Tattoo Removal FAQS

The great thing about tattoos is that they are permanent art--whatever symbols you choose to display on your body will stay with you forever. Unfortunately, that’s also the bad thing about tattoos.

If you are lucky, you will never regret getting a tattoo or your choice of tattoos. If you aren’t so lucky, you might be looking for ways to remove your mistake. Fortunately, there are ways to undo or remove a tattoo that you may have come to regret.

Here we offer answers to your frequently-asked questions about tattoo removal:

How Does Laser Tattoo Removal Work?

Laser tattoo removal uses laser light to break up ink pigments into tiny particles, which are then absorbed (and excreted) by your body. The laser method is used to remove tattoos as well as age spots, large freckles, and other pigmentation in the skin. Here are a few things to know about laser tattoo removal:

  • With tattoos, the laser technician uses different wavelengths of laser light depending on the color of the tattoo ink.

  • Laser removal works best for large tattoos and on areas, such as the face, where scarring might be an issue.

  • The process is fairly successful at removing most tattoo pigments, but there is a known issue with orange, green, yellow and blue pigments.

  • Laser removal requires multiple sessions, with several weeks between sessions, to completely remove the tattoo. The number of sessions depends on the size and color of the tattoo.

  • Laser tattoo removal is very expensive, with a single session costing from $250 to $1,500.

  • Although the laser is designed to minimize scarring, it is not without lasting effects. Because the laser is designed to remove pigment, it can remove some of the skin’s natural pigment, resulting in lighter patches of skin where the laser was used.

How Effective Is Surgical Removal of Tattoos?

Surgical excision of a tattoo is basically cutting the tattoo out of the skin, then sewing the remaining skin together.

  • This process works best on small tattoos in areas that are easily hidden.
  • Because you are removing a patch of skin, scarring is more likely.
  • This procedure is generally performed by a plastic surgeon and requires anesthesia.
  • The cost of the process varies depending on the surgeon and the facility.
  • Removal of larger tattoos could require skin grafts to fill in the space left by the excised tattoo.

Does Dermabrasion Work for Tattoo Removal?

Dermabrasion is the process of rubbing away a layer of the skin to remove the tattoo.

  • Because the tattoo pigment is embedded deeply in the skin, dermabrasion requires several sessions with waiting periods between before achieving complete removal.
  • The process could result in scarring or some pigment loss in the area of the tattoo.

What Are Other Tattoo Removal Options?

If laser tattoo removal or other tattoo removal options are too expensive, or if you feel that your tattoo is too large for removal, you can also opt for a tattoo revision. With a revision a tattoo artist either covers the original tattoo with a brand new image or modifies it. Here are some things to consider with tattoo revision:

  • A cover-up could be fairly inexpensive, compared to tattoo removal, depending on the size and color of the original tattoo.
  • A large cover-up could require multiple sessions, depending on the image you choose.
  • Tattoos with a lot of dark pigment are harder to cover up.

Whether you choose tattoo removal or revision, you should always consult with a professional to discuss your options. For a tattoo removal, make sure you consult with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon. For a tattoo revision, make sure the tattoo artist and studio you choose is licensed or certified in your state.

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