Got a tattoo and it didn’t turn out what you expected it to be? No worries, you can remove it. Tattoos have a long history in India. In ancient times, tattoos were part of religions and beliefs. But as the world is changing, tattoos also grew to be more sophisticated.
Tattoos of today are more like a statement or an etched memory. It is a blend of ancient beliefs and modern fashion. Tattoos are a striking exhibition of a person’s beliefs, perspectives, memories, phases of life, loved ones, and stories that the person wants the world to see. But there can be situations that you regret getting a tattoo because you were not satisfied or just want to erase the memory that is tattooed.
Now let’s see some of the frequently used tattoo removal methods.
- Laser Treatment
Laser treatment is the most effective and safest tattoo removal method. It is the most commonly used tattoo removal method which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The immune system of our body normally removes small and new particles from our skin. But the tattoo ink particles are too big to flush out of the body on their own and that is the reason why tattoos are permanent.
In laser tattoo removal treatment, the large tattoo ink particles are broken down into small particles to flush them out of your body. After breaking tattoo ink particles into smaller pieces, the ink particles are filtered out through the lymphatic system. So, the second half of laser treatment is quite a natural process.
In laser treatment, the tattoo ink particles are broken down by aiming them with lasers of fitting wavelength to heat the ink and break into pieces. A tattoo can’t be completely removed by single laser treatment. According to the size, design and colors used the number of laser treatments required may vary. The difficulty to remove the tattoos differs for different ink colors used. Each laser treatment sessions have a six-week interval between them. After the laser treatment, there will be an open wound that has to be treated very carefully. It should be kept clean and dressed. It is not as painful as other tattoo removal methods.
- Chemical Peels
Chemical peels as the name suggest chemicals are used to peel off the skin layer. Chemical peelers technically resurface the skin by penetrating the top skin layer. At first, chemical peels were used to treat acne, scars, pimples, etc. But later it was also used for tattoo removal. It is like a controlled injury that forces the top layer of the skin to peel off. After the shedding of skin, the immunity system of the body will produce new skin cells.
The commonly used chemical peelers are two: Phenol and TCA (Trichloroacetic acid).
- Phenol is faster and more effective than trichloroacetic acid (TCA). Although it is more efficient, it is also a risky chemical. Phenol is a strong chemical so the chance of scarring is also more. So, phenol should not be used to remove tattoos without consulting with your doctor.
- Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is not as strong as phenol, so the risk of scarring is less. It takes more time to remove the tattoo because of its mildness. Medical advice is not required for the application of TCA, but one should be very careful with the amount and time interval between each application. If gone wrong, tattoo removal with trichloroacetic acid can cause allergic reactions and discoloration.
In tattoo removal through injections, the skin is injected with lidocaine cream which is an anesthetic to numb the tattooed area. After that particular king of gel or liquid is injected into the skin with the tattoo needle. The tattoo ink will be lifted off of the skin and scab over the outer skin. Then it is a matter of time for the scab to fall off.
The injected liquid or gel contains water, organic extracts, essential oil, sea salt, aloe vera, and the anesthetic. Minerals like calcium oxide, benzoic acid, isopropanol, zinc oxide are also used in these solutions.
Tattoos can’t be removed by a single injection it takes not more than 4 treatments to remove the tattoo completely. Tattoo removal through injections is more dangerous and painful. Scarring is a common disadvantage of tattoo removal through injections.
- Surgical Excision
Surgical excision is the process of surgically cutting out the tattooed skin and stitching the skin back together. The skin is numbed before the process using an anesthetic and the skin is removed with a scalpel. Surgical excision is the most expensive tattoo removal treatment because the use of anesthesia and the cutting and stitching back of the skin back requires a surgeon. The cost of surgical excision also depends on the size, design, and area of the tattoo. So, the surgical excision is more appropriate for small and simple tattoos.
Tattoos can’t be completely removed in one treatment. It takes 2-3 sessions to completely remove the tattoo. Surgical scars and skin damage are the disadvantages of surgical excision.
In dermabrasion, the topmost layers of skin are removed in a controlled using a grinding tool called a dermatome. When the layers are removed, new layers of the skin are revealed. This treatment will also result in an open wound. The wound should be cleaned and dressed frequently. It will take almost 10-14 days to heal. Like any other treatment, dermabrasion also takes more than one session to remove the tattoo completely.
Dermabrasion is a very painful method of tattoo removal, so a certified anesthetic is preferred during dermabrasion. The requirement of an anesthetic and the treatment of the resulting wound makes this treatment expensive. It can also cause skin damage and scarring of the skin.
With today’s technology tattoos can be removed by various treatments. But it isn’t as easy as getting one. Tattoo removal methods are painful, dangerous, and expensive. After all these treatments one could not guarantee a complete retrieval of your tattooed skin. Tattoo removal causes skin scars, skin damages, discoloration of the skin, and in some cases skin allergies. Tattoo removal healing will also take a considerable amount of time. So before getting a tattoo, make sure that you want it.