It seemed to you like a fantastic idea at the time. It was supposed to commemorate a milestone in your life, your significant other, a relationship with your best friend or you simply wanted to get it for a laugh. Who would have thought it will become such a burden!
Sure, you got it for yourself and who cares if others like it or not – but what happens if you’re the one who starts hating that thing the most?
I DIDN’T MAKE A MISTAKE, I HAVE JUST EVOLVED IN LIFE….
Before deciding on a tattoo, we assume one takes into consideration reliable and talented artists; however, over 75% of our clients seeking to remove their ink stated that it’s not the low quality of the work that made them dislike the tattoo so much, but rather that they’ve outgrown the life phase represented by it. One hasty decision can lead to body awareness that affects almost every aspect of your life – and having to look at something on your skin you started hating, usually, intensifies everything you think is bad. We were confronted with emotions of regret and confusion to such an extent that providing understanding and comfort besides our expertise in physical tattoo removal became more or less an everyday job.
TWO VERY DIFFERENT TATTOO REMOVAL STORIES…
Take our client, we’ll call her Anne – who struggled to advance up the corporate ladder because of her lotus blossom tattoo on the nape of her neck, in beautiful shades of green and white. “I would never have thought I’d need to be so cautious about sharing my body art in the 21st century – that’s why I didn’t hesitate in getting some after graduating from college. Approximately one year after getting my ink I went for a job interview in a mid-sized law firm and yes, I wore a turtleneck, because I wanted the interviewer to focus on my qualifications and not my appearance. When you look non-conventional and you work in a conservative environment, you expect to be frowned upon from time to time. But in my case, what actually started hurting was when I realized that my ink was speaking before I did. Every day I was facing irritating questions, like “Oh, is that thing on your neck permanent?”, “You got that when you were drunk, eh?” After 6 months of small tasks and constant, vague attempts at proving I’m capable of more, I accepted that my options had narrowed to two – get rid of it or change career. And this is something I’d say to anyone thinking of getting a tattoo in a visible place – do not expect a company policy/culture to change for you, no matter how smart or good an employee you are. I loved the sensation of individualism the tattoo gave me, but another big part of my identity was my passion for my work – and the lotus on my neck was preventing my true ambition from blossoming. Eventually, I opted to keep the parts that could be kept covered under a shirt, making a compromise that worked for both the rebellious and ambitious sides of my personality. I was glad that in the end, I did it for myself because just like getting a tattoo, it should be a personal decision.”
Most people believe they’ll love their tattoo for the rest of their lives, and no one expects it might infringe upon your life so much. Think of an ink that’s forcing you into conversations you never wanted to have. Our client Matt’s sleeve artwork fitted great in the workout industry, but as it contained a name different to his fiancée’s, it served as an intro to a whole bunch of overly personal questions asked by… well, everyone who worked with him. “The funny thing is that my fiancée wasn’t so bothered – she saw my previous marriage as part of who I was, and she loved me for what I was. And here I was making explanations to everyone but her. I was sick of the womanizer status, sparking teasing or disgust depending on the observer (I was the guy who wouldn’t remove his ex’s name for the sake of his future wife). The truth was, I was thinking of covering it, but it blended so well with some of the surrounding art that I stopped noticing it. My fiancée and I made the decision of removal together, not because of the ‘troublesome past’ it represented, but because of my stress, having to deal with everyone sticking their nose into my past, as it stood there staring openly into their faces.”
Whatever the story behind a removal, we do speak to the client about it, because this process requires dedication. So far, we haven’t experienced cases of where the client aborted the removal process, although it sometimes happens that the client opts for a partial removal because they decided they want a cover-up instead of clear skin again.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS FOR TATTOO REMOVAL?
HOW TO GET THE BALL ROLLING. Research, research, research. Once you get to the ‘I want this off my skin – asap’ phase, take a deep breath and start googling. What are my options? How is it best done safely? How long will it take? How much will it cost? – you need to get informed as going for the quickest, easiest and cheapest solution will almost certainly mean one thing – more regret! We know you desperately want your skin back, many have been there and it’s a horrible place, but trust us, patience and discipline will be your best pals on this journey.
THANK YOU, I’LL DO IT MYSELF. Are you sure? Well here are your options and what you get with them:
- A DIY removal with acid: TCA or trichloroacetic acid is sold as a chemical skin-peeling, bleaching agent in at-home removal kits, and could somewhat lighten the appearance of the tattoo. However, it’s acid and acid means potentially severe, irreparable tissue damage. While this is a cheaper alternative to professional tattoo removal, the effects will be minimal at best.
- Rubbing salt on your tattoo: Salabrasion is the term for rubbing a salt solution onto your skin, thereby heating it, and scraping the top layers of skin away. In theory, this would rub the tattoo off; in practice, this leads to very visible scarring and can be detrimental to sensitive skin.
- Fading creams: As the tattoo-regret issue arises together with the inking industry, it seems the in-home kits have now made quite an offering of products. There are many creams and gels on the market that claim that by applying a gel for just 5 minutes a day, in a few short weeks you will be left clear-skinned and with not too great a strain on your wallet. As this method might not be as aggressive to skin as acid, the truth is, using a tattoo fading gel hasn’t been confirmed to work nor is it actually inexpensive. With over $50 per tube and probably months of daily usage, will it be worth the investment, for some questionable final results?
I’LL GO WITH THE PRO. Here’s what’s out there:
- In this procedure, your skin will get sprayed with a numbing solution and then sanded down to reveal the unblemished layers of skin underneath the tattoo, which should allow the tattoo ink to leach out of the deeper skin layers. It is what it sounds like – peeling the skin off and attempting to dig out the ink. Local anesthetic is a must, as this procedure is usually painful and followed by bleeding. In addition, this method will set you back upwards of $1000 depending on the size of your tattoo. Bear in mind however, that your skin might be left with incomplete removal (an image of an old tattoo – referred as the ghost tattoo), altered skin tone in the treated area as well as scarring.
- Surgery: If your tattoo is not big, you may be able to actually remove it together with the skin. Yikes. Yes, cutting off tattooed skin and stitching the edges together, forming a scar.
- Cryosurgery and chemical peel: Both sound like methods of torture from a SF movie… and that’s not far from the truth. In cryosurgery, the tattoo gets frozen and burned off with liquid nitrogen. Chemical peels get applied to the skin, causing it to blister, and later peel off together with your unwanted ink. Both are aggressive and not as effective as laser treatments.
- INJECTION SOLUTION: This method has been marketed as an all-natural, effective and safe way to remove the ink without the use of laser by breaking down what they refer to as “microphagae” cells that “encapsulate the ink particles, keeping them in place”. The patient is injected with a chemical at the tattoo site, which causes the cells to die and reject the ink. The manufacturers of this solution use a form of lacid acid, which is naturally produced in the human body. We’ll second that, but add that it’s not the lacid acid the body produced that they are using – and we ask: what kind of stuff is in these injections? Synthetic lacid acid? Commercially available lactic acid which is derived from fermented milk? For this method, our attitude is clear: do yourself a favor and stay away from cheap gimmicky solutions.
While claiming they’ll get rid of all colors and hues with just one painless treatment, where the chemical will “pull the ink out to the top” and the skin will then form a scab and get rid of it, real-life experiences have shown such side-effects that made people wish they’d just kept the unwanted tattoo instead. Not only can it scar you, the scabs will take months to heal, the swelling might last weeks and the treatment itself is painful. So please… Don’t. Go. Anywhere. Near. It.
- DERMABRASIONThe R20 METHOD – or RAPID 20-MINUTE METHOD. Opinions on the effectiveness of this – one of the first laser-type methods – vary. Some say it was and remained the most effective way of de-inking, as it does a laser pass every 20 minutes up to 4 times – thus packing 4 treatments into one visit. A 20-minute wait period is required because each pass of the laser produces very small nitrogen bubbles that look like frost on top of the tattoo. Our opinion? As beneficial as it is to save time and money by packing in 4 treatments at once, these rapid methods do not have any additional benefit in preventing pigmentation issues or scarring; in fact, they may be more likely increase these risks, because of additional tissue injury per session. This method is not recommended for people with darker skin tones as the aggressive approach is more likely to lead to hypopigmentation.
- TATTOO REMOVAL LASER: The most common & effective method of tattoo removal. It works by targeting the ink with pulses of highly concentrated light, breaking its cells into tiny fragments, which are then expelled from the body with the aid of your own immune system. It takes several treatments to fade the tattoo, depending on the size and type of the tattoo, colors used, your skin type etc. Note that although this the most effective and safest way of removal, at the moment there is no product on the market that can guarantee 100% removal. Experts in removal therapy claim that laser technology has advanced to the point where scarring, if it occurs, is minimal, and this varies depending on the proper conduction of the procedure as well as post-removal care.
Once you’ve decided if laser is the right choice for you, selecting the type of laser and professional to do the removal is the next milestone on your journey to getting your skin back.
If you are ready to take the next step, Call us Today to set up your NO COST Consultation.