The words “tattoo removal” were probably not on your mind the day you got your first tattoo.
Youth is, after all, invincible, all-knowing and clairvoyant to boot. Fast forward a few years however, and what seemed like a good idea at the time is possibly not so appealing any more.
Fashions and bodies change, tastes shift, but a tattoo is forever – unless you can afford the time, money and discomfort of tattoo removal.
Few methods are painless and there seems to be no free tattoo removal or even low cost tattoo removal. Either there is a high monetary cost of tattoo removal or there is the cost of tattoo removal scars.
Tattoos are, by their very nature, permanent. They don’t wash off, grow out or disappear with age. They do however, tend to fade, blur and distort over time, especially with changes in age, weight and skin texture.
Homemade tattoo removal
What starts out as an attractive design might end up as an unrecognizable blob which will have you investigating home tattoo removal and pouring over tattoo removal pictures.
The outer layer of skin regularly sheds cells and if tattoos were restricted to this portion of skin, they would simply go away by themselves. Tattoo ink is injected into the deeper layers of the dermis though, where it tends to stay. For this reason, at home tattoo removal is not advisable. Do it yourself tattoo removal is risky, sketchy and unpredictable. Tattoo removal creams are unreliable, but, thanks to the wonders of modern science before and after tattoo removal pictures can seem convincing.
There are only a few options for tattoo removal and none of them are pretty. That tattoo removal cream, lotion and potion that supposedly removes tattoos is a bit suspect. Anything that claims to penetrate deep enough to reach and dissolve the tattoo ink is either going to damage your skin, or your pocket by doing absolutely nothing.
Tattoo removal bleach is not psychic - it will not just concentrate on tattoo ink removal and leave skin unscathed.
The next option is dermabrasion tattoo removal, which works by sanding away a few layers of skin and rubbing the tattoo out. As you can imagine, this is painful, invasive and in almost all cases leads to scarring. It requires several treatments too. Glycolic acid tattoo removal is equally unkind to skin.
Excision is one of the more drastic tattoo removal methods, which entails tattoo removal surgery. The offending patch is cut out with a scalpel and the resulting wound stitched up. Obviously this will leave a scar.
Tattoo laser removal
The most efficient, albeit most expensive, and best tattoo removal option is laser tattoo removal.
At tattoo removal clinics, intense light pulses break down the pigments in the tattoo and these are then disposed of by the body’s waste disposal system – the lymphatic system.
This is a long process carried out over multiple sessions at a tattoo removal clinic. Depending on the size, complexity and condition of the tattoo, laser tattoo removal cost is anything from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Professionally done tattoos are harder to remove than amateur ones, as are older tattoos. Some colors, for instance green, orange and light blue are generally more difficult to get rid of than black, red and dark blue. Tattoos on thin skinned areas such as ankles present more of a challenge than ones in places where there is more fat, such as the thigh.
By Gizelle Bichard
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