What Do You Need to Know about Tattoo Removal?
By Joe Murphy
At the time, you were hopelessly in love with Ron. Getting his name tattooed on your arm seemed like a great idea and the perfect way to express your devotion at the time. But heck, you were only nineteen. Now that you’re in your thirties and engaged to be married to Kevin, having Ron’s name encircled in a heart on your arm will not make for a very classy wedding photo. Plus, your husband-to-be is not too enamored with your skin art. So, you’re looking to get your tattoo removed before the big day. How hard, expensive, and long does it take to get a tattoo removed?
Why do people get tattoos removed?
83% of people are happy with their tattoos and do not want to get them removed. But that leaves 17% of inked individuals dissatisfied with their tattoos. While many people aren’t happy with their tattoos, only 6% of surveyed people will take the steps necessary to get them permanently removed. In several recent surveys, the top reasons why people wanted their tattoos removed were:
● 58% were tired of looking at them.
● 57% were embarrassed about their tattoos.
● 38% thought the tattoo made them less attractive.
● 38% got their tattoo removed for a job.
● 25% were tired of the stigma attached to having a tattoo.
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Here’s what you need to know about getting a tattoo removed.
What are the risks of having a tattoo removed?
The risks involved are minimal, but there are some side effects you should know about and prepare for accordingly. Scarring, infection, and skin discoloration are the most common side effects of having a tattoo removed.
Who can remove a tattoo?
It’s best to look for a board-certified dermatologist to remove your tattoo. Make sure that the doctor you choose is experienced with tattoo removal, and ask to see before and after shots of their work before you hand over your money. An experienced dermatologist will also be able to tell you the best method for removing your tattoo. Depending on the ink, you might be a good candidate for laser removal. Small tattoos often respond well to surgical removal, while large tattoos can’t be removed with surgery and will need a different approach. Tattoo removals are usually performed via an outpatient procedure where you are given a local anesthetic for pain relief.
What are the different techniques for removing a tattoo?
There are several effective ways to remove a tattoo, and each one will differ in the time and expense it takes to get rid of the tattoo.
● Laser Surgery
● Surgical Removal
How does laser surgery work for removing a tattoo?
To remove a tattoo with lasers, a doctor will use Q-switched lasers that release a powerful, single pulse of energy to the ink. This is the most popular method for tattoo removal. People with darker skin may need an Nd: YAG Q-switched laser to prevent skin discoloration.
At the start of the procedure, a doctor will inject the skin with a local anesthetic. Then the laser energy is applied to the tattoo. It works by heating and then shattering the ink. A tattoo that is different colors will need to be treated with a variety of different lasers that operate on different wavelengths for complete removal.
Once the procedure is completed, there will be some swelling, bleeding, and possible blistering at the site. Your doctor will prescribe an antibacterial ointment to prevent infection and help the skin heal from the laser treatment.
Is it possible to completely erase a tattoo with laser surgery?
You will need multiple sessions of laser surgery to lighten the tattoo, but it might not be possible to erase the tattoo with laser surgery completely.
What happens during surgical removal of a tattoo?
Your doctor will apply a local anesthetic to the site, before surgically removing the tattoo with a scalpel. The doctor will use stitches to close the wound, and you’ll need to apply antibacterial ointment to the site while it heals.
Is removing a tattoo with surgery permanent?
Surgical removal is the most effective way to remove a tattoo permanently. However, it is only good for small tattoos, and it will leave a scar behind. It is more expensive than laser removal, and it also comes with a higher risk of infection since the skin is cut.
What happens during a dermabrasion procedure?
Your doctor will use a high-speed rotary device to effectively “sand” the skin down to the lower levels where the ink resides. The dermabrasion device will look like an abrasive wheel or a rough brush, and the device will expose the ink until it leaches out of the skin. Before the procedure starts, a doctor will chill the site until the skin is completely numb.
What are the side effects of dermabrasion?
The site will feel raw, sore, and appear red for several days to a week after the procedure. It can take patients up to three weeks to fully recover from dermabrasion.
Is dermabrasion a permanent means of removing a tattoo?
Dermabrasion is the least popular of the tattoo removal methods. It is unpredictable, and it can be difficult for doctors to know if the procedure will permanently remove the tattoo.
How much do these tattoo removal procedures cost?
Laser surgery will typically cost between $200 and $500 per removal session so the costs involved can vary widely depending on the size and pigmentation of your tattoo. For surgical excision, you can expect to pay anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a thousand dollars for removal. Dermabrasion can cost a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the size of the tattoo and where it is located.
If you’re looking to get your tattoo removed, always do your research. Look up reviews for tattoo removal specialists in your area. Check to make sure the dermatologist you visit is board certified, and that they have extensive experience removing tattoos.
Author – Joe Murphy