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How Can I Get My Tattoos Removed?

It is possible to have tattoos removed, but the methods can be expensive and time-consuming.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 July 2014
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Sometimes, life changes necessitate the removal of a tattoo, which can be an expensive, painful, and lengthy process. If you have a tattoo that you regret, there are a number of tattoo removal options to consider. As is the case with most medical procedures, you should consult a specialist who can help you pick out the method that is right for you. Patients should be aware that no removal technique will restore your skin to its former state, and that it is therefore crucial to think before you ink.

One of the most common techniques is laser surgery. Laser tattoo removal removes a tattoo by targeting the ink with bursts of light that will break it up. Once broken up under the skin, the ink will be expressed by the immune system. Laser surgery does not remove tattoos in one sitting, however; large, full color work may take over ten treatments to remove. The long term effects of repeated laser treatments can include serious scarring, which makes this option most effective for small tattoos in dark ink. Laser surgery for tattoos in light inks can be very expensive and require many sittings.

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Another option is surgical excision, which involves physically cutting out the tattoo and suturing the wound shut. Larger tattoos will require a skin graft from another area of your body. While surgical excision will remove all trace of the ink, it will also leave a scar. Usually, a local anesthetic is used, and bleeding is controlled with an electrocautery tool.

Tattoo removal can also be accomplished by dermabrasion, a technique in which the skin is frozen and then abraded or sanded. This technique removes the top layer of skin along with the layer in which the ink has settled, and healing times will vary depending on how big the tattoo was. It also requires the use of specialized dressings until the skin has grown back over the site.

After a removal procedure, patients are instructed to avoid sunlight and excessive water. In most cases, sunscreen should be worn at the site of the tattoo as well, as the skin there will be more delicate and therefore susceptible to sunburn. Followup visits are also often required to make sure that the wound has healed properly.

For young people and former gang members, there are programs to help pay for the tattoo removal process. Most social service agencies can refer interested parties to a removal assistance program. Other individuals should be prepared to pay a large price tag for removing a tattoo. In some cases, the removal procedure can add up to many times the original cost of the tattoo.

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Discuss this Article

anon302773
Post 16

I have become an expert at covering up my tattoo. If anyone wants to know some tips, cover it up with a thick make up like dermablend, or the brand Before and After, then set it. Blend it with other colors so it is more natural. Set it, then spray it with a spray foundation for a smooth, seamless finish. It takes time, but seriously, no one knew I had this and you can't see the make up if you follow the steps and blend.

neomaglight
Post 15

Some great information in this blog. Thank you and good job on this article.

anon272740
Post 13

Today, lasers are the most common method of tattoo removal. They work by targeting the ink with pulses of highly concentrated light that break the ink into tiny fragments, which are then cleared away the your own immune system.

anon230950
Post 12

An easy, but painful way and dangerous way to remove a tattoo is by cutting it out. I cut out six tattoos and if you do it right you don't leave behind a scar. It takes some time but it slowly leaves your body. It is also a lot cheaper than laser surgery. All it requires is a bottle of peroxide, a razor blade, and a bottle of vodka (to drink).

anon212248
Post 11

I have some tats. I am 57 years old, and I got them when I was a young girl. Through the years, they have lightened up some, and I have removed some with a salt water grinding like sand. You just rub it around in circles on the tatt, but you have to watch, because infection will set in. I was lucky, my situation went well. Please don't ever get a tattoo. God gave you a perfect body. Please don't mar it up with tattoo crap.

anon74598
Post 9

tat b gone really works

anon74597
Post 8

i will trying out tat b gone soon i'll post another comment to see if there's any progress. hopefully i don't waste my money.

anon71790
Post 7

it feels good not to be in this boat alone. i got a tattoo in college and hated it after a few weeks. i was really out of my mind back then. i have finally decided to get laser surgery and i feel so good about it. i have been covering it up for years and i am so over it.

i don't want it and i am not going through another decade looking at my regret. it's worth the money.

I have become an expert at covering up my tattoo. If anyone wants to know some tips, cover it up with a thick make up like dermablend/ or the brand before and after, then set it. Blend it with other colors so it is more natural. Set it, then spray it with a spray foundation for a smooth, seamless finish. it takes time, but seriously, no one knew i had this and you can't see the make up if you follow the steps and blend.

anon53576
Post 6

Another person here who regrets getting a tatt! luckily it is on my upper arm and I can easily cover it up.

anon49555
Post 5

Yea, tattoo fading creams are pretty effective. I used the tat b gone for a couple of months to lighten up my tattoo before having a cover up done. Easy to use; you've just got to remember to put it on every day!

anon47822
Post 4

Here's another option - use Tat B Gone. It's a series of tattoo fade away creams that work by breaking down the ink in your tattoo and gradually fading it. I used Tat B Gone to get rid of a tattoo I really disliked that was on my back and in nine months it was completely gone! If your looking for a good tattoo concealer make-up Tattoo Camo works well and stays on all day.

anon28286
Post 3

My wife recently got a tattoo, essentially without even giving me a chance to comment. I would have commented about the great social stigma, the possibilities of complications both in the present and the future, possible allergy reactions now and in the future, the introduction of poisonous and carcinogenic dyes into the body, and some other areas. Not to mention likely problems if she ever needs an MRI exam.

Not to mention that I personally *hate* tattoos.

Are we all free and independent beings or do we possibly need to rely on full and complete information before we make a possible relationship shattering decision?

I may now hate people that get them, including my now possible ex-wife.

anon19636
Post 2

i hate my tattoo,but i dont have money to remove my tattoo,what should i do? Where to look for program for youth to remove tattoo? how about makeup to cover up? or skin-colour bandage to cover? please help, guys.

anon3011
Post 1

i have a tattoo that is a year old and i hate it, its black with pink and purple. then i tried to lighten it up with skin toned ink, with additional treatments will the multicolors come out? i heard that pink and flesh toned colors can turn black under a laser is it non-removable after this?

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