A laser is used to send pulses of highly concentrated light to break up the ink underneath the top layers of your skin. The laser goes right through the top layers because skin cells are made up of mostly water and melanin, but the larger ink particles absorb the laser’s energy and break into smaller pieces. Your immune system sends scavenger cells to carry off the ink particles, which are now small enough to be dealt with in this way.
Laser removal can be quite painful, and most patients are treated with a local anesthetic gel before the procedure. Blisters and scabs appear on the skin after treatment, and scarring is a possibility. Sessions are scheduled anywhere from three weeks to three months apart, depending on the clinic and how quickly your skin heals afterward. Most tattoos require from one to ten treatments; the average is one to four for home-done tattoos and five to ten for professional tattoos. Treatment session cost anywhere from $250 to $850, and a large and colorful tattoo may cost thousands of dollars to get rid of.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy
Intense Light Pulse Therapy is the newest and most effective technology used for tattoo removal. IPL works in the same way as laser removal, except a special gel is rubbed on the skin and a wand is used to emit the light pulses. It is also less painful and requires fewer treatments. Unfortunately, it carries a much heftier price tag than laser removal, which is why IPL has not yet replaced traditional lasers. Prices vary, but one clinic charges ten dollars per pulse of light used.
Dermabrasion is exactly what it sounds like. The tattooed area is sprayed with a numbing solution, and a grinding tool is used to create abrasive friction that takes off the top layers of skin. Not only does the procedure cause the skin to peel and bleed, it is also very painful and often proves ineffective. Plus, there is always the risk of infection.
Salabrasion is a centuries-old technique and is just like dermabrasion, except a salt-water solution is applied to the skin before it is abraded.
Excision is the surgical removal of a tattoo. A local anesthetic is injected, and the tattoo is cut out of the skin. The surrounding skin is then sewn back together. While this would obviously work best for small tattoos, large tattoos can also be excised. The middle part of the tattoo is removed first. After the skin heals, the surrounding areas are cut out until the tattoo is completely gone. Skin grafts are often needed for large tattoo removal. This procedure carries a risk of infection and a very high risk of scarring.
Happy News has a great article on getting tattoos you might regret.
“In a national survey in which 163 tattooed men and women were asked about their tattoos one-third of those men and women said they regretted their tattoo.
The reasons for why someone regrets getting their tattoo vary as much as the reasons why they want to get them. People’s likes, dislikes and affiliations change as they grow older and what someone likes or thinks is cool at age 20 will not be the same at age 50. For this reason, tattoos should never be done on a whim or to please someone else. It is permanent and the tattoo wearer has to live with it. Tattoos should also never be done while the wearer is drunk or intoxicated in any way; in fact, it is illegal to do so.
Choosing a tattoo should be a very personal and meaningful experience. There are two basic types of tattoos: flash and custom. A flash tattoo is the designs you see in stock at the tattoo parlor while a custom tattoo is one a customer brings in themselves. Either way, the decision should not be taken lightly. An aspiring tattoo wearer should choose a design that represents them.”
1. LOVER’S NAME
2. GANG SYMBOLS
3. PRISON TATS
5. CARTOONS, MUSICIANS, ACTORS
6. POOR QUALITY
7. WHIMS or DARES
It is very expensive to remove a tattoo. Expect to pay $1,000 to remove even a fairly small-sized tattoo if you’re looking at laser surgery. Also expect to have a noticeable ugly scar with a non-laser technique. Health insurance companies will not pay for tattoo removal because it is considered an aesthetic and elective surgery and not required for their physical health.