How hard is it to actually remove a Tattoo?

Understanding Tattoos
Understanding the basics about a tattoo is important. Getting a tattoo on the spur of the moment or because it is attractive or because of an emotional moment, to have one may be a good reason. However, inevitably many people, as years and time pass by, regret that whimsical urge. Everybody knows that Tattoos are body artworks and it is printed on to the skin using tattoo inks. It is also widely known that though permanent tattoos imply permanency, it is not necessarily so. Even permanent tattoos can be erased over a period of time. How hard is it to actually remove a tattoo, well that depends on many factors, like the ink used, the time you have to remove a tattoo, the cost factor, the technique used, the expertise of the esthetician and so on.

Tattoo Inks

Tattoos are imprinted on to your skin using different colored inks. So, it is all in the ink and how fast the dye is. The tattoo ink basically has two components – pigment bases and carriers. Pigment bases comprise heavy metals that give you the color component like mercury (red), lead (yellow, green, white), cadmium (red, orange, yellow), nickel (black), zinc (yellow, white), chromium (green), cobalt (blue), aluminum (green, violet), titanium (white), copper (blue, green), iron (brown, red, black), and barium (white).

Carriers act as solvents for the pigments, to carry the ink from the point of the needle on to your skin surface and helps the chemicals to permeate into your blood stream. A typical carrier used is ethyl alcohol or water.

Options available to Remove Tattoos

Laser Therapy

This technique uses pulses of light at a very high concentration to remove the tattoo. The degree of pain is equivalent to a rubber band being snapped against your skin.

Intense Pulse Light Therapy

In this procedure light is sent through a prism that is placed upon the skin; the light penetrates the skin and this effect causes the removal of the ink and thereby the tattoo vanishes. It is an efficient and less painful method but very expensive, in comparison to the Laser Therapy


Involves a surgical, invasive procedure which requires a local anesthesia. This procedure could involve the removing of the top to the deeper layers of the epidermis and could possibly extend into the reticular dermis as well, depending on the depth to which the tattoo ink has sunk. Minor skin bleeding can occur and this procedure does carry the risk of scarring, skin discoloration, infections and cold sores. Depending on the level of skin removal with Dermabrasion, it takes an average of 7–30 days for the skin to fully heal.

Other Medical Methods

Another medical method used only in extreme cases where laser surgery is not effective, is excision, where the tattoo is cut away and the skin sewn back together. This method has been known to cause much damage to the skin and results in severe scarring.

Do-It-Yourself Creams

According to research, both TatBGone and Tattoo-OFF have shown significant fading of the tattoos without any pain or damage to the skin, but these creams have not been known to completely remove the unwanted tattoo.

Cryosurgery and chemical peels

In Cryosurgery the tattoo is frozen and is then burnt off with liquid nitrogen. Chemical peels on the other hand are applied to the skin where the tattoo is; the peel causes the skin to blister and subsequently peels off.

Homemade Remedies such as Salt

Not a very professional way to remove your tattoo but then this is a home remedy and has proved to be known to work. This method is called Sal abrasion.