Sticky: Tattoo Removal

There are a few options for tattoo removal out there, should you find yourself with a less than desirable tattoo. There are numerous creams on the market for tattoo removal, Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL), Laser removal, saline fading, dermabrasion, skin excision, and lastly, simply covering the tattoo. But which tattoo removal process is right for you? Let’s explore your options.

Firstly, as you’re searching out ways of tattoo removal you may have come across a few ads for creams that proclaim they will easily and painlessly remove a tattoo. In reality, these claims are a little misleading. While these creams may fade an unwanted tattoo, most have been shown to not only be rather ineffective in tattoo removal, but also to damage the skin. By most accounts that were successful in fading the tattoo, it takes several months to see any desired results.

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL) is one of the newest and most high tech ways of tattoo removal. Applying gel to the skin and using a high intensity light for tattoo removal, instead of the more painful laser option- it also is a bit more costly. However, it is also known to be much more effective and requires less follow up visits than other options.

Saline fading, is also a newer option, however one that you may have trouble finding an artist that is trained to implement. Using the same process for tattoo removal that is used to apply the tattoo, the artist tattoos the saline into the ink that is already there, and is actually quite harmless. However, the debate goes on as to its effectiveness and many artists who are trained in this, use this less for tattoo removal and more to fade an existing tattoo for cover up.

Dermabrasion and Skin Excision are also fairly newer options in tattoo removal, but not recommended for the faint of heart. Dermabrasion is exactly what it sounds like- sanding away the layers of skin for tattoo removal, and skin excision is a process wherein the tattooed skin is cut away and sewn back together. Both cause extensive skin damage, but may be an option when other methods of tattoo removal are not viable options.

The most common form of tattoo removal is not tattoo removal, at all. Most people opt to have the tattoo they do not want, covered with another. This method requires an artist that is experienced in tattoo coverups, and usually requires an initial consult with the artist to decide what will best work in the covering of the old tattoo. While not specifically tattoo removal, this is an affordable and less painful option than most. To achieve the best results, taking photos of the tattoo you wish to have “removed” first is always a good idea, and will help your artist to better come up with a design that suits your desires.

Lastly, Laser removal is the second most common form of tattoo removal. Fairly expensive, this method of tattoo removal targets the ink, breaking it up into fragments and requiring several treatments for complete tattoo removal. The more treatments you have, the more effective it is, but this method can also cause skin damage and may cost you thousands for complete removal of a more complex tattoo.

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December 16 2008 03:56 am | Tattoo Removal

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