April 17, 2024

11 things you need to know about tattoo removal

Hindsight, as the saying goes, is a great thing. With it, you certainly wouldn’t need to invest in tattoo removal because you already knew your love affair with that new inking would eventually sour.

It’s only natural that circumstances and tastes change. While the hope is that we’ll love our tattoos forever, sometimes designs that seemed like a good idea at the time can end up feeling out of touch with who we are a few years down the line.

Wiping the slate clean, however, isn’t as easy as etching the tattoo onto your skin in the first place. There is no magic cream or special scrub you can use to remove a tattoo. And while, normally, your immune system works to remove foreign particles from your body, ink particles are too large, which is why they’re permanent.

The best option is laser tattoo removal, which breaks down these ink particles into smaller pieces that your immune system can actually remove from your body. But it can be a time-consuming, not to mention costly, procedure. Here’s everything you need to consider before undergoing the process.

1. Visit a doctor, dermatologist or tattoo removal specialist

As with any cosmetic or medical treatment, it’s crucial to seek out a reputable professional if you want the best possible results and to reduce the risk of possible scarring and infection.

2. You may experience some pain

When it comes to the procedure itself, ‘Is tattoo removal painful? ’ remains one of the most Googled questions. The easy answer is: maybe, depending on your pain threshold. «The procedure does come with some degree of pain; the stinging sensation could be compared to the flicking of an elastic band against the skin,» says Dr Rekha Tailor, an aesthetic doctor at Health & Aesthetics Clinic.

One GLAMOUR staffer did admit it “felt more painful than getting the tattoo done. » She gave it a 9 out of 10 on the pain scale and noted that it becomes more painful as the sessions go on. “It’s unbelievably painful during the treatment. After the treatment, it’s like caring for a really bad sunburn (there’s blisters, swelling and bruising). The more the tattoo fades, the worst the next treatment will be because the laser is essentially blasting new skin. ”

It depends on where it is on your body though, she said. Hers was a large tattoo on the inside of her upper arm which can be quite a sensitive area. The best advice? Take your headphones or a book for a distraction and sit very still.

3. It can take months, if not years, to remove a tattoo

Tattoo removal can be a frustratingly slow process and will vary from person to person. «The age of the tattoo, skin tone, size of the tattoo, ink depth, intricacy of design and type of pigment used are all factors that will contribute to your treatment timeline,» says Dr Rekha.  «You may need between 6-20 sessions at intervals of 8-10 weeks. »

4. Certain colours of ink are easier to remove

Leading tattoo removal expert, Lorena Öberg, says in her experience, older ink is usually easier to remove, but colours can be challenging. «Generally speaking, the easiest colours to remove are black, brown, dark blue and green,» she says. «The most difficult to remove are red, orange, yellow and pale blue. «

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