Even though a lot of tattoos look great and have a story or memory behind them, a lot of them are wrong or poorly thought-out mistakes. Thanks to laser tattoo removal, anyone can get rid of words or pictures they don’t like or that make them feel bad.
But even though laser removal is the fastest, best, and most effective way to get rid of a tattoo, some people still choose to do it another way. Unfortunately, these don’t work as well and can be quite dangerous, leaving the person with harmful side effects that can last for a long time or even forever.
In this post, we want to tell you about the risks of tattoo removal methods that aren’t lasers, such as invasive and “do-it-yourself” methods.
Dermabrasion tattoo removal
Before laser tools came along, people went to great lengths to get rid of tattoos on their skin. One of these extreme methods was dermabrasion, which some people still do to try to get rid of their tattoos.
Dermabrasion is a procedure in which the skin is scraped or sanded down using a rough tool like a wire brush, diamond wheel, sterile sandpaper, salt crystals, or another mechanical tool. Most of the time, a local anaesthetic is needed for the operation because the patient will be in a lot of pain.
Even if the pain and idea of scraping your skin weren’t enough to put you off, dermabrasion can also leave scars, change the colour of your skin, cause bleeding, and lead to an illness. It can take months to heal properly, and even then, it might not do what was wanted.
Pain, burning, itching, pores that leak, bruising, swelling, scabbing, discoloration, bleeding, infection, and lasting scarring are all side effects.
What experts think
“Dermabrasion isn’t the best way to get rid of a tattoo. Tattoos can be removed with many different kinds of lasers. Look for a doctor who has good before-and-after pictures and all the lasers that can be used depending on the colour of the tattoo pigment.”
William Portuese is a plastic surgeon at Seattle Facial and has a medical degree.
Salabrasion tattoo removal
Salabrasion is a lot like dermabrasion, but instead of sandpaper, it uses water and small pieces of salt. The salty material is meant to rub and peel away the top layers of skin instead of using force.
After rubbing the area hard, an antibiotic ointment and a sterile gauze covering are put on it, and the whole process is done again in a few days. The area of dead skin where the salabrasion happened should start to separate from the healthy skin underneath, pulling the tattoo colour away at the same time – at least, that’s what it seems like will happen.
But, like dermabrasion, this method can be very painful, leave a scar, and could cause an illness. There is also a good chance that the process won’t go deep enough to reach the tattoo ink.
Pain, burning, weeping pores, itching, bruising, swelling, scabs, discoloration, bleeding, infection, and lasting scarring are some of the side effects.
What experts think
“Salabrasion is not a good way to get rid of a tattoo. It also has a high chance of leaving scars that can’t be lessened. Spreading ink inside the body and causing problems other than allergies (if you are immune to the ink) is just a guess. There has never been a proven case of cancer caused by getting or getting rid of a tattoo. I think you should get laser treatment, preferably with PicoSure.”
Phillip Bekhor is a dermatologist at Laser Dermatology in Melbourne. He has an MBBS and a FACD.
Surgical excision tattoo removal
If you thought dermabrasion and salabrasion were bad, you might not want to read about surgery excision, especially if you get sick easily. For this process, the surgeon uses a scalpel to cut off the tattoo and stitches to close the wound.
Yes, surgical removal is when a tattoo is cut out of your skin while you are sedated. Some people say this works for smaller tattoos and makes it easier to be precise, but the cut usually doesn’t go deep enough and may not get rid of all of the ink or colour.
On top of that, there are side effects like skin discoloration, infection, and raised or thickened scars, which don’t show up until three to six months after the operation and may last forever.surgical excision tattoo removal permanent scarsPain, bruising, swelling, discoloration, infection, and lasting scarring are some of the side effects.
“Excision will leave lasting scars, and dermabrasion will probably leave scars and loss of pigmentation that may not be able to be fixed. Laser treatment has improved a lot in the past year and is by far your best choice.”
Roy G. Geronemus, MD, is a dermatological surgeon at New York’s Laser & Skin Surgery Centre.
Acid tattoo removal
Some people use acid to get rid of their tattoos. Like a salt solution, acid causes a response and peels off the top layer of skin. But many health professionals highly advise against this method because the chemicals in the acids used are dangerous. The most popular ways to use acid are:
TCA Peel: TCA stands for TriChloroacetic Acid, and it will burn off the skin’s top layers. How many layers of skin are burned away depends on how long this chemical peel is left on the face. But a TCA peel will only lighten the skin and make it look like the tattoo is gone, when in reality the skin has just been bleached.
Glycolic Acid Peel: This is a mixture of lactic, tartaric, malic, and glycolic acids that can be done at home or by a physician. The method is supposed to make the skin red so that the body can get rid of the tattoo ink, but it doesn’t solve the real problem. So, it doesn’t work very well and could cause pain or scars. Also, a recent study showed that fluid lactic acid tattoo remover caused depigmentation and swollen scars.
Acid injections: In this invasive treatment, acid is put into the patient’s body with a needle that looks like a tattoo needle. This tries to get the ink out and to the surface. The ink comes out in scabs, and when the scabs fall off, they take the ink with them. But Dr. Jeannette Young, the chief health officer in Queensland, Australia, said, “My concern is that we have heard of some real problems because of it. There have been cases where people got illnesses, and there was also a chance that their skin colour would change.
Pain, burning, weeping sores, itching, bruises, swelling, scabs, discoloration, infection, and lasting scarring are some of the side effects.
What experts think
“The best way to get rid of a tattoo is with a laser. Chemical peels and other methods don’t get deep enough to remove the ink from the tattoo that is in the deeper dermal layer of the skin.
New York dermatologist Michele S. Green (MD)
Creams to get rid of tattoos
Getting rid of a tattoo quickly and without pain with a cream that you can make yourself is appealing to a lot of people. But the saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” is very true in this case.
Most of the time, these creams have chemicals like hydroquinone, kojic acid, alpha arbutin, and TCA in them. These chemicals are meant to break down the tattoo on your skin. Even though they might fade your tattoo a little, these creams can’t get to the dermis, which is where the ink is kept.