Tattoo Removal: The Risks

by Beth Munoz

Posted on Monday 20th of October 2008


If you were to pay attention to the current popular culture trends, you would notice that body art is really in demand. There are magazines, shops, and even television shows devoted to the topic. While body art is indeed impressive and a very personal thing, there are still some people who are no longer happy with how their body art fits in with their lives.

So, those who are dissatisfied start considering the possibility of having a tattoo removal procedure done. There are many reasons why a person might want to have tattoo removal. First of all, those who have the name of an ex boyfriend or girlfriend on their body definitely don't want that to stay. Or, there are people who got a tattoo that faded over time, and would rather have tattoo removal done on it than have it re-inked.

The tattoo removal process starts with a consultation with a dermatologist who is certified to perform the tattoo removal procedure. Is the tattoo large? If so, then the removal will take longer than it would have if the tattoo was smaller. Is the tattoo old or new? The newer the tattoo is, the easier it will be to remove.

Then, there is the overall condition of the tattoo. If the patient is the kind of person who likes to stay out in the sun for long periods of time, then the chances are good that their tattoo is significantly faded. You might think that such a tattoo would be easy to remove, but the reality is that it will actually be harder to get rid of, because the pigment has dispersed throughout the skin tissue.

Additionally, the overall success of the procedure is based upon how skillfully the tattoo was applied in the first place. If the tattoo artist applied the ink evenly, then the tattoo will be much easier to get rid of than a tattoo which has ink unevenly distributed.

There are two main ways that a tattoo can be removed. The first, and most prevalent way, is to have the tattoo removed with laser tattoo removal. Basically, this means that the laser light penetrates the upper layers of the epidermis, which is where the tattoo ink resides. The ink is finely dispersed and evaporated by the intense light over a period of a few months.

The second method is a more controversial method, and is called TCA. In this method, a clear chemical is placed over the area where the tattoo is. The goal of the chemical is to basically eat away the upper epidermal layer gradually, until the tattoo is gone. Now, obviously, this is a very dangerous procedure, and it can lead to extensive scarring and allergic reactions.

No matter which of these two methods is chosen, it is very important to be aware of the risks. First of all, while a local anesthetic will be applied during each session (it will take a few sessions, by the way) it will still be painful. Those who have had the procedure done describe it as small pulses of burns. All of this is enough reason to think twice about getting a tattoo in the first place!



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