Tattoo removal is, ironically, one of the fastest growing sectors of the tattoo industry. Once known as a painful procedure, that acted as a de facto deterrent to getting a tattoo, it is now a convenient and somewhat comfortable way to remove bad or outdated body art.
To understand tattoo removal, it’s important to understand just what a tattoo is. Tattoos are permanent because the ink, through the use of the tattoo machine, is placed on the dermis layer—that secondary layer of the skin below the epidermis. This is why tattoos are painful in the first place—the needle must delve beyond the surface layer of the skin and leave ink in an area of the body where it won’t be carried away by the bloodstream.
Tattoo removal works in a variety of different ways, depending on what particular removal procedure you choose. Early tattoo removal methods included such drastic forms, as excision and dermabrasion, which mostly dealt with the ink on the surface layer of the skin.
Dermabrasion, like the cosmetic facial treatment of microdermabrasion, works as a tattoo removal technique by literally ‘scrubbing’ the surface layer of the skin away until the ink is gone. Obviously there is a pain factor involved, and there is a slight risk of infection, but for many years this was a primary method of tattoo removal.
Excision, as the name may suggest, is a process by which the skin that contains the tattoo is literally removed or ‘excised’ from the body. It is a painful procedure and very prone to infection and other complications, but can have very effective results-namely the tattoo being gone.
Perhaps the most popular way to get rid of that tribal skull tattoo on the arm is laser tattoo removal. This relatively new procedure does not even deal with the surface layer of the skin. Laser Tattoo Removal works by blasting the ink on the dermis layer and breaking it up into smaller molecules—which are then carried away in the bloodstream. Because of its reliance on a laser rather than a scalpel, laser tattoo removal is much less painful than other tat removal methods and seemingly much more effective--although some colors, such as turquoise, do prove rather resistant to the procedure.
If you’re considering tattoo removal be sure to consult with a medical practitioner to decide on what the best course of action for you is. Tattoo removal isn’t the traumatic it used to be, especially with new methods like laser tattoo removal, but it is a significant medical procedure that should be taken with all necessary precautions.