There are four main ways to remove a tattoo. None of them are inexpensive or pain-free as the ink from a tattoo is designed to permeate to the deepest layer of the epidermis.
♦ Dermabrasion - With this technique an abrasive machine (like a sander) or chemical-based cream is used on the skin to rub off the tattoo.
♦ Excision - This involves surgically removing the tattoo and then having a doctor surgically stitch up the area. This technique is better in the case of tiny tattoos. Large tattoos require general anesthesia and the application of a skin graft to the area.
♦ Cyrosurgery -The area of the skin is frozen and then the tattoo is surgically removed. Once again t his is usually only effective with small tattoos.
♦ Laser Surgery - Lasers emit short pulses of light. When used for tattoo removal, this light passes through the top layers of skin and in to the pigment of the ink in the dermis. The energy from the laser's light causes the pigment to break down in to smaller particles that can be removed by the body's immune system. This treatment avoids damaging the surrounding skin because the laser's wavelength is targeted specifically at the tattoo ink pigments. However once again, this procedure does not always work on color tattoos as lasers work best when there is a contrast of black ink against white skin. Laser removal does not work at all on people with darker skins.
Tattoo removal is expensive as well as time consuming. It can cost from hundreds up thousands of dollars and, generally, tattoo removal isn't covered by health plans or insurance.
Usually your doctor reefers you to a dermatologist t who may then refer you to a dermatological surgeon. Alternatively, your tattooist may be able to recommend a tattoo removal specialist. Whatever you do, make sure that the actual removal is carried out by a licensed medical professional.
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