Tattoos: No longer a question of permanence


Photo credit: On Being

Gone are the days when tattoos represent an everlasting reminder of that onespecial person in your life, the significant moment or that regretful drunken adventure. Modern technology has provided a means by which tattoos can be almost completely removed, so that that special person who does not quite appreciate the name of your past special person tattooed on your arm, can have some peace of mind.

To many regretful tattoo owners, the invention or creation of a method of removal must seem like godsend, however, none of the methods of could be considered affordable to the average person. There are many accepted methods of tattoo removal, ranging from extensive and painful laser treatment, to home remedies such as removal creams.

Perhaps the most commonly used and well known method of tattoo removal is laser treatment. Laser treatment works by targeting the tattoo ink with a concentrated light that causes the body’s immune system to break down the tattoo ink. Depending on the size of the tattoo, it can take many separate laser treatments in order to eradicate the tattoo completely. The treatment works best and most efficiently on black ink. However advanced the procedure has become, scarring still can occur in some cases, depending on the tattoo as well as the person receiving the treatment. As common as this treatment is, it still costs a great deal to have it done and is widely believed to be even more painful than having the actual tattoo done.


Photo credit: meaghanw018

Another similar method of removal is intense pulse light therapy which works in much the same way as laser removal. A gel is applied to the skin and then a high, intense light is applied to the tattooed area. This method is said to be less painful than laser therapy as well as less likely to cause scarring. However, depending on the size of the tattoo, the cost of removal can be expensive, as the patient is charged per light pulse rather than per treatment.

Dermabrasion is perhaps the most painful and damaging option of tattoo removal as it sands away the top layer of skin and can result it extensive scarring. The patient is generally given local anesthetic and then a type of sanding machine is used to remove the layers of skin that the tattoo ink has penetrated.

There are a few methods of tattoo removal that can be done at home. One of those is similar to dermabrasion. It is called salabrasion and involves the heating of coarse salt and then using it to scrape away the skin with the tattoo. It is incredibly painful and not always successful; it often leads to severe scarring as well as not having fully removed the tattoo.


Photo Cred: Terry Donaghe

Another way of being free of an unwanted tattoo in the comfort of your own home is through the use of tattoo removal creams. The two most popular and effective brands are Tat B Gone and Tattoo OFF. They have been proven to drastically fade tattoos without pain or scarring. They penetrate the skin and slowly work on erasing the tattoo ink. This is considered the cheapest and most painless method of removal. The cream does not take effect immediately: It takes many at least six months of regular use in order to fade the tattoo even slightly. By the time the full course is complete, it could definitely not be considered cheap by any means. The cheapest and most painless way? Either don’t get a tattoo or make sure you will always be satisfied with your choice.


Photo Cred: David Schexnaydre

Video demonstrations:

Laser tattoo removal


Shannen Johnson-Barker

South African stuck in Canada trying to find something interesting about it all. Potential journalist, if all goes well that is. Enjoy exploratory adventures through journalism and searching for unusual stories that are potentially interesting.

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