Do you have a tattoo that you’re having second thoughts about? Are you thinking of getting it removed? If you are, you have come to the right place. In this article, we take a look at safe tattoo removal treatments that can get rid of your tattoos permanently.
Safe tattoo removal options
Removing a tattoo used to a painful process in the past. Excision (your tattoos would be cut away and your skin would be sewn back together), dermabrasion (the top layer of your skin would be scraped away), and salabrasion (the top layer of the skin would be scraped away using a salt-water solution) used to be the only options available to get rid of tattoos. These processes were not only painful, but they also left unwanted scars on your body. So, they were less than ideal. Today’s methods are more effective with less side effects to contend with.
The introduction of laser treatment has made the process of removing tattoos safer and less painful. In this process, energy from Q-switched lasers is used to break the tattoo on your skin into tiny little fragments. These fragments are cleared away by your body’s own immune system. A local anesthetic is usually given to make sure you do not feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
Since laser targets only the tattooed part of your skin, the normal skin surrounding the area is not affected. So, laser is probably your best choice for removing tattoos safely. The only downside with laser therapy is that it is quite expensive. A session may cost you anywhere from $250 to $850. Depending on the size and nature of your ink, you may require several sessions to completely get rid of them.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy
This is similar to laser therapy, except for the fact that high intensity pulses of non-coherent light are used instead of laser energy. A gel is applied and a wand is used to emit intense light pulses into the tattooed area. There are various home kits available but experts warn that this isn’t a great choice for smaller tattoos, as it can cause some damage to the surrounding area. It can also be quite expensive.
There are a number of over-the-counter creams that can be used to remove unwanted tattoos. These creams work by fading the tattooed layer of the skin to the point that the tattoo is barely visible. The efficacy of these creams, however, has not been proved conclusively. Many such products are also known to contain chemical irritants that could cause allergic reactions. So, it is very important to choose a cream that contains natural ingredients and is free of harmful substances like hydroquinone and TCA.
Things to keep in mind
• Consult a dermatologist to learn more about safe tattoo removal options and the pros and cons of each treatment. Generally most dermatologists will recommend Q-laser removal, but the technology is always improving so there may be new choices for you.
• Tattoo treatments are usually not covered by medical insurance. So, you will likely have to pay out of pocket. Try to figure out what the total cost will be to completely remove the ink and if you will be able to afford it.
• Follow the instructions given by the dermatologist carefully. Ask questions if you are not clear about the pre and post treatment care.
• Do not attempt to remove tattoos by yourself with salt water or sandpaper. You may not only hurt yourself, but also end up with a scar that is nastier and uglier than the tattoo itself. If removing tattoos safely is your goal, do not attempt to do anything on your own without consulting a dermatologist.