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Tattoo Remorse

Blasting Away Bad Ink

Tattoo—James [email protected]

Did you get a tattoo and now regret your actions? Both men and women acquire tattoos for a diverse array of reasons including gang or group identification, artistic expression, cultural or spiritual recognition or just plain lunacy. For many teenagers in America, getting a tattoo is a rebellious act of independence; when the need to prove machismo wanes, they often regret that they choose such a permanent way of venting.

Tattoos, a part of many cultures for centuries, have reached unprecedented popularity in America. According to a 2010 Pew Research study, as many as 40 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo; many have several, as do 32 percent of persons in the 30 to 45-year-old age group. Research indicates as many as 10 percent of people living in the U.S. have opted to acquire a tattoo at some point in their life: 50 percent of that number regret their body design experience and would like to have unwanted tattoos that lower their self-image, diminish job opportunities and tattoos that mar their bodies removed.

Reasons for Removal

For a diverse array of reasons, a growing number of people experience tattoo remorse. Reasons influencing their decision to seek tattoo removal include a change in work status or professional goals, young women become mothers, or it is a reflection of a newfound maturity.

Tattoo remorse motivates many to “rethink their ink” and seek tattoo obliteration; the increase in tattoo removal procedures fueled by negative peer comments, social stigma, embarrassment, a change in a relationship or a shift in career focus. Visible tattoos often limit employment opportunities, as police departments, governmental agencies, hospitals, banks, restaurants, and the military enforce a no visible tattoo policy for all personnel.

Do-it-yourself tattoo removal—forget it!

Do-it-yourself tattoo removal creams and jells, also known as skin faders or skin bleaching agents, are just that; they bleach the skin and can help even out age spots or freckles, however, they will not remove the deeply embedded tattoo pigments. When it comes to tattoo removal, these bleaching agents are a waste of money and can be dangerous offering hope without reason. They contain corrosive chemicals that can peel away layers of skin, invite infection and cause scarring. The result is that your body art just looks faded, dull and even less attractive.

You may be asking, if these home tattoo removal products don’t work, why are they so popular? It is the same wishful thinking and hope, skillfully marketed in a nicely packaged, overpriced container that makes us by into the hype of fad diets. We want to believe and are willing to invest in the faint possibility that it just might work, but it doesn’t. Fact is successful tattoo removal requires “deep pockets” and the intervention of a trained medical professional.

TCA tattoo removal—you can try it, but it doesn’t work.

TCA tattoo removal, often offered by tattoo parlors, is a non-prescription chemical peel offered as a less expensive and less painful way to remove tattoos. Sounds too good to be true, and in most cases causes a controlled burn on the surface of the skin which triggers the body to repair the damaged skin by growing new skin in an attempt to hide the tattoo. You can pay for treatments month after month, but in many cases the results are negligible: don’t waste your money.

Face it! A tattoo is meant to be permanent. Obtaining a tattoo should be a well-thought-out decision. Like getting that tattoo in the first place, tattoo removal is serious business. Until recently, the only viable removal solution for an unwanted tat was removal by dermabrasion or skin graft; procedures that were time-consuming, quite painful and very, very expensive.

Consult a plastic surgeon.

Avoid the risk of severe scarring or unsatisfactory results that usually result from tattoo removal. Visit an experienced and reputable plastic or cosmetic surgeon to have your tattoo evaluated for your doctor’s recommendation of a safe and effective method of removal.

Dermabrasion or Surgical Removal of Unwanted Ink

Dermabrasion, also known as Salabrasion, or the “sanding” of pigmented skin carries a high risk of pain, bleeding, infection, and significant scarring. Surgical tattoo removal requires invasive incisions to cut out the tattoo and skin grafting leaving scars at both the tattoo and the graft site; tattoo removal a great deal more painful and expensive than getting the tattoo itself.

WebMD.com notes, “Because each tattoo is unique, removal techniques must be tailored to suit each case. In the past, tattoos could be removed by a wide variety of methods but, in many cases, the scars were more unsightly than the tattoo itself.”

Laser Tattoo Removal

In the past, tattoo removal involved gambling on methods with low odds of success and a high risk of bleeding, infection, scarring, and pain. As more and more people seek tattoo removal, technology has advanced. In the hands of a highly trained cosmetic surgeon, a laser is used to penetrate the dermis and focused on each ink color using specific wavelengths designed to cause the tattoo to fade after 5 to 15 treatments. The treatment is bloodless and does not require an incision in the skin. The laser targets the ink-clad skin molecules and eradicates them as it stimulates blood flow to encourage new skin tissue growth.

No matter if you seek to rid your body of a gang symbol or you are just no longer “in love with Lulu,” you may have arrived at the place where you think, “that tat has got to go.” Blasting away “bad ink” is becoming an increasingly popular method of correcting a case of poor judgment. Laser tattoo removal is both a cosmetic and surgical procedure. If you wish to have a tattoo removed, find a reputable dermatologist to evaluate your tattoo and recommend a qualified cosmetic surgeon.

Although a series of laser treatments can be expensive, the results are impressive, and the majority of persons having laser tattoo removal treatments are delighted with the result. Possible side effects may include hypopigmentation or excessive fading of the skin or hyperpigmentation or excessive color in the skin. There is little chance of scarring or infection. The skin may feel and appear sunburned for several weeks after the treatment.

The amount and frequency of laser treatments are dependent on the size, location, and colors used in the tattoo as well as the skin tone and the age of the patient. Black, dark blue, red, and orange inks are the most straightforward inks to erase with a laser. Yellow, pale, orange, lite blue, purple and green inks are more challenging to remove.

Patience is required. The results of laser tattoo removal treatments are not immediately noticeable. Following the initial treatment, ink that exposed to the laser beams breaks down into microscopic particles. These minute particles are then removed by the body’s immune system over a period of 6 to 8 weeks. This process cannot be speeded-up as the body must rid its self of the broken down ink particles before another treatment. More frequent treatments will not make the process any faster and can put you at risk for scarring.

When the process is complete, the surgeon will schedule your next treatment, and the process repeats until all visible ink vanishes.