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How to remove a Tattoo?


There are many ways to remove a tattoo: many people sometime wonder “How do I remove a tattoo that I do not want anymore?”

Well, remember: There isn’t a silver bullet!

When it comes to removing an unwanted tattoo, many people don’t realize all of the options they have. They think Laser Tattoo Removal is the one and only way since it’s the most common method these days. But in fact, there are many different ways to get rid of the tattoo.

Of course, it always depends on the size, depth, density and ink colors of the tattoo to determine how many treatments, or sessions a patient will have to go through.

Lasers – The most common way to remove a tattoo is laser removal.

Lasers are the most common method. There are a few different lasers, depending on your skin tone that your doctor has to choose from.

Q switched lasers are designed to removed pigments within your skin.

There are three different types of Q-Switching lasers;

  • Ruby,
  • Alexandrite,
  • Nd:YAG

The process is supposed to be less painful than previously used lasers, plus quicker or less treatments are necessary to reach your goals.

The Verapulse C laser is a combination of all four wavelengths (Q Switched lasers included) that can manually be adjusted to fit the needs of the patient. This laser is also known as a “cosmetic laser” since it is capable of removing all colors from one’s skin.

IPL, or intense pulsed light is the newest form of laser tattoo removal. Similar to lasers, its applies a gel onto the skin and uses a wand to emit light pulses via computer controlled light therapy. It’s said to be even less painful and quicker than traditional laser treatments.

Creams – Do it yourself method that does not always work for tattoo removal.

Do-it-yourself creams such as Wrecking Balm or Tat-B-Gone are also available for tattoo removal.

These creams must be used faithfully for long periods of time, generally over the period of a year or more. There are many different products to choose from. Some are “proven”, some are not.

It really depends on how faithful the user is applying the cream. Over time, the cream breaks up the pigment and allows the ink to “dissolve” into one’s body, fading the tattoo and leaving the person with clear skin.

Allergic reactions tend to be common among these products so it’s important that the user knows what their using before using it. Tiny tattoos are said to work better than large tattoos.

Hard removal – The hard way to remove a tattoo.

There are four main methods that date back centuries and some of these methods are still in use today.

Excision is the easiest of them all, the doctor would use a scalpel type instrument to cut out the tattoo, then close the open wound with stitches. Though this method is painful and infection rates from the past were high, it was the most popular method.

It’s still used today, only there are better medications for pain and infection rates are not as high. It usually took 1-2 treatments to remove a tattoo, depending on the dimensions and age of the tattoo.

Salabrasion on the other hand is the oldest method of all. It’s when a doctor uses coarse granules of salt, a moist gauze pad and a bit of pressure. The salt is applied to the tattoo and left under surgical dressing for 24 hours.

This method is known to burn the skin and be very painful. It’s not usually a method used this day in age, however if a patient recommends it, doctors will perform it. The process is time consuming but it only takes one treatment.

Cryosurgery, or cryotherapy is the method of freezing the tattoo in order to destroy the tissue. Several sessions are required, however there isn’t a lot of bleeding but side effects include blistering, edema, pain and hydro pigmentation. Similar to removing a hickie with a frozen spoon, cryosurgery is still used today but in other types of skin related problems.

Liquid nitrogen is applied to the target area, which causes stinging and burning, plus swollen red skin is inevitable.

Dermabrasion is the method where the skin is sanded to remove the surface and middle layers of the tattoo. Said to be very painful, the technique uses a wire brush to remove the upper layers of skin. The burr or brush rotates rapidly, taking off and leveling skin.

This process causes the skin to bleed significantly and will leave scars. This method is still used today in some cases and in some countries, but it is not recommended at all.

Chemicals – Another hard way to remove unwanted tattoos.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels, such as TCA or trichloroacetic are another common form of tattoo removal. The chemical solution is applied to the skin causing blistering and eventually peeling off, leaving new skin. This method causes scarring, infection, lightening and darkening of the skin, as well as numbness, stinging and burning sensations during the procedure.

The peeling lasts for up to a week, then the process can be repeated if necessary. The process progressively removes layers of skin and the tattoo design over time, so more than one treatment is necessary.

Saline Injections

Saline injections are given to the target area to break up the tattoo pigment. This process usually causes the tattoo to become blurry. This method is used to fade a tattoo, not remove it. Many people use this method in preparation for a cover-up tattoo.

The “Magic Wand” for tattoo removal

Another method that’s new to the market, and not extremely popular is called the Magic Wand. It’s a take home removal system that’s sold exclusively by Great Inventions. The procedure goes like this: take a piece of the provided wax paper and place it over the tattoo. Then apply the provided heating element against the paper, then apply the cream immediately and wrap in bandages.

The burn mark it leaves replicates an iron, literally. This method is said to be extremely painful, as the iron can not be removed for at least a period of 5 minutes.

Choose yours, choose wisely.

Now, as for being a candidate. All of these methods have their specifics to them, but the best candidate for any tattoo removal option is one who has realistic end results. The tattoo was meant to be permanent, so getting rid of it will be a lengthy process.

We strongly recommend speaking with a doctor to get the best medical advice, and not try “home made” solutions: they can be painful and ruin your skin forever.


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