Tattoo removal is not a new invention. In fact, it has been practiced for centuries. At one time, the treatments consisted of uses of urea with acetic acid. These took the form of applying either pigeon powder mixed with vinegar or potted foam mixed with vinegar. Cantharidine (Spanish fly), a skin irritant mixed with sulfur and oil was also used.
A treatment used in the fourth century begins with the application of saltpeter and turpentine directly to the tattoo, followed a week later by dotting or scrubbing the area with salt. This is followed by the re-use of the saltpeter and turpentine mixture, which then sits on the tattoo for 20 days. Ouch.
Centuries Later, Tattoo Removal is still a Grating Experience
What success achieved with any of these methods was obtained by irritation and then skin removal. This gave prolonged inflammation which encouraged the pigment to migrate to the surface. Scarring and skin staining of the skin was quite common, and removal of the tattoo was usually incomplete. Over time, drugs and instruments went more sophisticated. But until the laser began to be used in the 1990s, all tattooing techniques were more or less improvements and variations in the wear / inflammation method of yore. Dermabrasion, for example, uses either chemical agents (such as caustic acids or salt) or sandpaper to remove skin layers, down to and including the layer containing the tattoo pigment. This method has limited success because the tattoo color is often very deeply implanted in the skin, and a dermatologist can only go so far in removing the skin before actually starting to flay the patient. As is understandable, dermabrasion can cause severe and traumatic permanent scarring which may be worse than the original tattoo.
During a related process called microdermabrasion, layers of skin are sandblasted. It does not seem to be more successful or less painful than dermabrasion. Glycolic scales, while effective in rejuvenating skin, burn only the upper layer of glycolic acid and do not go deep enough to eliminate tattoos.
Current Tattoo Removal Methods
Slicing and dicing
Small tattoos can be surgically removed by staged excision; The surgeon cuts out the tattoo one section at a time. Permanent scarring results and the technique do not work well on "home-made" tattoos where the ink has usually been injected deeper into the skin than professional tattoos. (Laser surgery works with "home-made" tattoos because the ink used is unchanging and easily breaks up.) Larger tattoos can be surgically removed by a technique called tissue expansion. A balloon is placed under the meat and inflated. For some time, the skin extends slowly and the tattoo is cut out. The stretched skin is pulled over the excised area, and suturing leaves only a small, linear scar.
Laser Tattoo Removal:
"Solving" a tattoo with a laser is currently an optional method, although it requires months and possibly even sessions of between three or four weeks and rarely removes all of the pigment. The principle behind the process is that the tattoo pigment absorbs the intense pulses of laser light which then burst the pigment into smaller pieces. These pieces are more easily attacked and destroyed by the body's own defenses.
There is never any guarantee that a tattoo can be completely removed with a laser. The success depends on the size of the tattoo, how old it is, the pigments used, your immune system and a variety of other factors. Colors like turquoise, light green and yellow require more treatments than black ink, and when white (titanium oxide) has been used, the customer must wait for it to fade before the laser can be applied; Bleaching can take up to 10 years from the time the tattoo was created.
Tattoo Removal Costs: When it really starts to hurt
While the laser treatment is not as bad as getting poked with that tattoo needle, a greater pain comes with the medical bill you get. The removal of cosmetic tattoos is not covered by insurance, and the bill will probably be at least $ 1000. A maximum equivalent to a new car, depending on where you live and how complex the removal process is.
In some areas there are programs that will give teens free gang tattoo laser removal.
Yes, tattoos are a pain to get rid of. Why? For the same reason you got the tattoo in the first place instead of using a sticker - you wanted something permanent.