How to Remove Tattoos

by Contributor

That tattoo you got on a whim may not seem like such a great idea in the cold light of day, especially if it hinders your ability to land the job you want. Or maybe you've just outgrown your old ink. Whatever your reason for wanting to get rid of a tattoo, you have several options for removal. Laser surgery is one of them, and probably the best, but there are less invasive choices, too.

Step 1

Cover it up. There are several types of theater makeup that will completely conceal a tattoo. Although covering a tattoo with makeup is labor intensive and not a good long-term solution, it can serve as a stop-gap measure until you can afford a permanent solution.

Step 2

Try tattoo removal balm. This balm, which is quite expensive, doesn't completely remove the tattoo, but it may lighten it to the point that it is barely noticeable. Using a lightening cream is certainly less invasive than surgery, and it can be quickly and easily purchased online from a number of vendors. However, it's worth getting a quote from a dermatologist for laser surgery before going this route, because the balm may end up being more expensive than laser removal.

Step 3

Get laser surgery. Fully removing a tattoo takes several sessions that are stretched out over several months; you must wait a few weeks in between procedures to allow the dislodged ink particles to be absorbed by the body. The skin is raw while it heals, but topical anesthetics dull the pain during the procedures. Laser surgery can be expensive, and it may take a few months to see results, but it is highly effective and doesn't cause scarring.

Tips

  • Sometimes an old tattoo just needs a facelift. Consider putting a new tattoo over the old one. The tattoo artist can make the new design flow into the colors of your current tattoo.

Warnings

  • Dermabrasion is generally not a good choice for tattoo removal. The technique was used frequently before laser removal technology became available, but because it involves removing deep layers of skin, it may cause scarring or skin discoloration.