Despite the certainty that most people put in choosing their tattoo designs, it is not uncommon for people to want to get their tattoos removed. According to a recent survey, an estimated 17% of all of those that have gotten a tattoo regret their decision. There are several different types of tattoo design removal techniques, but the most reliable method is to get laser removal surgery from a certified dermatological surgeon.
No removal process is entirely effective. You may have seen creams available that promise to remove your tattoo without surgery, but thus far none of them have been proven to work effectively. In addition, there is a light removal method that is about as effective as surgery but its price tag is much higher. Other, non-laser/light methods tend to leave scars. If you want to remove your tattoo design, your best bet is to use the laser method.
Find a certified surgical dermatologist that specializes in tattoo design removal. There are thousands spread out across the country. Check references if possible to ensure they stand by their work. Remember, no tattoo removal expert can promise complete tattoo removal, so be wary about who you choose.
Your next step will be to attend your consultation. You will go over the number of "laser pulses" required to remove your tattoo, the number of sessions you may need, and how to care for the skin after you have received the laser treatment.
Next you will attend your first appointment. Expect some pain, as laser surgery can be quite painful. If the tattoo design is small, chances are you will need fewer appointments to remove your tattoo. A small tattoo design takes an estimated 200 pulses to remove. Black will be the first color to go, because it will absorb the wavelengths of the laser, while other colors may need specific light wavelengths. Green is most often the slowest. The more colors the tattoo has, the longer it may take to remove. In addition, the tattoos are meant to fade over time, so do not expect immediate results.
Follow all post tattoo removal care instructions. Your doctor will tell you how to care for your sensitive skin, but often times care consists of an antibiotic ointment, moisturizing and refrain from scratching or scrubbing the area.
Attend all subsequent sessions with your dermatologist. Laser removal methods are designed to help the tattoo fade a little more each time. In general it takes 8 to 10 weeks for tattoo designs to fade completely, though larger designs and those with several colors (such as green) may take longer. Also note that with any laser tattoo removal method there is a chance that the skin becomes black from the laser, rather than fading back to your normal skin tone, so be aware of that risk as you get your tattoo removed.
Tattoo designs are meant to be permanent. As such, there is always the chance that remnants of the design will still be present even after the laser treatment has taken effect. You should only get a tattoo design after you have carefully considered all of your options. But if you regret your tattoo and are ready for the removal risks, laser tattoo removal is your best bet.
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