More than four in five adults with (86 percent) and without (82 percent) tattoos have misconceptions about tattoo removal, including confusion regarding side effects, cost and removability, according to a new Merz survey.

In addition to not knowing how the process works, many underestimate how long it takes. On average adults with tattoos believe removal takes five treatment sessions. In reality, it takes an average of seven to 10 sessions to fully remove a tattoo. These misconceptions are likely one reason why an estimated one in three (31 percent) patients discontinue laser-based tattoo removal prior to completion.

However, innovations like the DESCRIBE PFD Patch are now available to help speed up the process. DESCRIBE is FDA cleared and indicated for use with all commonly used lasers for tattoo removal, providing the capability to remove tattoos across a spectrum of colors. It is placed over the tattoo prior to removal with a laser and allows physicians to treat tattoos more effectively by enabling rapid multiple laser passes in a single treatment session. DESCRIBE results in less epidermal injury, less discomfort during treatment, and can potentially cut down the time needed during and in between treatment sessions.

Data to support the efficacy of DESCRIBE will be presented at the upcoming American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) annual meeting in Dallas, Texas, from April 11-15, 2018.

“Physicians and patients need to understand tattoo removal and what procedures and products are available to efficiently, effectively remove the most ink,” says New York City dermatologist Jeremy A. Brauer, MD, lead author of one of the studies presented at ASLMS. “The progress we’ve made to help people remove unwanted tattoos is extensive.”

The majority of people still like the idea of tattoos – especially if they know they’re not permanent. More than half of adults with and without tattoos admit they would be more likely to get a tattoo if they knew it could be completely removed, the survey showed.

The DESCRIBE Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 500 U.S. adults with tattoos and 500 U.S. adults without tattoos between January 26 and February 5, 2018, using an email invitation and an online survey.