Today, tattoos are commonly used to express feelings or a time in a person’s life. They are even popular for memorializing a child or loved one. However, while tattoos are definitely a popular form of self-expression, they also come with a downside: removing them is difficult, painful and in some cases completely impossible.
Tattoos are so difficult to remove due to the fact they are deposited in the dermis of your skin, which is beneath the epidermis. Additionally, when tattoo ink is introduced to the dermis layer of skin, it will trigger an immune system that makes the tattoo last even longer. While there are a number of ways to remove tattoos, the effectiveness of these methods are somewhat questionable.
This was one of the earliest methods used to remove tattoos and works by actually sanding down the epidermis and portions of the dermis, which essentially rubs the tattoo ink away. While this can remove the ink, it will leave a scar in place. Another removal method, called cryosurgery or the freezing in of the skin, which is then followed by an excision or actually cutting the skin away. If the tattoo becomes too big, then a skin graft may be necessary to cover the area.
Since back in the 1980s, the most popular method for removing tattoos is by using lasers. This is a bloodless technique and will not leave any scars, but it can be time consuming. Small pulses of light are used on the skin, which work to break down the pigment of the tattoo. This may cause a bit of inflammation, which has to be allowed to heal prior to more laser work being completed. With this method it can take over a year to fully remove a tattoo.
Each of these methods are effective, but can cause varying levels of discomfort. Keep this in mind before having a tattoo placed to ensure truly want the permanent image on your body.