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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thinking After Inking - The Skinny on Tattoo Removal

Tattoos are a very popular form of self-expression. Often, people get tattoos as a reminder of someone special, an achievement in life, their heritage or simply as a form of individual expression. Don’t worry – I’m not here to tell you that tattoos are unsafe. In fact, they are generally very safe if done by a professional. But what if you change your mind after the fact?

Thankfully, tattoos can be removed. However, it‘s not a quick trip to the doctor’s office, and your skin won’t look the same as it did before. It takes time, money, discomfort and a lot of Neosporin. Even then, your tattoo is not guaranteed to fade away. After going through the tattoo removal process, it is important to consider taking further steps to help with the scarring.

What is laser tattoo removal?
The most popular and effective method for removing tattoos is with laser tattoo removal. Most doctors use a quality-switched (or Q-switched) laser that uses light and energy to create high-power pulsing, which goes into the skin and breaks up the ink into smaller particles. The body can then dissipate the particles. The procedure is not guaranteed, but it is the best available option for removing a tattoo.

Are there any other procedures to consider?
Before laser removal was a common practice, doctors performed dermabrasion, salabrasion, surgery and cryosurgery to get rid of unwanted body art. None of these procedures are recommended today, and all of them are unpleasant, potentially skin-damaging processes. If you’re trying to remove a tattoo, I’d avoid any of these older methods.

Additionally, there are lots of over-the-counter fading creams available online that are inexpensive when compared to laser treatments. The sales pitch is quite tempting, but the FDA does not recommend this at-home DIY treatment, as the creams are likely to cause skin reactions from chemical irritants in the products that are used to erode the skin.

Are some tattoos are easier to remove than others?
Yes. It is easier to remove tattoos from parts of the body that have more circulation. For example, tattoos in distal extremity regions (where there is little body fat) such as hands and ankles, are more difficult to remove. Tattoos in the proximal extremity regions, such as upper arms and torso, are easier to remove.

A larger contrast between skin and ink helps speed up the removal process. Darker colored tattoos like black and grey are the easiest to treat, while colors like red, green and purple can be a bit more challenging. For example, black tattoos on fair skin are the easiest to treat. Just like how sunlight is attracted to darker pigments, lasers can pick up darker ink colors more easily. 

How long will it take?
Generally, tattoo removal can require anywhere from four to 12 sessions. The number of sessions required depends on how old the tattoo is and the size, placement, depth and color of the tattoo.

Patients will need to wait about a month between each session to give the body a chance to absorb the ink. Expect the entire process to take from about six months to a year and a half, not including the healing of the scar.

Are there complications?
It’s possible. Tattoos are meant to be permanent. Although it’s less abrasive than older procedures, even the state-of the-art laser technology we have today can be painful and may not result in complete removal. As with all laser treatments, laser tattoo removal may cause allergic reactions for some people. Additionally, tattoo composition fluctuates and the pigment may not respond as expected to the treatment.

How much will tattoo removal cost?
Treatment sessions do add up, and can be costly. Each session can cost $350 or more.

Is it possible to prevent or treat scars?
Pre-and post-laser care is critical for all laser treatments, including tattoo removal. Immediately following treatment, the skin may resemble a healing burn for a couple of days. The newly bare skin should be treated like a burn, too, frequently applying Neosporin and keeping the skin bandaged.

As with many of my blog posts, I mention that the sun is a major contributor to skin problems. A good SPF is even more important for vulnerable skin and should be applied daily around the treated area to avoid discoloration and infection.

Please refer to my recent blog post here for more information on the best ways to help with scarring. 

Have any questions about getting or removing a tattoo? Leave them in the comments and I’ll address them there! 


  1. When you have an unwanted tattoo with the ex girl or boy name for example, the main safe solution for clear this from the skin is the Laser tattoo removal delhi strategy.

  2. This story reminded me of how I finally removed my tattoos without the pain and expense of laser removal.

    My life used to be miserable. People used to judge me based on what they thought my tattoo meant...and it's never a fair, balanced presumption.

    I was tired of having to hide all the time and having to think about what I was going to wear based on my tattoo and whether it's going to be seen or not.

    But I couldn't afford to spend thousands on laser tattoo removal. There had to be another way - we're not talking cancer cells here, just ink under the skin.

    It turns out there are natural ways to remove tatoos that just cost a few dollars and in many cases work just as well as laser.

    Now my tattoos are gone and I did it all naturally.

    This website helped me a lot, check it out:

    Best of luck!

    Name: Kevin Turner

  3. Ouch!:( Laser removal is not a joke, it's painful we know that. But those memories hurts more than the tattoo removal process, that's why I endured the pain and successfully removed my tattoo. Thanks to Rethink The Ink Laser Tattoo Removal for helping me trough the whole process. I highly recommend them, So check them out.

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