Nearly twenty percent of people with tattoos regret having them. Continue reading for everything you need to know about how to remove your tattoo today.
Tattoos are purchased by almost thirty percent of people living in the U.S. today. Nearly fifty percent of millennials have tattoos, making up a sizable portion of the overall tattooed demographic. Often tattoos are seen as beautiful and alluring, personal-statement body art. Unfortunately, nearly twenty percent of people with tattoos regret having them. The good news for these people (perhaps yourself included) is this: Effective tattoo removal techniques are available to remove the tattoos you no longer wish to have. Continue reading for everything you need to know about how to remove your tattoo today.
Brief History of Tattoos
The full history of tattoos is far too in-depth to cover here today. A brief history of tattoos is also far too interesting to pass up. The word “tattoo” originates from the word “tatau,” which is a Samoan word used to describe the sound made during the tattooing process. Samoans would use boar’s teeth and turtle shells to literally tap the tattoo pigment into the recipient’s skin. Tattoos originated 5,391 years ago in the year 3,370 BC. This makes tattoos one of the earliest forms of art in existence, although they were not always used for beautification purposes.
In ancient China, tattoos were used to mark criminals so law-abiding citizens could recognize and shun them. The New Zealand Maori culture made use of bone chisels to score and shape thin openings in the skin, into which they then embedded soot to create the coloration. The Maori culture used tattoos for identification purposes. Maori tattoos were essentially like modern driver’s licenses or passports, only much more painful to obtain than waiting in line at the DMV. In 1769, however, Captain James Cook of England set sail to track the passage of Venus across the sky. Cook’s navigations and explorations led him to a Tahitian culture, whose process of tattooing (once brought back to England by Cook) began to revolutionize the tattooing arts. Cook returned with Ma’i, a Tahitian native whose tattoo artistry took Europe by storm. Skipping over multiple enthralling stories in the timeline, the first U.S. tattoo shop was subsequently established by a German immigrant in New York City named Martin Hildebrandt in 1846. Inventor Thomas Edison’s perforating pen creation inspired the development of the original electric tattoo machine, and from there tattooing in the U.S. truly began its surge in popularity.
How Tattoos are Removed (Procedure Types and Things to Consider)
In case the compelling history of tattoos and their importance to a few ancient cultures has not changed your mind about getting yours removed, here is what you need to know to remove it. First, the tattoo removal market is booming because so many people recently started regretting their ink-laden decisions. This means you will have a lot of removal provider options from which to choose. Second, and most important to the entire process, you must contact a professional dermatologist to schedule a consultation before scheduling your removal procedure. Qualified dermatologists have the education, training, and experience to help you choose the removal method best suited for your tattoo(s).
Consultations are further advised because tattoo removal is significantly more challenging a process than getting tattooed in the first place. The ink is inserted beneath your top layer of skin, which means removing it risks possible infection and permanent scarring if the procedure is not done properly. Tattoo removals are also commonly performed with local anesthesia as outpatient procedures. This means you need to discuss what type of anesthesia is used and if you are at risk of experiencing any allergic or other adverse reactions. Additionally, not all skin types, tattoos and tattoo locations respond equally to every type of removal process. Before you decide, continue reading below to learn about the different tattoo removal types available for you.
Laser tattoo removal is the safest and most effective method of removing tattoos. The type of laser used varies based on skin type and tone. For example, while Q-switched lasers are the most popular choice for tattoo removal, Q-switched Nd:YAG lasers are more commonly used when removing tattoos from darker skin tones. Q-switched lasers release energy by emitting powerful pulses. The pulses of high-intensity light beams break up the pigment embedded in the colors in the ink beneath the skin. The color black responds best to laser treatments because black absorbs light more than any other color. Different colors require specialized lasers to achieve the same results during a tattoo removal process. One treatment might not be enough. How many treatments you need to completely remove your tattoo(s) depends on their colors, sizes, and ages. Treatment numbers are also impacted by how deeply the ink is embedded under your skin.
Surgical tattoo removal utilizes a scalpel to remove the ink and pigmentation. Once completed, your skin is stitched together again and left to heal. Surgical tattoo removal does work, but risks scarring and is most effective for removing smaller tattoos.
Dermabrasion tattoo removal numbs your skin by chilling or freezing it. Next, the tattooed area is sanded using a high-speed rotary device, which contains an abrasive brush (or coarsely bristled wheel). Once your skin is sanded deeply, the ink leaches out of your skin. This removal method is less common because it poses more risks of scarring and pain during recovery. Recovery takes up to three weeks to complete and follow-up dermatologist appointments might be required.
Risks and Benefits
Because a local anesthesia is used, it is necessary to check your medical records and history for any potential reactions you might face. Your skin might bleed, blister, swell or hurt for several days to several weeks after your procedure. Some tattoos are also not fully removable (even with laser treatments), and a risk of scarring is possible for surgical and dermabrasion procedures. The benefits of having a tattoo removed include restoring your body to its natural state and the elimination of bad memories or mistakes. Laser removal methods are most beneficial overall because they are the most effective and have the least number of adverse aftereffects.
Who Performs Tattoo Removals?
The types of services available to perform tattoo removals vary based on the removal method chosen. For example, laser removals are performed by licensed estheticians, licensed laser technicians, or registered nurses with Certified Aesthetics Nurse Specialists (CANS) certification. Surgical and dermabrasion methods are performed by licensed medical professionals in different fields. Some service providers combine medical with anti-aging services. St. Joseph University Medical Center and ProMD Health in Maryland are two such providers.
The national average price for having a tattoo removed by laser is approximately $460. These costs are not covered by most insurance companies. Many providers offering monthly financing, however. A small tattoo (the size of a postage stamp) is also removable for as low as $99.