There are many reasons why people change their minds about tattoos, such as difficulty in getting hired at certain jobs, breaking up with a boy/girl friend whose name you have tattooed on your body, or simply outgrowing them and wishing to lose a particular look.
Whatever the reason you no longer want your tattoo, you may be unsure how to beset go about getting rid of it. It is certainly easier to get a tattoo than to have one removed. But is not impossible to remove even an old tattoo or one in a wrinkled or difficult to access area.
Here are four main options for having that unwanted tattoo removed:
- Laser Surgery
A good dermatologist will possess the advanced training and specialized equipment to remove your tattoo without ever cutting your skin.
A high-powered laser beam, pulsing on and off at carefully controlled intervals, can vaporize the pigments just below your skin and remove your tattoo in a safe, highly effective manner.
There is the possibility of experiencing a degree of pain in the area touched by the laser, but you can use a local anesthetic to prevent that, often an anesthetic in the form of a gel. There is also the possibility of blisters, scabs, and scars; but these typically are not permanent.
Also understand that it will take multiple sessions to fully remove your tattoo and that most insurance will not cover this kind of procedure, classifying it as “cosmetic.”
The second professionally administered options for tattoo removal is called “dermabrasion.’ It proceeds like this: a skin-numbing spray is applied to the tattooed skin, your skin is essentially “sanded down” to remove the skin layers bearing the tattoo, and the remaining tattoo ink is allowed to gradually leach out on its own.
This method can be very effective, if not quite at the level of laser tattoo removal. With either method, there is the risk of a scar remaining and the success of the procedure depends on factors like how deeply ingrained the ink is, the condition or your skin, and the skill level of the dermatologist.
The last two techniques we will mention are “alternative” tattoo removal methods more often done at home than by a professional. There are risks to taking a DIY approach to tattoo removal, but if you want on saving the money and doing it yourself, these are your main options.
“Salabrasion” refers to the rubbing of salt onto your tattooed skin until it heats your skin surface enough that the skin is less resistant. You then use a tool to scrape off the upper layers of skin, and along with them, that troublesome tattoo.
Salabrasion is not the most effective method to use and can often lead to a great deal of scarring. It also risks damaging your skin and is especially to be avoided by those with extra-sensitive skin.
Nonetheless, salt has long been used for tattoo removal, and some still use this method today.
- Removal Creams
There are a number of tattoo removal creams on the market today, such as Tattoo Off and Tat-B-Gone. Each cream will vary in its effectiveness, and all of them must be used regularly for anywhere from three to nine months to remove your tattoo.
Removal creams are fairly expensive, but they are cheaper than hiring a professional dermatologist to remove your tattoo. On the other hand, a professional can usually do a bit of a better job.
Perhaps, the reason why many use a cream to remove their tattoo is that the process is painless and can be an alternative to surgical interventions. But if you go this route, be sure to research the cream thoroughly before purchasing.
A Warning About TCA
TCA (tri-chloro-acetic acid) is sometimes included in tattoo-removal kits. While some kits may be safe, those with TCA are risky. The reason is that TCA is a strong acid that can burn your skin even as it wears away the tattoo.
There are both professional and DIY tattoo removal methods that can be effective, but you should be careful to understand the benefits/risks before choosing how you will remove your tattoo.