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Types of Tattoo Removal Techniques

Updated on September 10, 2011
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney is an expert on piercings and tattoos, with experience in the body modification world.

by cascioli
by cascioli

Tattoo Removal

Tattoos have been thought to be permanent, but until the last decade or so, laser tattoo removal has become popular among the masses. For those who can afford this expensive and painful procedure, it can be worth the money.

Most people get tattoos removed because they:

  • Are no longer into what the tattoo represents. For example, one may get a tattoo of a favorite band when they are younger, may not enjoy that band as an older adult.
  • Feel that it is not appropriate any longer. Some parents feel that it is not appropriate to be a mother or a father with a tattoo.
  • Are unhappy with the job that the artist did on the tattoo, and it would be easier to remove it than cover it up.
  • A part of a past life that is no more, such as a life in a gang.

How Much Will it Cost to Remove My Tattoo?

Something to think about before getting a tattoo is that having a tattoo removed is much more expensive than having one put on.

Laser tattoo removal can range from several hundred dollars up into the thousands of dollars.

The price depends on the size, type, and location, of the tattoo. The number of visits for complete removal is, also, taken into account.

And remember that medical insurance generally doesn't pay for tattoo removal, since it is considered aesthetic.

"Tat B Gone"

 Flickr image: reverend glasseye
Flickr image: reverend glasseye

"Fade Away" Tattoo Removal

Fade away methods of tattoo removal are considered one of the newest developments in tattoo removal processes. This particular technique generally involves a series of creams or rubs that are absorbed into the skin. When used in a combination, the series of creams, cause a reaction that breaks down the components of the ink, which the body then disposes.

This particular method essentially speeds up the body' natural process of ridding it of foreign matter. So, with time, the ink of the tattoo becomes lighter and lighter, eventually, fading away.

A private study has shown that these creams can be effective with consistent use until the tattoo is lightened to the point that it cannot be recognized.

"Fade Away" tattoo removal processes is probably the cheapest and least painful method of tattoo removal, but it takes true patience, as results are not seen overnight.

Types of fade away tattoo removal creams include:

Tattoo-OFF - A fade away method that is suggested for sensitive skin.

Tat B Gone - The first fade away tattoo cream with a trusted name. It is highly effective as far as what it was created to do.

Chemical Peels- Tattoo Removal

With this method of tattoo removal, Trichloroacetic Acids (TCA) Peel is applied to the skin. The chemical solution causes the area to "blister" and peel off.

The TCA treatment is generally performed in the doctor's office or in a surgery center as an outpatient procedure. So, do not use any do-it-yourself TCA kits because they usually aren't the real thing and can cause long term damage.

During the procedure, the patient may feel a brief burning sensation, which tends to be followed by a feeling of numbness or stinging. And, after the procedure the peels may cause significant swelling.

Although infrequent, potential complications may include:

  • Permanent scarring
  • Infection
  • Temporary or permanent changes in skin tone or uneven tone, such as hyper-pigmentation (darkening) and hypo-pigmentation (lighting)

After undergoing this process make sure that you use a sunscreen.

This process is not recommended for people who smoke.

Laser Tattoo Removal

Laser tattoo removal causes a penetration of the skin in order to break up the ink particles that were injected. Similar to the Fade Away Method, in the idea that the ink particles are broken up by the laser and are carried away by the body's natural systems to be disposed of as bodily waste.

This method involves using several types of lasers during the therapy treatment. frequency of the laser depends on the color of ink.

This procedure can be performed under a topical anesthetic if the patient chooses so.

Laser tattoo removal is one of the more expensive methods of tattoo removal that is used today.

Laser removal techniques have improved over the past couple of years, so that the time frame for complete removal has lessened. For the most part, where it used to take an average of 2 years to fully remove a tattoo, modern lasers and light systems can remove a tattoo in a little less time. But, the process is entirely dependent upon the laser type, number of sessions and the patient's body. At least several treatments are necessary to fully remove a tattoo.

 Flickr image: fullmoonhenna
Flickr image: fullmoonhenna

Other Methods of Tattoo Removal

Cryosurgery: This method involves freezing area of tattoo prior to removing it. This removal technique is often used in conjunction with dermabrasion. When freezing the skin, there is less blood loss.

Dermabrasion: This method involves removing all of the skin and the ink of the tattoo. A sanding instrument is used to remove the surface and middle layers of the skin. The tattoo is "sanded" with a rotary abrasive instrument in order to remove all of the skin. Bleeding is more than likely to occur with this method. This technique is performed under local anesthetic or and IV sedation. The price for Dermabrasion can range from $1000 to several thousands of dollars depending on the extent of the area that is being treated.

Excision: This technique involves the tattooed area being cut out of your skin, and the surrounding skin is sutured together. Only a small tattoo or a small sections of a tattoo can be removed at a time; larger tattoos require several treatments and possibly a skin graft. The Excision technique for tattoo removal will result in scarring.


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    • profile image


      18 months ago

      cost is very expensive

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I tried using Wrecking Balm for over two months with no results. I think the whole thing is just a scam, not worth your hard-earned money. The whole sander idea sounded promising to me, like it would magically remove my tattoo but its just BS - doesn't do a thing. Real a-holes to me when I tried to return it to.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm a believer in Tat B Gone after having used it for 6 months. I had a tattoo on my hip for 9 years and when I became a mother I decided it didn't fit my lifestyle anymore and I wanted it off. I consulted a doctor about having laser done but decided against it after learning about the pain involved and the scars it leaves. So I bought a 10-month supply of Tat B Gone that I used everyday for nearly a year. It consists of three different creams; the first is like an ex foliating scrub and the second and third are medicated creams that work by breaking down the ink in a tattoo. If you have the discipline to use as directed every day, then Tat B Gone can be very effective.

    • earnestshub profile image


      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      My Dad removed a "Ginger Megs" cartoon character from his arm back in the fifties. It was not a perfect removal, but I have always wondered how he removed it. Dad is long gone now, and I forgot to ask him.


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