What Is Tattoo Removal?

What Is Tattoo Removal?

The elimination of tattoo ink from the flesh is what tattoo removal, as the term suggests, entails. Tattoos were once thought to be irreversible, but more recent methods can now more effectively erase or remove tattoos.

A tattoo can be removed in a variety of methods, including:

  • Lasers
  • Surgery
  • Dermabrasion
  • Chemical peels

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises speaking with a dermatologist, a medical professional who focuses on skin problems, if you’re thinking about tattoo erasure.

Why Would You Need Tattoo Removal?

If you don’t like the way your tattoo looks or you lament having it in the first place, you might want to have it removed. More than 75% of respondents to a poll said they regretted getting at least one tattoo.

Additionally, if you experience an allergic response to the tattoo or other issues, such as an illness, tattoo removal may be a sought-after choice. There are some restrictions, but the majority of individuals are prospects for tattoo removal. Anyone who smokes or has a weakened immune system shouldn’t undergo an excision procedure, nor should expectant or nursing women.

How Is Tattoo Removal Performed?

Different methods can be used to remove tattoos. When deciding on a therapy plan, you and your doctor may take your tattoo’s size, color, style, and age into account.

Laser Removal

Nowadays, laser tattoo removal is the technique of choice. Ink particles in the epidermis are heated during the procedure by the use of focused light beams. The defense system in your body then clears these smaller fragments after the particles break down.

For the majority of individuals, it will take between 6 and 10 laser treatments to see the intended results. Green, red, and yellow are some of the lighter pigment colors that are more challenging to erase with a laser than other colors. With a laser, black and blue are typically the simplest colors to target.


When removing a tattoo surgically, physicians merely remove the tattooed skin. Then they pull nearby tissue together and close it up. This technique will leave a mark and is better suited for tiny tattoos.


Using a specialized instrument to sand down the skin and eliminate layers that hold ink particles is a method called dermabrasion. Because dermabrasion frequently produces unpredictable outcomes and leaves behind noticeable bruising, it is not frequently used to remove tattoos. For tattoo erasure, more than one dermabrasion treatment might be necessary.

Chemical Peels

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) chemical peels are a less popular tattoo removal technique. TCA removes the skin’s top layer and tattoo pigment when applied to the epidermis.

How to Prepare for Tattoo Removal

You should meet with your provider to go over your choices and goals prior to getting a tattoo removed. It’s essential to be aware that while it might be considerably less noticeable, there’s a possibility your tattoo won’t be completely able to be taken out. In order for you to monitor your development through each procedure, your doctor might capture pictures of your tattoo.

All of your medical problems, along with any prescription drugs or dietary additives you may be taking, should be disclosed to your doctor. Avoid putting any lotions or perfumes on the afflicted region the day of your treatment.

What Are the Risks of Tattoo Removal?

The following are some potential dangers of tattoo removal:

  • Infection
  • Poor healing
  • Burns
  • Permanent skin discoloration
  • A less aesthetically pleasing result
  • The need for another procedure
  • Scarring

What to Expect During Tattoo Removal

Depending on the treatment you have, you can anticipate a variety of things during tattoo removal.

Lasers may cause discomfort. Some say it feels like a strong elastic band being snapped against their flesh. To lessen your pain before the operation, your doctor may give you a numbing ointment or injection. Depending on the extent of the tattoo being removed, you may receive local, regional, or general anesthetic if you are having surgery or dermabrasion. Despite being slightly unpleasant, chemical peels typically don’t require anesthesia.

What Are the Complications and Side Effects of Tattoo Removal?

Your skin may peel, boil, bruise, enlarge, scab, or look red a few days after therapy. Usually, these problems resolve themselves in a week or two. Additionally, your epidermis may start to show pale or dark spots. Within a year to six months, they ought to vanish. The majority of the time, adverse effects go away, but you might have lasting skin changes like scarring, an irregular texture, or other skin-related issues.

If you encounter any of the following signs following your procedure, call your doctor right away:

  • Fever or chills
  • Extreme pain, swelling, warmth, or redness of the affected skin
  • Oozing pus at the site of treatment

Care After Tattoo Removal

You can use a cold compress as soon as your treatment is finished to calm the injured region. You’ll receive detailed directions from your doctor on how to take care of your epidermis after having a tattoo removed.

After receiving laser therapy, you must wash the area with detergent and water. Your doctor might advise you to cover it up and apply an antimicrobial ointment until it recovers. The majority of laser incisions recover within five days of the treatment. Before getting another laser procedure, you must delay a few weeks.

Your dressings should be ignored for 48 hours if you underwent surgical excision of your tattoo. Following their removal, you should daily cleanse the surgical site with detergent and water. Following operation, your doctor might advise you to cover the incision with a dressing and an antimicrobial ointment for a week.

Additionally, dermabrasion leaves an exposed lesion that requires care. Typically, physicians will advise you to apply an antimicrobial ointment, clean the area daily with detergent and water, and cover the incision with a bandage or dressing. Dermabrasion recovery can take up to three weeks.

You’ll probably have a sore after a chemical peel that needs to be treated with cleanliness, an antimicrobial cream, and a dressing. The typical healing time for these incisions is five to seven days. It’s crucial to show up for all of your doctor’s post-care visits. For at least three months while your epidermis heals, you should also take precautions to shield it from the heat.

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