For most us tattoos are a form of expressing their personalities. However, the things you identify with, in your teens may not be something you want to be associated with as you grow older. In some cases, a tattoo may not come out as you imagined it to be and this may leave you with a permanent adornment that you don’t like. Thankfully, though tattoos are permanent, it is possible to remove them. As with getting a tattoo in the first place, removing it is not as simple as it sounds and can be quite painful.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before opting to remove a tattoo.
- Complete removal is not guaranteed: Not all tattoos are the same, the deeper tattoo ink is injected into the skin, the harder it is to remove. In many cases, tattoo removal may leave behind a faint shadow of the tattoo or cause permanent scarring.
- How you got your tattoo made affects its removal: Professional tattoo artists have a steady hand and inject ink at the same depth, unlike amateurs who inject ink at varying depths. Thus removing a professional tattoo is easier than removing one made by an amateur.
- It is painful: As when getting a tattoo made, removing it is also painful. The amount of pain felt depends largely on the location of the tattoo. In the case of laser treatment, this can be described as the feeling of having an elastic band repeatedly strike the skin. You could ask for local anesthesia or a numbing cream to be applied before starting the procedure to reduce the pain.
- Multiple sessions are required: On an average 6-10 sessions are required to remove a tattoo. However, the actual number of sessions depends on a number of factors including the location of your tattoo, the number of colors in it etc. you will also need to wait at least 6 weeks between sessions to reduce the risk of side effects.
- There are side effects: Some of the side effects you may notice after a tattoo removal session are blistering of the skin, bleeding, redness or darkening of the skin and inflammation of the tattooed area. These are temporary and should subside in a few weeks. However, darkening or lightening of the skin can last for up to a year. Scarring, burns and textural changes to the skin are other potential side effects. These can often be permanent.