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A Guide To Tattoo Removal

Tattoos are normally considered permanent markings on the skin but in recent years new techniques and procedures have been developed to safely and effectively remove tattoos that are no longer wanted. Tattoo removal is by no means an easy procedure as it can be very painful and costly. Often times with tattoo removal, multiple sessions are needed in order to make the ink disappear. If someone is thinking about getting an unwanted tattoo removed, there are various techniques that can be used. It has been estimated that more than half of the people that have tattoos will wind up regretting them at some point and want them gone.

There are many reasons why someone might choose to have a tattoo removed. If someone has a tattoo of an exes name, or the sign of a gang they used to be in, they might want to look into getting that tattoo removed. Because all tattoos are different, techniques have to be specifically tailored to each patient. Professional tattoos tend to penetrate the skin in a uniform level in the deeper layers of the skin, and this allows the person removing the tattoo to remove broader areas of skin at the same depth. On the other hand, homemade tattoos are often applied with an unsteady hand which can make removal more difficult than professional tattoos.

Types of Removal

  • Dermabrasion is a technique in which a surgeon basically sands the skin which removes the surface and middle layers of the unwanted tattoo. The combination of the dermabrasion surgery and different dressing techniques help raise and absorb the tattoo ink.
  • Surgical excision is performed by a surgeon who removes the unwanted tattoo with a scalpel and then closes the wound with stitches. Surgical excision can be a highly effective removal technique but can also be extremely painful.
  • Laser surgery is the most standard type of tattoo removal because it is highly effective and has minimal side effects. During laser surgery, a surgeon will use a high-intensity laser beam to selectively treat the different pigment colors. There are different types of lasers used depending on the color of the tattoo, and laser treatment often requires multiple sessions. Laser removal basically works by breaking up the ink particles in the skin into very small particles so they can later be picked up by the scavenger cells in the body. Laser tattoo removal is a bloodless procedure but the heat generated by the laser beams is likely to cause your skin to blister and can be quite painful. Unfortunately not everyone is a candidate for laser tattoo removal. Laser removal works better on people with lighter skin and on areas of the body that have more fat such as the arms, chest or legs. Tattoos placed on areas of the body with less body fat have proven to be much more difficult to get rid of. Laser treatment results vary based on the person and the tattoo and most removals take multiple sessions that are normally spaced four to eight weeks apart.

Tattoo removal is generally considered a cosmetic procedure which means that it is rarely covered by your insurance plan. While tattoos can be expensive, getting one removed often costs even more. The price of tattoo removal can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the size and colors of the tattoo.

Some further resources on tattoo removal.

What is Laser Removal? - a great question and answer article that explains the procedure used during laser tattoo removal

Tattoo Removal Info – in-depth information from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery on the different types of tattoo removal

Find a Clinic – a great directory that will help you locate a clinic in your area that is qualified to do tattoo removal

Tattoo Removal Facts – great facts and information regarding tattoo removal, also has reviews of tattoo removal creams

Gang Tattoo Removal – a great site that offers resources and information for ex-gang members that are looking to get their gang tattoos removed (includes listings of doctors that offers their services at low costs or free)