Is your body stained with inky regret, a tattoo you loved at the time but really hated years later? The name of someone who turned out to be a jerk perhaps, or an ethnic symbol you didn’t research first that instead of meaning ‘strong and brave’ actually means rubber chicken legs. Not to worry, help is at hand and if you just can’t live with it anymore there are ways to fix it.
There are only two options now for having a tattoo removed, short of resorting to a cheese grater, and they can both be costly as you will require multiple visits to successfully remove your regrets. Also the success rate is not 100% for either method and there are some patients who have been burned, scarred or have permanent skin changes or damage as a result of trying to have a tattoo removed.
Do your research, find a reputable person and be prepared to pay good money for good work, much like getting a tattoo in the first place.
This procedure involves a beam of laser light used in short bursts to break apart the tattoo ink, which the bodies immune system then sees as waste and disposes of it through the normal lymphatic method. This is probably the most widely used method as it has been around the longest but also has some of the worst horror stories.
The problem is a lack of regulation or licensing and no requirement for medical training, so anyone who reckons they know what they’re doing can start offering laser tattoo removal services. The equipment required to laser someone’s tattoo safely is called a Q-Switched laser and operates with pinpoint precision at the many different wavelengths required to tackle all different shades of tattoo ink. (currently about 120 shades in use in Australia) These machines sell for about $150,000 and sadly this means that a lot of people attempt to remove tattoos with IPL lasers, these are sold (for 10-15k) as a do it all laser, but are really not suitable for tattoo removal and have been known to cause serious skin issues. Anything from mild scarring and burning or changes in skin texture and pigment, right up to 3rd degree burns and heinous scarring much worse than any tattoo.
If you do decide to have a tattoo lasered off, make sure you research your local clinics and don’t just settle for the first one that pops u on google. Ask them questions about their qualifications and equipment and make sure you feel completely safe letting hem near your skin, there are lots of good, safe practitioners out there you just have to find them. If it is done right by a properly skilled laser technician it can be a very successful method of tattoo removal and there are many more success stories than horrible ones, be aware though it is certainly not a pain free procedure, so much so that normally local anaesthetic is used to numb the pain.
It can be a very costly process, depending on the size and colour of the offending artwork. For example a tattoo that is 10cm x 10cm in black would take about 5-6 visits to remove completely at roughly $250 a session, if it is colour it will be more like 10-12 sessions and even then quite often green and white ink are never erased completely.
Liquid Injection Method
An ‘all natural proprietary fluid’ (apparently what’s in it is a secret) is injected under the skin in much the same way you got the tattoo in the first place and this fluid breaks up the ink and carries it to the skins surface where it forms a scab. Once the scab is ready to come off the ink drawn out from the skin will come with it.
This method is currently less common but is starting to grow rapidly in popularity as it is said to be less painful than laser, heals quicker, takes less sessions and is much more effective at removing all colours. The liquid draws out all colours with no discrimination and a fractional system is used where only sections are done each visit rather than the whole tattoo, leaving healthy skin to assist the healing of the treated areas. A tattoo treated like this looks like a chess board, where all the black parts are treated areas where scabs will form and all the white parts are untreated skin left to assist faster healing.
This method is certainly not without its pain, it hurts to get a tattoo and it definitely hurts to get rid of one too, generally numbing gel will be used for patients having this procedure done, but it will still be tender, sore and need to be well looked after to ensure proper healing with no infections or scars. Healing time between each session is 8-12 weeks depending on the individual and it is suggested you will need a minimum of three and perhaps up to 6 sessions to completely remove a tattoo. Costs for this are apparently also a big secret, we couldn’t get any information over the internet or the phone, we were told we would have to make an appointment to have our offending tattoo checked out first.
Do you have ink that you hate? Have you ever considered getting rid of a tattoo, or maybe you’ve already done it? We would love to hear your experiences!