Getting spontaneously tatted at a young age is a rite of passage into early adulthood for many people. The problem is, many people who get tattoos under the age of 20 later regret at least one of them because maybe the tattoo doesn’t look good or it’s attached to a particularly painful memory. This leads many people to eliminate unwanted tattoos. However, there are several tattoo removal procedures out there – all of which differ in price, pain level, and more. The Bakersfield Med Spa at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute offers many types of tattoo removal procedures, and we explain the specifics of each one below.
If you’re wondering which tattoo removal method would be best for your unwanted tattoo and wallet, Dr. Daneshmand at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute can help. Call 949-359-8397 to schedule an appointment at our clinic today.
How Many Americans Regret Their Tattoos?
According to a small study conducted by Advanced Dermatology, 78% of the 600 tattooed participants say that they regret at least one tattoo. 63% of participants say that the tattoo they regret is smaller than the palm of their hand, and 46% say that they got their regretted tattoo when they were under 20 years old.
There are many reasons why someone would regret and want to completely remove an old tattoo. Common reasons why someone may regret a tattoo include:
- They don’t like the tattoo anymore.
- The tattoo no longer fits their personal style or matches the style of their other tattoos.
- The tattoo is old, faded, and/or stretched and no longer looks good.
- Visible tattoos are not allowed at their job.
- The tattoo was done poorly, so it doesn’t look good.
- The tattoo reminds the person of a painful memory that negatively impacted their life.
These people have three options: undergo a tattoo removal procedure, get a cover up tattoo, or live with their regret.
What is Tattoo Removal?
A tattoo removal procedure is just what it sounds like – it’s a procedure to remove an unwanted tattoo. It’s usually the job of the immune system to remove foreign particles from the skin, but colored ink particles are far too large for the immune system to remove. That’s why tattoos are considered permanent.
There are several types of tattoo removal procedures out there, the most common and effective one being laser tattoo removal.
How Does Tattoo Removal Work?
There are many tattoo removal methods out there, and they all work differently. But the goal of all these procedures is to break down tattoo ink particles into even smaller particles so that the body’s immune system can eventually get rid of them. Laser tattoo removal works by breaking up the particles of the tattooed skin.
Tattoo ink colors are injected into the dermis layer of the skin, which is the layer under the top layer of skin (called the epidermis). Chemical peels, dermabrasion procedures, and surgical excisions work by physically removing the top layers of skin that contain the tattoo pigment.
Who is a Good Candidate for Tattoo Removal?
You may be a good candidate to get your tattoos removed if you:
- Have an unwanted tattoo.
- Have generally good health.
- Don’t smoke.
- Understand that just like all other cosmetic procedures, tattoo removal comes with side effects and risks.
- Have realistic expectations about removing tattoos.
- Don’t have any active skin infections or major skin disorders at the treatment site.
Common Tattoo Removal Methods
There are many types of tattoo removal procedures that you can undergo depending on the size, location, and age of the unwanted tattoo. Below, we explain the details of the most common tattoo removal procedures that we offer, and what types of tattoos that these procedures may work for.
Laser Tattoo Removal
Laser tattoo removal is the most common and most effective method for complete tattoo removal. Laser removal works by breaking up the particles of the body art so that the immune system can begin removing them. Laser treatment can work for most tattoos: small, large, old, or new. It’s important to remember, though, that you may need several laser treatments in order to get the tattoo removed, especially if it’s large or colorful.
People who have darker skin may have a higher risk of side effects and skin damage from cosmetic procedures involving lasers – such as CO2 laser skin resurfacing and laser hair removal. That’s because the amount of melanin in darker skin can absorb more light during a laser session. Be sure to discuss the risks of laser treatments with your medical professional.
Microdermabrasion is a type of professional skin exfoliation treatment that can improve the appearance of anything from acne scars to fine lines and wrinkles. Microdermabrasion works by exfoliating the outer layers of the skin – AKA the epidermis. But because tattoo ink particles sit in the dermis layer of the skin, the exfoliation must go deeper in order to remove tattoos.
That’s what dermabrasion is. It’s basically a more aggressive and invasive type of exfoliation that goes down to the dermis layer of the skin. Dermabrasion is far more painful than microdermabrasion, so patients typically receive a local anesthetic.
Chemical peels are very similar to microdermabrasion treatments in that it removes the top layers of skin. Instead of using exfoliation devices, though, medical professionals use a chemical solution to remove the top layers of skin.
There are three types of chemical peels: light, medium, and deep. The light peel is the least painful and invasive, and improves the appearance of surface level skin concerns like fine lines. Meanwhile, the deep peel is the most painful and invasive, and removes the top layers of skin down to the dermis. Deep chemical peels are ideal to get tattoos completely removed.
A surgical excision entails surgically removing the patch of skin that has the tattoo. The surgeon will then stitch up the remaining skin and send the patient home. Surgical excision is only recommended for people with small tattoos, not large ones, because it does leave scarring. If a surgeon performed a surgical excision on a large tattoo, not only would the patient be in serious pain during the healing process, but also they would have a large and noticeable scar.
Tattoo Removal Creams
The last (and least effective) tattoo removal method are tattoo removal creams. Tattoo removal creams are an inexpensive way to potentially remove (or fade) smaller tattoos at home. These creams contain harsh chemicals which are meant to damage the upper layers of skin and break up the tattoo ink particles.
However, most removal creams aren’t effective in removing tattoos at all. That’s because, as previously stated, tattoo ink lies in the dermis layer of the skin and these creams aren’t strong enough to remove the epidermis. At most, these creams may cause serious skin irritation, skin discoloration, scarring, and tattoo fading. It’s always best to invest in sanitary, safe, and effective tattoo removal in a clinical setting so that you don’t risk permanently damaging your skin.
How Many Tattoo Removal Sessions Will I Need?
You will likely need more than one session to remove tattoos depending on the size, coloring, and location of the body art. This is because – in the case of laser tattoo removal – it takes time for the immune system to get rid of the broken up ink particles. Additionally, all removal procedures are rough on the skin, so patients need time to heal in between sessions.
Some ink colors respond to laser tattoo removal better than others. For example, black and blue ink colors respond well to laser treatment because they absorb the most light. So getting blue or black ink removed may take less sessions than getting red ink removed, for example.
Large tattoos require more treatments than small tattoos. If you have a large tattoo, Dr. Daneshmand may recommend 8 to 10 laser removal treatments. Meanwhile, if you have a small tattoo, you may only need 5 to 7 laser removal treatments. During your first appointment at our Bakersfield Med Spa, Dr. Daneshmand will examine your tattooed skin and give you an individualized treatment plan.
Does Tattoo Removal Hurt?
The answer to this question depends on your personal pain tolerance level and which type of removal procedure you choose. Many people say that laser tattoo removal feels the same – or similar – to actually getting a tattoo. Others say that the pain level is similar to snapping a rubber band on your skin. If you’re worried about pain, you could always ask your medical provider for a numbing cream which will help a lot.
Some removal procedures – like deep chemical peels, dermabrasion, or surgical excision – are quite painful no matter what your tolerance level is. So most plastic surgeons or dermatologists will give their patients a local anesthetic during the procedure to minimize discomfort.
How To Care for Skin After Tattoo Removal
Your plastic surgeon or dermatologist will give you specific instructions about tattoo removal aftercare. Generally, patients are told to avoid sun exposure, makeup, and scented lotions on the treated area for at least a few days. You may also have to apply an antibacterial ointment or an antibiotic ointment once or twice a day during the healing process. To manage pain and discomfort, you can use an ice pack on the treated area. You may also be able to take NSAIDs.
Risks and Side Effects of Tattoo Removal
Just like any cosmetic procedure, tattoo removal procedures come with their own set of risks and side effects. Patients may experience the following side effects:
- Skin irritation
- An allergic reaction on the skin
- Skin discoloration
- A permanent scar
- Pain or tenderness
- A tattoo that doesn’t completely go away
How Much Does Tattoo Removal Cost?
Each removal procedure is differently priced. Additionally, it’s important to realize that price is going to vary significantly depending on your geographical location, your healthcare provider’s experience level, the size and color of your tattoo, and how many treatments you need to achieve your desired results. It’s also important to realize that most cosmetic procedures are considered “elective procedures,” which means that health insurance likely won’t provide coverage.
According to RealSelf – a site where plastic surgery patients discuss their results and experiences – the average cost of laser tattoo removal is $1,175, the average cost of dermabrasion is $2,553, and the average cost of a chemical peel is $320. Be sure to schedule an appointment at the Med Spa at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute to learn about our treatment costs.
Call the Med Spa at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute Today
If you have one or more older tattoos that you’re not proud of, let this be your sign that it’s time to undergo the removal process. The Med Spa at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute offers a variety of removal procedures – including the most popular: laser tattoo removal. Call 949-359-8397 to schedule an appointment at our clinic today.