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Tattoo removal is the removal of tattoos from the skin of the body. What once seemed like a good idea at that time may leave one in regret once the tattoo is completed, especially those in plain sight that cannot be hidden by our clothing.
For those who are afraid of scarring, there is good news because the new technology lasers are able to remove tattoos with minimal side effects. In fact, tattoo removal is a common procedure as many people turn to lasers to remove their now unwanted tattoos.
What are the methods of tattoo removal?
Since tattoos are done on the surface of the skin, there are a few ways to remove them. There is surgical incision, dermabrasion and also the most common method of laser tattoo removal. Let us explore the various methods:
1. Surgical Excision
Surgical excision is an invasive option for tattoo removal. The surgeon will use a scalpel to remove a tattoo, and close the wound using stitches. This method is especially effective for small tattoos because it enables removal with great precision, while it is not suitable for larger tattoos due to it’s large size.
Some of the side effects include scarring, infection, skin discoloration and even a raised or thickened scar called a keloid.
Dermabrasion for tattoo removal is under the umbrella of skin resurfacing as it removes the outer layers of the skin. This method will utilise a hand held device to “sand” out the surface and middle level of our skin, uncovering new and unblemished skin in it’s position.
Some of the side effects include swelling and bleeding, changes in skin color as well as scarring if the procedure is performed too deep into the skin.
3. Laser tattoo removal
This method uses laser therapy to remove the tattoo. Since this is the most common removal method, refer below for a more in depth explanation of how it works.
How does laser tattoo removal works?
Laser tattoo removal works by using high intensity laser beams to break the color pigments of the tattoo. The ink will be disrupted by the laser and break up.
Of all the colors, black tattoo pigment is the easiest to treat as it is able to absorb all laser wavelength. Other colors will be able to be treated by selected lasers based upon the tattoo pigment color. Therefore different lasers of different settings are required for different color pigment.
Laser tattoo removal is the most common treatment method as the laser will selectively target the pigment in the skin without damaging surrounding tissue, which means the possibility of scarring decreases greatly. Because of this, it will require multiple treatments to remove the tattoo completely.
This method is an outpatient procedure, and is considered safer than other treatment options. Side effects include skin discoloration, scarring, lack of complete pigment removal and also keloid scarring if the laser enters too deep.
How do I look for a suitable doctor for Tattoo Removal?
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