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DO YOU REGRET HAVING A TATTOO? HERE’S A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HAVING IT REMOVED
Not everyone thinks it through before getting a tattoo. We’re sure you have heard plenty of stories about people who wake up the next morning with a crazy tattoo somewhere they regret! But for every case like these extreme ones, there are likely more moderate cases where people want to remove a tattoo simply because they have grown tired of it or they feel it is not that relevant to them anymore.
We’re used to thinking of tattoos as something eternal, something that will never go away. For a while, it was like that. But today, laser technology allows us to remove tattoos! For the more extreme cases, this is not something to even consider – it must be done. But for plenty of other people, this is a decision they need to consider carefully. Removing a tattoo is a time-consuming process, and quite costly. In fact, it takes longer and costs more than getting the tattoo in the first place.
If you consider having your tattoo removed, you should get used to the fact that some traces of ink may still be visible after the procedures. In most cases, scars or other traces will form in your skin after the tattoo removal.
HOW DO YOU HAVE A TATTOO REMOVED?
The time when tattoos were forever-lasting is passed. There are now several ways of removing tattoos. You can choose to have a new tattoo that covers or somehow alters the old one to look different, or you can have a laser treatment to remove it. There are also other alternatives such as skin abrasing and chemical or surgical treatments.
Traditionally, most would opt for a new tattoo to cover or change the look of the old tattoo, but this method has its obvious limits. You might not even like the outcome because of the restraints of the old tattoo! Some tattoo artists will recommend some laser treatment before getting a new tattoo over, so that old one does restraint the new one as much, in terms of visibility. This can easily prevent the new tattoo from looking messy and unaesthetic.
The tattoo removal treatment most people choose these days is the use of a laser that affects the color molecules under your skin. When these molecules are hit by the laser, they fall apart. The waste materials will be taken up in your bloodstream and by natural mechanisms are excreted from the body in due time. These laser machines are often found in clinics and studios where they are also used for smaller fixes, such as skin miscoloring.
Another method is skin abrasion, often called dermabrasion. This is a process where you grind down the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of your skin, as well as some of the dermis, the layer beneath the epidermis. As a result, your body will produce a new layer of skin where the old one was removed, removing the skin where the tattoo once was.
A third alternative is chemical peeling of tattoos. This is done by using a machine that resembles the tattoo pen and needle, but instead of ink, it injects tiny doses of acid into the epidermis. The acid etches away the skin which causes the ink from the tattoo comes out and then your skin will heal and hopefully, there will be little to no traces of the tattoo left.
Some claim that certain creams can be used to remove a tattoo, over the duration of several months. However, scientific documentation is weak for this claim.
Surgical removal of a tattoo is perhaps the most effective approach. This method is as simple as removing the skin with a scalpel and sowing it together after. This method is likely a better choice for smaller tattoos, as it will possibly leave you with scars.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REMOVE A TATTOO?
Removing tattoos requires a great deal of patience. It is a very long process compared to how long it takes to make the tattoo in the first place. A full series of treatments will consist of at least 6-12 treatments. Between each treatment, you should let the skin heal for a couple of months before going in for another treatment.
How many treatments are needed for the desired removal of a tattoo, will also depend on the color of your tattoo. Some colors, such as green, bright blue and turquoise will last longer in your skin. In most cases, it will usually take more than a year to remove a tattoo, no matter what colors have been used. And remember to consider taking a break with treatments right before summertime, as these laser treatments do not go well with sun tanning. Additionally, staying under the sun might naturally bleach your tattoo and fewer treatments might be needed, cutting your costs.
Skin abrasion, chemical peeling, and surgical treatments are all procedures that require less time than with laser. This will depend on the size of the tattoo. Tattoo removal is, no matter the type of treatment, a procedure that takes a toll on your body and skin. Which is why it is important that you do the removal little by little, over a longer period for the skin to heal properly between each time. If you expose your tattooed skin to too many treatments in a short period of time, complications may arise.
DOES IT HURT?
If you have really small tattoos, miniature in size, we will make you a very good offer. We also do package deals if you want to remove several tattoos at the same time.
It does hurt using the laser to remove a tattoo, but the bright side is that the treatments are very short in duration. As little as less than a minute sometimes, depending on the tattoo. You can use an anesthetic cream if you are very sensitive to pain. Although considering you already went through the pain of getting a tattoo, most people do not need this.
After skin abrasion, the affected area can be sore and hurt for up to 10 days. You should use disinfectant ointments and bandages to avoid anything from touching the skin and possibly causing infections. Chemical peeling or surgical removal of tattoos will also cause some pain after treatments, while the skin is healing.
SKIN COLOR AND TATTOO REMOVAL
You shouldn’t have a fresh tan if you are considering tattoo removal. This is due to the color molecules as mentioned, as they lie in the dermis part of the skin, while the pigments of your skin are found in the epidermis, the layer above it.
For the laser to find its way through your skin to the color molecules of the tattoo, it needs to penetrate the epidermis. If there is a lot of pigment here, it might be difficult to do so. After all, the pigments are there to protect the skin from radiation and UV-rays from coming through to the lower layers of the skin. This makes it naturally harder for dark-skinned people to have laser removal. This also means that the best time of the year to have a tattoo removal might be during the winter when most peoples skin is at its lightest.
TATTOO REMOVAL LIMITATIONS AND RISKS
Before you decide to have your tattoo removed, you should evaluate the risks related to these procedures, and if they outweigh what you stand to gain from removing a tattoo you don’t like. Even though the treatments are quite harmless to most, there are some risks associated with the process. First of all, you need to make sure that the person treating you is qualified. These treatments should only be performed by actors who have a permit from the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority.
When you finish removing a tattoo you should be aware that the skin in the area might not look the same as it used to. There is a possibility that you will end up with scars or depigmentation. For instance, you might end up with completely white skin/pigmentation due to the treatment having burned away or damaged skin cells that carry pigments.
The opposite can happen as well due to these treatments causing the skin cells to become overactive. This will cause darker spots of pigmentation. You might even experience a mix of both, causing irregular changes of color in the treated area.
Your skin has a natural pattern, which may be ruined by these treatments. Due to the high temperature used in said treatments that cause your skin to essentially burn, your skin might lose these patterns and become smooth and flat and have smaller scars. This is why we want to recommend you start in smaller areas to see how your skin reacts. After the initial treatment, you should also wait a couple of months before trying again, to see how it heals.
Surgical tattoo removal will have to be performed by a qualified doctor, although it is not a very complicated procedure. However, there are some limits to the size of a tattoo and whether it can be removed surgically. Surgical treatments might also leave a scar in the treated area.
Chemical peeling to remove tattoos is a disputed procedure and some health officials advice against it. This is especially when the use of acid is present. This can some times lead to nasty cars and complications, especially in the cases where the performer is not a healthcare professional.
Creams that you can apply for a tattoo to slowly fade away is also a disputed method. There is no scientific evidence to back up the efficacy of such creams, and there is little knowledge about the long-term effects of these creams and their content.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
Unfortunately, you can’t simply refund your tattoo by handing it over to whoever made it for you and get a refund. It will most likely cost you ten times the amount you paid for it in the first place, to have it removed. We are talking a sum of between 10.000 – 20.000kr or more, with no guarantee of the outcome. If you stop the process halfway it might even look worse than to begin with, especially if you are unlucky to experience certain complications as mentioned above.
The price tag for tattoo removal is not the same for everyone. For one, it depends on the amount of ink that was used. A weak tattoo with thin lines will cost less and will be easier to remove than a big tattoo with strong colors and thick lines. And as mentioned earlier, the color of your skin also affects the outcome.
Laser treatments are expensive and take a long time to complete, but it is also the most tested and safe method for tattoo removal. It is also more gentle on the skin, considering the equipment available today, as more advanced and better machines are being introduced each year. For these reasons, it is the most popular method for removing a tattoo. With these new lasers, there is less risk of scars and other unwanted side effects in and around the skin.
Surgical and abrasive removal are other methods for removal of tattoos that are well tested and documented. But they might not be as effective or suited for larger tattoos, considering that these methods are quite hard on the skin compared to laser treatments.
Chemical peeling with acid or topical creams are new and popular methods, but as mentioned there is a debate in the professional community whether these methods are safe or effective, so tread carefully.
Most of the time when a person chooses to remove a tattoo, it is for aesthetic reasons. So if this is the case for you, make sure you are on the safer side of things and pick the method that is most gentle and efficient for your needs. There can be many factors at play in making this decision, and you would do wise to see a dermatologist for a professional opinion on your method of choice.