Tattoo removal has been performed with various tools since the start of tattooing. While tattoos are generally considered permanent, it is now possible to remove them with treatments, fully or partially.
Micro dermabrasion involves using an abrasive device to sand down the layers of the skin. This will be incredibly painful and will result in an open wound that will have to heal. There are obviously going to be many complications of such a treatment which include pain, infection, burning, itching, scabbing, scarring, bleeding and many more.
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Salabrasion is similar to microdermabrasion, but instead of using an abrasive brush or a diamond wheel, granular salt and water are used. These are blasted onto the skin with force, resulting in the stripping away of the outer layers of the skin. This technique is repeated every few days until the scarred tissue pulls away supposedly leaving healthy tissue underneath taking the tattoo with it. Yet again there are many negative side effects of this treatment and ultimately will result in very bad scarring.
Surgical excision of a tattoo involves using a surgical knife to cut away the tattoo. This will performed under local anaesthetic injections. It can only be done if the skin can compensate for the area where the tattoo has been removed this means can the skin be repaired? Large tattoos will require skin grafts and need multiple visits if the skin cannot be simply stitched together. The after effects of surgical excision include pain, swelling, bruising, postoperative infection and bruising.
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Acid contained within certain lotions and creams can be applied to the tattooed skin to remove the ink. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. The ink particles of the tattoo sit within the mid layer of the skin, and so the acid has to burn off the outer layer of the skin before even reaching the ink. anything that burns off the skin just wont work and will lead to many more complications. Many products bought over the internet contain trichloroacetic acid which is a corrosive chemical, and is actually a banned ingredient resulting in horrific burns.
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Similar again to acid removal, these creams will contain corrosive substances that will claim to fade your tattoo. As the ink lies in the middle layer of the skin, such creams will never be able to reach the tattoo pigment and will only likely result in irritated and inflamed skin that could actually result in scarring.
Rejuvi involves having a chemical remover applied to the skin, similar to having a tattoo in the first instance. Rejuvi claims to ‘capture’ the ink particles by forming a thicker substance within the dermis and then pushing out through the outer layer of the skin along with the trapped ink particles. It all sounds very simple, but sadly it is not and has resulted in really severe scarring.
Cryotherapy involves in having the tattooed skin frozen off. Yet again though, this involves taking away the healthy unaffected outer layer of skin to reach the pigmented dermal layer. Sometimes cryotherapy can be combined with microdermasion, so the results of such treatment not surprisingly result in really bad scarring, severe pain, swelling, blistering and scabbing. Post-operative infection is highly likely.
And finally, laser tattoo removal. The safest and most effective method for tattoo removal available today.
Laser tattoo removal is the only safe and effective method to remove a tattoo without damaging the outer layer of the skin. Laser light energy penetrates the skin to reach the tattoo pigments. Different wavelengths of light will target different tattoo colours. The amount of energy delivered must be sufficient to break up the ink. Older lasers would do this in nanoseconds, and the resultant heat will fragment the heat. Too much heat will result in damage to the surrounding skin. Fortunately today we have Picosure and it’s world leading picosecond technology. The pulse duration, ie the speed, is so fast it breaks up the ink photo-mechanically rather than heating the ink. The integrity of the outer dermis of the skin is maintained and undamaged.
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Your skin may be red with a raised rash for a short while after treatment. Holding an ice pack to your skin may help. Try a packet of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel.
You may have some slight bleeding before your skin scabs over. Use aloe vera gel or Vaseline to help it heal.
Your skin will be more sensitive to the sun. Avoid sun exposure and tanning beds for at least 1 week after a treatment. Cover the area with clothing and use a sunscreen with at least SPF30.
You should avoid:
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Laser treatment is often safer than many other tattoo removal methods, such as excision, dermabrasion, or salabrasion because laser treatment selectively treats the pigment in the tattoo. And there are very few side effects. However, you should consider these factors in your decision:
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Older tattoos as well as amateur (“stick and poke”) tattoos are easier to remove than newer ones.
Some colors are easier to remove than others as well. These include:
Larger, darker, more colorful tattoos are more time-consuming and expensive to remove than smaller, lighter, and less colorful ones.
Due to the risk of side effects, it’s also more difficult to remove tattoos if you have:
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t remove your tattoo if any of this applies to you. It just means you may need to take a bit more time to find the best removal option for you.
Your healthcare provider can also help you if you have a health condition. For example, they can prescribe antiviral medications to prevent a tattoo removal procedure from triggering a herpes flare-up. They can also refer you to a dermatologist for further guidance.
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