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HomeHealth A-Z Tattoo Removal
Tattoo Removal
Tattoo Removal
Tattoo removal can help people transition to a better place in life, and remove physical reminders of an undesirable past.

Tattoo Removal

Overview of Tattoo Removal

Tattoo removal is becoming more and more common all the time because people are realizing that their mom was right when she said that they would regret that tattoo later on in life. Many people get tattoos assuming that they will always like the design or meaning. The problem is that when you got that tattoo at 18 you didn’t think about whether or not you would like it when you were the parent of three kids at 30. Tattoo removal is the process of trying to remove the ink from the skin. This is not an easy process, and most dermatologists warn that they may not be able to get all of the ink out of the skin, as the tattoo was meant to be permanent.

Unfortunately, removing a tattoo is usually more painful than the actual tattoo. Dermatologists use lasers to remove the tattoo, and because the ink can go quite deep the process can be incredibly painful as well as time consuming. Because of the pain and the time that it takes to remove a tattoo many people aren’t sure if this process is for them. The process is becoming more and more refined all the time, allowing for more people to get those old tattoos removed once and for all.

Purpose of Tattoo Removal

The purpose of tattoo removal is fairly straight forward, the process is to remove an unwanted tattoo. Many people decide to get a tattoo on a whim and they regret the choice almost immediately. If people don’t regret the tattoo immediately they often regret the tattoo years later when they mature and change and approach life in a whole new way. Tattoo removal can help people transition to a better place in life, and remove physical reminders of an undesirable past. Many gang members have tattoos but when they are older and no longer want to associate themselves with the gang it can be difficult to make a clean break with tattoos all over their body.

Methods of Tattoo Removal

There are several different methods of tattoo removal to choose from. In the last few year the new technologies has made the removal of tattoos easier and less painful.


Dermabrasion is one tattoo removal technique. This technique actually sands the skin to remove the surface as well as the middle layers. This can be very painful, especially if the tattoo to be removed is very large. With this technique most of the tattoo can be removed, but for most some of the tattoo will still remain on the skin.


Cryosurgery is another tattoo removal technique that doctors used in the past. This technique requires that the skin is frozen before its removal. This is not all that painful during the procedure, but can be painful afterward as layers of the skin will be removed.


This is a technique where the doctor will remove the tattoo with a scalpel. After the tattoo is removed the area will be stitched together. If the tattoo is large a skin graft may be required to close the wound.


Today the use of lasers for tattoo removal is the most common choice. The reason that lasers are used is that they offer a very low risk removal option. When a laser is used there is no blood, and the instance of infection is reduced greatly. Many patients prefer the laser treatments because they are less painful and there isn’t prolonged healing times like there is if the skin is cut into, and it’s simply an easier process to go through. Laser tattoo removal can be done on an outpatient basis, so this is preferred both by doctors and by patients. There are several different laser options and those include Q-switched Ruby, the Q-switched Alexandrite, and the Q-switched Nd:Yag.

Lasers work by creating pulses of light that pass through the top layers of the skin. The light is absorbed by the tattoo color. The laser causes the color to break up into smaller pieces in the skin so that they are removed by the body’s natural defense system, the immune system. The process is very effective, though many times there will be some ink left in the skin after one laser removal treatment, this is especially true if the tattoo ink was red or green.

Benefits of Tattoo Removal

The benefit of tattoo removal is that you are getting rid of something that you don’t like anymore. For gang members the benefit is that they will no longer be associated with gangs by those around them. For some, tattoo removal means that they can wear the clothes that they want to wear without exposing an unwanted tattoo. Unfortunately, many people judge those who have tattoos and with tattoo removal patients can shed the stereotypes that others place on them because of their tattoos.

Risks of Tattoo Removal

With each procedure there are risks. Many of the risks associated with tattoo removal are infection, irritation of the skin, and scarring. Most patients can weigh the risks and decide that the benefits far out weigh the risks. This is something that patients will want to think about before they go ahead with the tattoo removal.

Cost of Tattoo Removal

Tattoo removal is something that most consumers have to plan for because it is quite expensive. Many believe that the cost of removing their tattoo should be the same price as it was to have the tattoo put onto your skin, and this simply is not the case. You should assume that your tattoo removal will cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the size of the tattoo and where on your body it will be. You will need to meet with a dermatologist to determine exactly how much your tattoo removal procedure will cost you so that you can budget it into your finances. If you think one doctor seems a bit high priced, there is no harm in getting two or three price quotes from qualified physicians to get the best tattoo removal price possible.

External Resources

Duke University School of Medicine

American Society for Dermatologic Surgery

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