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Tattoo Removal Guide: Everything You Should Know 2020

Do not worry if you have a tattoo you no longer like. Modern methods of removal do wonders and are easily accessible, and this can be done easily once you choose the expert to do this procedure.

Often when people get tattoos, they do some editing after a while, or cover-ups and additions to the picture. But, sometimes people regret the tattoos they did without too much choice back then. Luckily, in these modern times there is a solution for this, and almost for everything, so relax if you think about removing one of yours!

How to Remove a Tattoo

Tattoo removal is the process of erasing the ink under the skin permanently. There are a few methods to do this. The most successful and popular way to remove a tattoo is the laser method. The laser erases the ink with the help of beams, and this is usually done in several or more sessions.

What are all the tattoo removal methods?

In the past, it must have been really difficult to remove an unwanted tattoo. We can’t even imagine it! But, today we know of a few ways to remove a tattoo, one of them is the most popular, and they are as listed:

  • Laser removal
  • Surgical removal (tattoo excision)
  • Dermabrasion

These are not as scary as they might sound at first, no worries. But, since you already made a tattoo, this won’t be much different or more painful. Let’s see these explained better.

1. Laser removal

Laser removal is probably the most popular one and the one we hear about the most these days. Lasers are miracle-doers and are used for all sorts of esthetic things – from hair removal to skin improvement, and best of all the tattoo removal.

The laser works by weakening the ink pigment under your skin, and it does this with a very powerful beam of light.

This laser process is a bit uncomfortable, but as I said, do not be afraid because it is widely popular and used for everything. Lasers for tattoo removal are known as ‘Q-switch’ or ‘ultra pulse’ and they hold up quite the heat with amazing speed too. It is good that this works fast because I’m sure you wouldn’t sit for too long to only get minimal results, right?

Now, to erase the ink section of the skin, there has to be heated, lots of it. The heat makes everything expand and take on more space than usual, so when the pigment is warmed and spread, there is a part of this ink particle that stays cold (the layer under the top warm one). The contrast of heat vs. cold is the key moment of pigment erasing.

Now, the laser head contacts this hot-cold ink spot and kind of dissolves it. Once dissolved and chunked up, the ink remains are ‘eaten’ by the white blood cells! Amazing, right? And, it does not hurt per se, it is more like an unpleasant sunburn that lasts only seconds…or similar. Still, it has to be repeated at least a few times to fully erase pigments.

2. Surgical removal (tattoo excision)

This process sounds much scarier, I know, but it is just as simple, even if you want to skip hearing about the medicinal details. This type of removal is simply cutting off the skin with the whole tattoo, then patching up the cut and stitching it back together. Like surgery on a wound or anything involving surgery – cut, operate, stitch back. Simple as that? Well, kind of. This is maybe the most serious procedure you can choose for removing unwanted ink. The best thing is that this removes the tattoo at once, in one session. But, this method limits you a bit – you can choose this only for the smallest tattoos.

Another not so great thing here is the scar. This removal method will leave the skin underneath looking like it had a serious injury. Even the most skilled surgeon is not a miracle-maker when it comes to stitches and how the skin reacts to them.

The way this works is way simpler than I made it sound perhaps. First, you will receive anesthesia (with syringe and needles) all around the skin section. Then, with a scalpel, the surgeon cuts all around the tattoo (along with the shapes and outlines), that’s gone already! Lastly, stitches the open gap after a few hours of this process.

3. Dermabrasion

Lastly, the dermabrasion method is perhaps the most subtle one of all these, even fanciest if I may say. The dermabrasion is famous for getting nice and glowing skin without blemishes and more youthful than before. But, who knew it can also be used for removing ink?

This process is sanding with a special machine/device in cosmetic salons or plastic surgery premises and similar. First, the expert will prepare the skin by inserting local anesthetic (without needles if possible). With this sanding machine, the expert will go over your skin to remove very fine and thin layers of skin, to leave the skin underneath smoothened out and ‘inkless’. This machine works with extremely high speeds and a rotating part that ‘buffs’ the skin.

This is not so magical as with the laser method, because here the ink will gradually leak. If your tattoo is small and not too ‘deep’, this is done in one session.
Truth be told, this is not a very popular method. Don’t get me wrong, it is not as invasive as others, but it is milder and this process is used more for facial beautifying than ink removing.

One thing to keep in mind – if you have extremely sensitive skin, or skin that often breaks out, or some skin conditions like eczema; do not choose this method.

Does it hurt to remove a tattoo?

Does it hurt to remove a tattoo

Depending on the method you choose, more or less yes, every method has some discomfort with it or pain. Laser, for example, feels like rubber bands flicking your skin very fast, one after another, heated up too. There is certainly some pressure and burning sensation, but it lasts a very short time.

Which tattoo colors are easy to remove?

It was a myth that some colors cannot be faded or taken out. Now the lasers are so powerful and advanced, it would be an ignorant thing to say some ink will remain after the procedure.

In the past, you would say you have a tattoo in colors, and someone would roll their eyes. Or you would hear that black ink is easiest to erase. This is all wrong now. Everything from the pigment will disappear under the laser beams. Even bright colors like orange, red, yellow-whitish, green, every color can be gone! These are modern times, and prices correspond to the services. You will get what you want.

What is the aftercare following the removal?

Any procedure that involves traumatizing the skin or body, needs proper aftercare. Good care of the skin after delicate procedures makes it heal better and faster, and you will avoid complications as well, as long as you are persistent in this. Almost the same aftercare for getting a tattoo works here as well.

Every expert has specific advice and tips to give you after the tattoo removal. There are some general rules to follow in fact. First, the skin must always be clean! Avoid getting the skin moist or humid under clothing as well. While at clothing, avoid rough or synthetic materials, and let the skin breathe.

I know you will be tempted to pick or scratch any areas there that seem irritated or bumpy or sensitive – but don’t! As with getting a new tattoo, treat the skin now the same. Avoid spas, saunas, gyms, avoid sun or tanning, use clean towels, antibacterial soap, lukewarm water, and that’s it. In some cases if there is inflammation (for those with very pale or sensitive skin), it is a good idea to use a bit of antibacterial or antibiotic creams – but only if recommended by the expert.

Side effects of tattoo removal

As with any procedure on the body and skin, there are side effects to keep in mind and even expect ahead. With today’s modern lasers, these things are a bare minimum, but what you might expect is:

  • Possible redness and inflammation from the laser
  • Scar or strange white pigmentation that is permanent (hypopigmentation; skin is whiter than the natural tone, or darker – hyperpigmentation)

Is it expensive to remove tattoos?

The costs of removing a tattoo will be…let’s say quite the sum. But, don’t take this to heart, because it all depends on the size of the design, the intensity of colors, and other factors like when the tattoo was made (a long time ago or not).

On average, give or take, expect to cash out a few hundred dollars. Based on the average sizes of tattoos, a few hundred is a sum to keep in mind. So, yes, it is kind of expensive, considering you once paid for the tattoo, and now again, but to remove it.

Do tattoo removal creams work?

Do tattoo removal creams work

It does not sound too believable to apply the cream on the skin and magically erase a tattoo. You maybe think that all those who choose laser are not dumb, and there is a reason why they choose the more painful method? You are right. Nobody would choose complex procedures over a topical cream for no reason.

How do these creams work and do they have any effect? You need to apply them on the skin and not expect too much, to be honest. There are no big statements about this and an effect. The most you will get with creams is a blurred or mattified tattoo. An effect that’s like a primer before face foundation, so almost nothing really, besides less contrast of the pigment.

It is bad that there are many side effects with these creams. After all, this is a mix of chemicals that seep into the skin and pores, and you could get allergies, rash, or major irritations and problems like burnt skin layers.

These creams sound like a scam because they are! Supposedly, they work like a harsh scrub peeling and ‘bleach’ the skin – sounds unrealistic enough by now? The most you can get is a tad whiter skin than your normal skin tone, irritated skin, blurry and weird pigment. Time wasted, and money not well spent. If you have medical conditions, these creams may worsen them. Beware if you suffer from allergies because all symptoms will be enhanced with these creams.

Another option instead of permanent removal or laser?

If you are scared to try laser, operations, or dermabrasion even (not effective but still), you can always try another tattoo!

Yes, another tattoo over the old one you dislike, will do the trick. Do a coverup with something larger and possibly darker. You should look for designs with darker colors because coverups are a bit tricky, and their design has to be perfect to fully hide the old ink you have. Think of this as an optimist – you get to choose a new design, and get thrilled to get it with your artist. Why worry over lasers or painful methods, or even paying money for erasing ink, when you can pay money for getting it? It is like a win-win!

Final verdict

Lastly, I would say that it is normal to dislike a tattoo after some time. It doesn’t have to happen, it is not a rule, and if you like all of your tattoos, you’re lucky! But, if you don’t, no need to worry too much.

Modern times offer modern solutions. To remove the ink you don’t want, you just need to review your budget, choose a good expert and salon/doctor’s office, and schedule your appointments.

Stay away from home methods or creams and lotions that would worsen the skin. And, if you change your mind about the removal altogether, top your old tattoo with a new one – bigger and prettier!

This time try to choose a design that you know it will be ok for you even after years to come. Good luck!

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