If you end up getting a regrettable tattoo, you might very well have it removed, period! While some might question your thought process behind the tattoo in the first place, I would be non-judgmental and shall focus on helping you through what can be a grueling, demanding, and time-consuming tattoo removal process.
In the subsequent sections, I shall cover every tattoo removal aspect there is, with a focus on making the best options available for you, in terms of minimal discomfort, better affordability, and lesser downtime.
Why should you consider tattoo removal?
The reason behind tattoo removal can be professional, cultural, or even personal. However, you should know that most people do not remove tattoos simply to avoid the complex scenarios, pain, and additional costs.
But then, if you aren’t happy with the design, it is better to completely remove the same. To sum it up, you should only consider removing the tattoo if the design interferes with your personal and professional well-being or reminds you of something untoward.
Also, you should get the skin checked for skin irritation, allergies, skin pigment, and reactions as tattooed skin might reach differently to each process of tattoo removal.
Which tattoos are easy to remove?
Tattoo removal isn’t actually a straightforward process and entails a wide range of factors. Firstly, it is necessary to note that black, dark blue, green, and brown tattoos are easier to remove. Also, if you are sporting a large, colorful, and dark tattoo, you should be ready to pay a fortune to get it removed.
Also, your skin color determines how easy or hard it is for the expert to remove the concerned tattoo. Simplifying further, if individuals have darker skin tones, they are expected to find it harder to get the tattoo removed as compared to people with lighter skin.
Not just that, if you or someone who is known to you has herpes, eczema, or any other skin condition, tattoo removal might cause side effects as the affected area isn’t capable of handling abrasions or invasive procedures.
Finally, it takes no rocket science to understand that small tattoos are easy to get rid of as most patients with larger tattoos need to undergo multiple treatment sessions, thereby adding to the cost and the accruing pain.
Best Tattoo Removal Methods
Now that you have already decided to get the design removed, keep reading on as I enlist the best methods, suitable for complete removal.
1. Laser Tattoo Removal
Laser tattoo removal is the first method to discuss as it is pretty cost-effective. This method is best suited for multicolored tattoos that are often hard to remove. Also, individuals with lighter tones are better suited for laser treatments as different laser wavelengths work better on the skin.
How does it work?
Laser tattoo removal requires you to bombard the concerned area with a Q-switched laser. The laser light or as you call it sends across strong pulses loaded with energy, which then dissolves the ink residing inside the skin surfaces.
However, if you seek complete removal, the Q-switched laser treatment needs to be fortified with different lasers. Also, multiple laser sessions might be required for the complete removal of the tattoo.
How does the laser treatment feel to the skin?
If you have sensitive skin, it is important to know how laser tattoo removal feels like a process. You must know that the skin is expected to blister, bleed, or even swell after each session. Also, as a local anesthetic is applied, you wouldn’t notice any pain while the laser tattoo removal process is underway.
What is laser tattoo removal aftercare like?
If laser tattoo removal is your preferred method to get rid of permanent tattoos, you must be aware of the important aftercare strategies, which include keeping the area dry, avoiding tight clothing, avoiding direct sun exposure, and not picking scabs.
2. Surgical Tattoo removal
Surgical removal of a tattoo is strictly invasive and involves cutting out the tattooed skin. Once the area is cut, the physician stitches back the remaining skin to help assume a sense of continuity.
How does it work?
Surgical removal is like a dermatology-backed surgery where the surgeon injects an anesthetic to minimize sensitivity to pain. The design made by the artist is then cut out and it might take a long time for the skin surface to heal completely.
If the doctor can provide medical advice, you can very well avoid an allergic reaction and top layer irritation that require treatment and additional care. While the ink is extracted out at the earliest, the occasional post-op leaching is totally normal and you must keep applying antibacterial ointment to speed up healing.
How does it feel to the skin?
Better termed as excision removal, the implications and effects on the skin are way more pronounced as compared to laser tattoo removal. Also, this is the only tattoo removal method that can completely remove the tattoo.
As far as the post-op effects of dermatologic surgery are concerned, you might experience scarring. However, to avoid the same you need to stay away from scrubbing the tattooed area.
What are the relevant aftercare strategies?
Removing the tattoo via surgical methods is prone to scarring. Therefore, the aftercare strategies should be different than those followed for laser tattoo removal. This includes using the recommended skincare ointment extensively to keep out the risk of infections.
3. Tattoo Dermabrasion: Innovative Removal Strategy
If you want to follow a different path towards tattoo removal, Dermabrasion can be a reliable option and requires you to consult leading dermatologists.
In this process, the concerned dermatologist uses a sanding device to carve out skin layers to make the ink leach out of the surface. Also, as per the theories of dermatology, the efficacy of this strategy might vary, depending on the skin type.
This process involves numbing or chilling the skin surface to make it unaware of the pain. Once done, the rotating, high-speed abrasive sanding device removes the top layers and the tattoo ink is allowed to escape.
If you plan on using Dermabrasion to remove the unwanted tattoo, you need to apply antibacterial cream to the treated area to speed up the tattoo healing process. While multiple sessions might still be required to get rid of the tattoo completely, you are still advised to keep applying sunscreen, reduce proximity to water, and work on the body’s immune system, to speed up healing.
4. Tattoo removal Creams
There are other methods of getting rid of your unwanted tattoos, which include the removal of ointments and creams. While they are worth trying, there isn’t any solid evidence that validates their role as reliable tattoo removing agents.
At most, they can lighten the color of your tattoo or fade the unwanted ink, thereby preparing the area for a cover-up.
5. Tattoo Cover up
Getting a cover-up tattoo is one of the most advisable methods to get rid of the present one and ask the tattoo artist to modify it into a newer form. The cover-up might not clear out the skin surface but it certainly gets rid of the original tattoo or rather the tattoo applied without much thought. Plus this approach is a better bet if you have darker skin and there aren’t many treatments needed after covering up the old tattoo.
Also, when it comes to pricing, an old tattoo cover-up is the most economical way to let go of the original design. Dermatologists are also of the mind that tattooing over the older ink deposits kicks off a ready immune response and allows the body to return to normal activities at the earliest.
Factors you need to know before planning a tattoo removal procedure
Getting rid of unwanted tattoos can be tricky if you aren’t aware of the important factors that influence the entire process.
1. Practitioners’ credibility
You need to resort to a good surgeon, practitioner, or dermatologist if you want to get the best results. However, the results, in regards to tattoo removal, include minimal redness, zero post-op blisters, and lesser scar formation in the surrounding tissue, and the least number of side effects.
If you rely on less-experienced dermatologists, you might be at a greater risk of allergic reactions, hyperpigmentation, pinpoint bleeding in case of surgical removal, development of tiny fragments and patches on the skin, or simply a fading tattoo instead of a completely removed one.
The time taken by the design to fade off completely depends on the tattoo removal procedure you plan on sticking with. For instance, laser treatments can take over 2 years to make the tattoo vanish completely. Surgical removal, however, works faster as it gets rid of the tattooed skin and the tattoo ink it seethes underneath.
While laser treatments ensure that light energy hits the ink particles and dissipates them in time, the scar tissue formation is on the lower side and you are less prone to experiencing irritation. The unwanted ink slowly turns into skin pigment and therefore removing tattoos using can be a languid process.
Regardless of the tattoo removal method, you resort to, the process can be quite expensive. Laser tattoo removal might be an efficient method but it can push you back by around 463 dollars, for each session.
In addition to the type of process, the cost of tattoo removal might also depend on the skin type, bodyweight, tattoo size, and other factors.
The extent of your removed design might vary depending on the method that you depend on. For instance, laser tattoo removal work doesn’t always lead to complete tattoo removal and actually helps fade the same, by almost 90 percent.
Dermabrasion, as a processor, leeches the tattoo ink out of the dermis and can achieve close to 95 percent tattoo removal performance. However, surgical removal is probably the only method that can achieve close to 100 percent perfection.
5. Pre-Removal Care
Before you plan on heading for a tattoo removal session, it is important to follow a procedure. This involves lathering up on generous quantities of sunscreen, with zinc oxide keeping the sunlight exposure to a minimum.
Despite the use of local anesthetic, procedures that take long can inflict some pain. As the top layers of the skin surface are ruptured in some cases, pain management is necessary, especially when a trained tattoo artist or medical practitioner is in charge of the process.
However, if you follow the laser removal method, which attacks the tattoo pigment instead of the skin layers, the level of discomfort is on the lower side. Not just that, the treatment varies greatly for each of the three tattoo removal techniques and therefore, you must take a call according to the preferences and how quickly you want the treated area to heal.
Also, large tattoos take longer to be removed and the effective method then becomes slightly more uncomfortable for most patients. This is the only reason why many patients rely on the surgical process to get the tattoo removed, once and for all. Not just that, certain surgeons and experts even blow cold air on the area to minimize the pain.
While it is the responsibility of the tattoo artist to inform patients about the pros and cons of tattoo removal, it is the aftercare strategy that needs to be highlighted even more. Tattoo removal beckons additional care and every tattoo artist and dermatologist will tell you the same.
However, the most reliable aftercare strategies here are to minimize contact with water, usage of medicated ointments, reduce sunlight exposure, and even work on the body’s immune system. To sum it up, a strong immune system ensures that the scarred region heals up quicker than expected.
Irrespective of the removal procedure you follow, scarring will be there. However, the build-up of scar tissue or even standard scars can be mitigated by relying on efficient aftercare strategies
Tattoo Removal FAQs
Can a tattoo be removed completely?
Yes, you can remove existing tattoos completely by relying on surgical removals. If you are more biased towards laser removal, it might take several sessions to get at least 97 percent clearness.
What is the average cost to remove a tattoo?
The average, per session cost of tattoo removal, is somewhere between 75-125 dollars. However, dermabrasion and laser treatment pertaining to large tattoos can increase the average cost and make you consider a cover-up.
Is tattoo removal painful?
Yes, most tattoo removal processes are minimally painful but still bearable. In case you want to understand the type of pain, consider striking yourself with a rubber band and that is all you would experience during the process.
How long will it take to remove a tattoo?
It might take close to one year or even more for the tattoo to fade off completely. However, the final result depends on the technique you resort to.
Will scarring always be there?
Yes, tattoo removal often leads to scarring as the surrounding tissue is ruptured and invaded to either leech out the unwanted ink or to bombard the ink pigments to dissipate them out of existence.
Are there any side effects to tattoo removal?
There can be unwanted side-effects like blistering, redness, scarring, and more, but only if you do not take the required aftercare measures.
Tattoo removal can get tricky if you cannot connect with an experienced dermatologist or practitioner for that matter. This is why you must read through this discussion with utmost care and ensure that the process is both quick and without extensive side effects.
To sum it up you can either get a new tattoo to cover the older ink-packed surface or resort to bombarding the ink deposits with different wavelengths of light as a part of the laser-backed solution. While the ink chooses to stay if these methods are followed, you can always resort to the surgical removal plan to get rid of the residual ink. However, for invasive strategies to work, you must try and improve the immune system for speeding up healing.