How To Remove An Unwanted Tattoo


tattoo removal


Dermatologist Dr. Herzog discusses tattoo removal options for anyone who might be experiencing “tattoo regret.” She shares this information in answer to the following question submitted by a Family Savvy reader.

Dear Dr. Herzog,

I got a tattoo when I was young and carefree~never thinking that I might regret it one day. Now that I am a grandmother, I am embarrassed and want to get rid of it. What do you suggest for removal (and for camouflage in the meantime)? Sincerely, A Grand With Regrets

Dr. Jo Herzog dermatologist Family SavvyDear Grand,

You are not alone. Patients frequently ask about removing tattoos because the tattoos that many people love today are the ones that years later they wish they had never gotten. One study showed that one in eight people that have tattoos want them removed. As you might expect, tattoos are harder to get rid of than they are to acquire. 

When a tattoo is made, the ink particles are suspended in the skin. In the past, the most common methods of removal included dermabrasion, salt abrasion, excision, acids, and cryosurgery. Recently, lasers have become the most efficient way to remove tattoos. Those with dark or black ink are easiest to remove, while several other colors are much more difficult to get rid of.

The proper laser, or laser setting, has to be used to remove each specific color. The laser heats the pigment (color) and breaks it up. The particles are then absorbed into the body. The laser can also cause pigment loss, especially in dark skin. The process usually takes at least a few and up to several visits. As expected, this procedure can be quite costly and time consuming.

Until you are able to completely remove your tattoo, it can be camouflaged to some degree with certain makeup specialty products. Products made to cover birthmarks, leg veins etc…can be used to cover a tattoo. Covermark has a tattoo cover kit that you might try.

Hope this helps.

Be well,

Dr. Jo

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