treatment session, you will most likely return for treatment every six to eight weeks. With several treatments, you will notice that the tattoo has faded and some spots are lighter than others. Over the course of your treatment sessions, the tattoo will continue to lighten until it is completely cleared. Your tattoo should be barely visible or not visible at all.
How it works
Laser pulses of intense light pass harmlessly through the top layers of the skin. The light from the laser targets the tattoo ink and breaks it up into smaller particles. These small particles are then absorbed and broken down naturally by the body’s immune system.
On average, a black ink tattoo can be removed with about six to eight treatments. Some tattoo ink colors are more difficult to remove and may require additional treatment sessions. The number of treatment sessions to remove a tattoo will vary from person to person.
The number of treatments to remove a tattoo vary, depending on:
- Depth and amount of tattoo Ink. Professional tattoos typically require more treatments because they are deeper in the skin and have more ink.
- Colors used. Darker colors, such as black, tend to respond faster to laser removal treatments. Light colors, such as green or yellow, may require more treatment sessions.
- Unique immune system. Have you ever noticed how some people never get sick while others seem to always be sick? This is because everyone’s immune system behaves differently. During tattoo removal, your body breaks down the ink pigment at its own rate which is unique to each individual.
- Type of ink used. Tattoo ink is not regulated by the government and different inks can affect the skin in various ways. Because of these variances, treatment results can vary as inks react differently to the laser removal treatment.
Results can vary. Greater than 95 percent fading of the tattoo may be accomplished; however it is impossible to predict the degree of removal. Possible complications may include scarring, infection, hyper-pigmentation and hypo-pigmentation.