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Many people get tattoos on an impulse or for sentimental reasons and sometimes come to regret the decision. Others may choose the wrong tattooist and end up with a crudely executed or poorly-spelled tattoo that is more of an embarrassment than a source of pride. In such cases, rather than live with the unwanted or blotched work, it is necessary to find a way to get rid of the offending tattoo.
Fortunately, there are many tattoo removal procedures that you can undertake. However, you need to keep in mind that while the best tattoo removal procedure may do a pretty good job of fading the tattoo, a complete removal that will return your skin to its previous pristine condition probably won’t be possible.
The degree of success in tattoo removal will depend on the age of the tattoo, the size of the tattoo, the depth of the ink pigmentation, and the ink colors used. Your general health is also a crucial factor. If you are in excellent health, you will have a better chance of getting rid of your unwanted tattoos. However, if you suffer from any chronic health conditions, a responsible tattoo removal specialist may ask you to limit or forgo the tattoo removal sessions.
Laser treatment for tattoo removal
One of the most favored methods of tattoo removal currently is by using the laser.
A laser uses light pulses to target and break down the color pigments. Your body will then naturally flush out the broken down ink particles.
As different colors have different light wave-lengths, it is necessary to use separate lasers to accommodate these. Black color tattoos are the easiest to remove, followed by blue, green, orange, and red inks. It is more problematic to get rid of tattoos in yellow, purple, white, and skin-color inks. You may not be able to remove them entirely with the laser treatment.
The procedure may be somewhat uncomfortable and may require the application of a local anesthetic.
The tattoo removal specialist will then provide you with eye protectors and do a laser test on your skin to check if its light strength is strong enough to remove your tattoo. They will then carry out the procedure and, depending on the tattoo size and condition, that could take about 30 minutes. During the procedure, the laser will send light beams into your skin, and you could experience a scorching sensation. Afterward, there could be skin inflammation to some extent and even blisters and pus.
The tattoo removal specialist will apply a soothing ointment and bandage the area to keep it from getting infected and advise you to stay out of the sun until the skin has healed. That can take anywhere from six to 12 weeks.
You may need to undergo several such laser procedures—with gaps of six to 12 weeks between each of them—to get the tattoo to fade enough to be unnoticeable.
Dermabrasion and salabrasion treatments for tattoo removal
Both dermabrasion and salabrasion involve grinding over the skin and pores. These are painful processes and can cause your skin to bleed and peel. They are also not as effective as laser treatment.
Creams and lotions for tattoo removal
If you want to go the DIY route, you could try out the many tattoo removal creams that are available in the market. They won’t be effective overnight, but, after several weeks of use, you could achieve some degree of success in fading your tattoos. They probably won’t get rid of them entirely, though.
Risks in laser tattoo removal
While laser treatment is generally safe to use and won’t inflict any permanent skin damage, it comes with some risks. If the light beams oxidize the ink pigments, the tattoo will get darker and you will have to undergo several more procedures to remove it. In hypopigmentation, the tattoo skin area could get noticeably darker or lighter than the rest of your skin tone.
There is a risk of infection in dermabrasion and salabrasion, and creams and lotions can cause skin irritation. To minimize the risks, get the best tattoo removal treatment from an experienced tattoo removal specialist. They will know what your skin type can or cannot tolerate.
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