Getting a tattoo can be an exciting way to express your individuality. However, over time and with life changes, you may outgrow your tattoo. You may notice it has faded or you simply don’t feel as passionately about the interest, cause, or person that inspired it. Whatever your reasons, removing a tattoo can be a life-changing experience that affords you more personal confidence and can signal a new chapter in your life. So, how do you remove a tattoo? Here’s some information you need to know about your tattoo removal options.
Laser Tattoo Removal
With the recent ground-breaking advances in laser technology, laser tattoo removal is the most popular method for many reasons:
- It only takes a few sessions to remove your tattoos
- The sessions are quick and only take 15 to 30 minutes
- It’s a highly successful removal technique with little or no scarring
During the removal session, a laser targets the ink with a powerful pulse of energy that heats the tattoo ink and breaks it apart. Your body then breaks it down further and eliminates it through your lymphatic system.
Laser tattoo removal can cause discomfort during the process. However, your dermatologist or doctor can apply numbing cream or chill the spot with external forced air before starting the procedure. For larger tattoos, they may also inject you with lidocaine to reduce discomfort.
You may need one to ten sessions to remove the ink, depending on the size, age, placement, and color of your tattoo. Laser tattoo removal is a process that might take up to a year because you need to wait around six weeks between every session.
Surgical removal is another tattoo removal option, but it’s less popular than using lasers. In this procedure, a scalpel is used to remove the tattooed skin, then the surgeon stitches the edges of the skin together. This removal process is minimally painful because the affected area is injected with a local anesthetic before operating.
The healing process for a surgical removal takes between three to four weeks, and your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to prevent infections. The downside of this procedure is that it leaves a scar after healing, so it’s the best alternative for small tattoos that need one treatment.
Another alternative method of tattoo removal is dermabrasion, which uses a high-speed rotating device to sand down your numbed skin to remove the layers of skin that contain the ink. This removal option may need multiple sessions, depending on your tattoo’s intensity and the ink’s depth. Dermabrasion works best on lighter tattoos.
The recovery time following the procedure is longer, and you may still feel sore for several weeks. Your doctor will also prescribe antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and give you detailed instructions on how to promote healing.
You don’t have to keep a tattoo you regret for the rest of your life. With multiple methods available, tattoo removal is easier than ever. Although you can remove your tattoo using any of the three methods discussed above, speaking to your dermatologist or plastic surgeon is the best way to determine which option is right for you.