By Mat Fay
Everyone does something in their life that they regret, and one of those things could be a tattoo, or part of a tattoo. There are many reasons that a tattoo may not work for you anymore. Probably one of the most popular reasons for tattoo removal is that you got a tattoo that reminded you of someone you loved, but that isn’t the case anymore. Or perhaps you thought the idea of a cobra coiled around your neck seemed cool when you were 18, but now you are having trouble getting an office job.
Whatever the reason is, you have a problem, but there is a solution. Tattoo removal has advanced over the last few years and now there are several options available, depending on the size and placement of your tattoo, your tolerance for pain, and of course your budget.
Using lasers to remove a tattoo is one of the most common methods available today. The laser works by concentrating a beam of light on the tattoo, which breaks up the pigment into tiny fragments which are then absorbed by the bloodstream.
It can take quite a few treatments to fully eradicate a tattoo, and each treatment will penetrate deeper into the skin, causing scabbing, blistering and of course pain. With advancements in technology the resulting scar is minimal, but it of course varies by treatment.
This type of treatment isn’t easy on the pocketbook though, with each session costing $250-850 and up to ten sessions required.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy
IPL is one of the newest types of dermal enhancement out there, and offers a superior tattoo removal method than lasers. IPL uses high intensity light pulses much like lasers, but also uses a gel to focus on the area being treated.
This method is said to be less painful than lasers and is also more effective, meaning that less total treatments are required. On the flipside IPL treatments cost quite a bit more than laser, up to $10 per pulse, meaning that the overall treatment likely is going to cost more.
There are still a few older methods of tattoo removal around, but for the most part they have been replaced by laser and light therapy since these new methods are more effective and less painful. Dermabrasion is still one method available, which basically scrubs away the top layer of skin, or the tattoo wearer could opt to have the tattoo cut out and the skin sewn back together. As you can imagine these methods cause significant scarring.
Various companies offer creams that are said to remove tattoos; however most of their claims have gone unproven. These creams are supposed to gradually fade the tattoo over several months. While not cheap ($125 for a 2 month supply) they are certainly more affordable than laser or IPL so they may be worth a try.
Do your research before you commit to a product, and try to find out if you can get your money back if it doesn’t work.
If you have an older tattoo you may be able to get it removed or at least faded by having a tattoo artist use saline to tattoo you with saline. Basically the saline is applied with the tattoo needle where the old ink is. While this is not a guaranteed method, it costs less than most of the other removal options, but you may have trouble finding a tattoo artist who does this.
If none of these options seem good to you, you may want to consider simply having your tattoo covered up with a new tattoo. The tattoo artist can work with you to find a design that you like that masks the unwanted elements of your old tattoo, and the price is usually the same as getting a new tattoo so it is easier on the wallet.
Keep in mind that there are limitations to a tattoo cover up. You will not be able to cover a black ink tattoo with anything other than black ink, but lighter tattoos have more options. Make sure that the tattoo artist you choose is experienced in covering up tattoos and can show you pictures to prove it.