There is only one way to completely remove a tattoo without a trace: using very specialized lasers.
Despite this, inferior tattoo removal methods are everywhere these days, many can even be purchased on Amazon. If you’re thinking about any form of do-it-yourself tattoo removal, or thinking about having a tattoo removed with methods other than the most advanced laser technology, you need to know what happens with each of these, and why you need to think twice before trying them out.
Tattoo creams: There are so many of these, there simply isn’t room to list them all. But the verdict is in on all of them:
There’s no evidence that tattoo removal creams work. At best, tattoo removal cream might fade or lighten a tattoo. The tattoo will remain visible, however, and skin irritation and other reactions are possible…If you’re interested in tattoo removal, don’t attempt it on your own.
— Dr. Lawrence E. Gibson, Mayo Clinic
Acid Removal: There are quite a few acids that have been tried for tattoo removals, and none have found the success that they tend to spout.
- Lactic acid: “Lactic acid based erasers are risky,” says one study, citing “depigmentation” of the skin around the tattoo and hypertrophic scarring.
- Trichloroacetic acid: TCA can be easily purchased, but has the ability to create horrendous chemical burning and subsequent scarring. Warning–disturbing photograph here, don’t select the link if you’re squeamish. TCA is dangerous, and skin grafts have been necessary in some cases to repair damage done.
Cryotherapy: If you’ve ever had a wart “frozen” off at the doctor’s office, that was cryotherapy–there are a number of substances, like liquid nitrogen, that can be used. Some of the many dangers of cryotherapy to remove a tattoo are danger to the surrounding skin, massive scarring, discoloration/bleaching of the area frozen, and possible permanent numbness in and around the site. It’s also often ineffective, as the cryotherapy tends to only freeze off the top layer of skin, while tattoo ink remains in the deeper layers.
Excision: Excision is literally removal of a tattoo by cutting and removing the tattooed area of skin by a surgeon. This method has a number of hazards, topmost being scarring of the skin. Tattoos in an area with little extra skin to use to cover the removed area will require a series of surgeries, and no excision can be accomplished without leaving a surgical scar.
Rejuvi: This treatment consists of literally tattooing the chemicals they use into the skin. If you see citations to a study done that showed high percentage rates of success, please note the study was done by the founder of the company that supplies the chemical. Hypertrophic scarring is just one of the many possible negative results of this method.
Dermabrasion: This is essentially the equivalent to having your skin sanded off with a Dremel. It can leave tremendous scars. According to the Mayo Clinic website:
Due to unpredictable results and poorer outcomes than laser … dermabrasion is less commonly done today.
Salabrasion: Salabrasion is essentially dermabrasion with salt–it can leave skin thickened and scarred, as well as leaving the tattoo itself essentially untouched.
Salabrasion is a crude variation of the medical procedure, dermabrasion. Salt is used to abrade the skin. The depth of injury cannot be easily controlled and a scar is the expected outcome. The scar tissue will likely obscure to an extent the underlying tattoo. Most physicians do not consider this crude procedure safe, nor is it’s use by a physician typical.
— Dr. Christopher Dannaker, Monterey Dermatologic Surgeon
Bogus tattoo removal products are much like the weight loss industry’s scams and unsupported claims for so many products. There are simply a lot of ineffective and even dangerous “solutions” out there, which simply cost you money without getting the results you want. And, unfortunately, their side effects can literally scar you for life.
Laser treatment for removing tattoos is the gold standard, and remains the safest, most effective process on the market today — and we just so happen to have the best technology that money can buy.
At Eraser Clinic we are the tattoo removal experts. We offer free consultations and will happily answer any questions you may have about laser tattoo removal. So book your Free Consultation with us today at our locations in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston!