Contemporary tattoos can have all sorts of meaning attached to them.
They may celebrate a milestone in your life, remind you of someone special, or maybe you just like the design.
Sometimes they are loved for life; in other cases, things change and they can be deeply regretted. The good news for those who may have a tattoo they wish to remove, is that today there is a safe, affordable and pain-free way to remove your tattoo.
Tattoos and tattoo removal in the past
People have been tattooing their bodies for around 5000 years, and for many civilisations they formed an important part of their culture. The history of tattoo removal also dates back many thousands of years – and during that time there has been many painful, dangerous and usually ineffective remedies performed on those wishing to remove their ink.
In ancient times there was some who thought garlic, lime, wine and even pigeon excrement would remove tattoo ink! There have also been some downright scary tattoo removal methods. These generally involved stripping the layers of the skin away,taking the tattoo with it. Some early descriptions of tattoo removal include one made by Aetius in c.500, who described a chemical procedure using turpentine and potassium nitrate. Another published record from 1928 suggested that burning the design with a hot iron was also effective – ouch!
More recent tattoo removal procedures
More recently common tattoo removal procedures included dermabrasion, cryosurgery and excision. Dermabrasion is a surgical procedure that removes the upper layers of the skin by wearing them away using medical tools that work in the similar way that sandpaper does. Not surprisingly this method is painful, requires a local anaesthetic and is likely to leave a scar.
Cryosurgery is often used for removing warts and moles, and this surgical procedure uses extreme cold (often liquid nitrogen) to destroy the skin tissue. Excision is probably the worst of these three – it involves a trained surgeon literally cutting the tattoo from the skin, and then stitching the wound up. Excision requires a local anaesthetic, is very painful, leaves a scar, requires an extended healing period and comes with the risk of many post-surgery complications.
Tattoo removal today
If that’s where your knowledge of laser tattoo removal ends, it’s fairly likely you would rather live with your unwanted tattoo than go through any of the above procedures! But thankfully there is now an alternative that is very effective, virtually painless and requires no surgery – laser tattoo removal.
It’s only been in the last couple of decades that lasers have been used to remove tattoos. Since the Q-switched laser became commercially available in the 1990s many physicians have been using it to effectively remove unwanted ink.
The Q-switched laser works by producing short pulses of intense light which target the tattoo pigment. This causes it to fragment into tiny pieces which are then cleared by the body’s immune system. The procedure takes place over multiple sessions, and the number required will depend on the colour, size and quality of the tattoo. The procedure is painless, requires only a topical anaesthetic (some people are fine without it) and requires minimal after treatment care.
Want to know more about laser tattoo removal?
If you’re curious to find out more, it’s best to speak to a qualified and accredited laser tattoo practitioner. They can talk you through the process in-depth and give you personalised advice on your skin type and tattoo.
So if you have a tattoo you regret, you now have an option available to remove it that’s clean, safe, convenient and affordable. With laser tattoo removal your unwanted tattoo can be gone for good in no time – and your tattoo regret will be nothing more than a distant memory.