Top 5 Tattoo Removal Options & Alternatives

The conversation around tattoo removal is pretty straightforward – yes, you have some tattoo removal options, but many are unsafe and can cause more trouble for you down the line. While laser tattoo removal is the safest and most effective way to get rid of a tattoo, we understand that these situations can make people desperate.

Whether you regret old ink, you have to erase a tattoo for a career change, or you simply want to make space for a new tattoo, there are many factors you should consider. We’ve been in the business for 15 years, and during this time, we’ve encountered patients that have tried nearly everything before learning about the capability of laser removal.

In an effort to help you protect your skin and save you time, money, and frustration, we’re going to hit on the top five tattoo removal options and walk you through some alternatives. 

Are you looking to erase some ink? Here’s what you need to know about the tattoo removal process.

Tattoo Removal Methods

Most of us know that tattoos have been around for centuries, but just as long as people have been tattooing, there have been just as many having tattoos removed. While some early removal methods were concerning, new laser tattoo removal technology has allowed the process to become safer and more effective.

Over a decade ago, there were very different tattoo removal methods that were popular, like infrared treatments. We still have patients come in that are hoping to clean up the damage caused by the other treatments they’ve tried over the years. In particular, we still get a lot of patients who attempted infrared tattoo removal in the past and encountered side effects, like burning, infections, and extended recovery times. This treatment looked like someone had applied a cigarette multiple times to the tattoo.

We don’t tell you these stories to scare you, but to warn you of the real danger in choosing the wrong tattoo removal method. 

Although things have changed over the years, there are still some common tattoo removal practices that are dangerous. Here are a few and what you should know about them.

  1. Surgical Removal: This method, also known as skin excision, is pretty straightforward. It involves surgically removing the skin with the tattoo on it. This method isn’t the worst idea but is only safe for smaller tattoos, as this practice can leave a scar depending on the size and location of the tattoo. Surgical excision will require the use of dressings to protect the wound after removal.
  2. Tattoo Removal Creams: One of the most popular methods people try first is a tattoo removal cream. Thanks to its low cost and belief to be a simple process, many people order a cream online and hope for the best. However, it is extremely unlikely and difficult that cream will be able to reach the dermis and remove ink particles of a tattoo. At best, they may be able to superficially fade inks located in the epidermis. For those with sensitive skin or skin conditions, creams can cause burning, irritation, and lead to a change in skin texture.
  3. Saline Tattoos: One of the old-school tattoo removal methods is the process of tattooing saline solution into the area where a tattoo is. While it’s natural and mostly safe, it is not as effective as other tattoo removal processes. Generally, this is best for older tattoos and more effective for people seeking to fade for a coverup rather than complete removal. Additionally, many tattoo artists have argued over the best technique for this method, making it difficult to find an experienced artist.
  4. Dermabrasion: Without a doubt, the most painful and possible dangerous tattoo removal method out there that people still use is dermabrasion, aka a deep exfoliation. Imagine taking sandpaper to your skin that is essentially the process. Dermabrasion will remove the top layer, and the dermis layer of the skin requires multiple treatments and leaves skin raw and at risk of infection. The final result will likely be an unsightly scar that is less appealing than the tattoo trying to be removed.
  5. Acid Peels: There are various acid peels like TCA peels, glycolic acid peels, and acid injections that fade tattoos by dissolving layers of the skin. The chemicals in this tattoo removal method can have serious and lasting side effects, much like tattoo removal creams. This method is particularly dangerous because it can be bought online and applied without a professional’s guidance. It’s not uncommon for users to suffer from chemical burns or permanent scarring.

 As you can see, the above list is pretty startling. These five common tattoo removal methods all have varying degrees of risk and don’t usually deliver the results most people are looking for.

The Most Effective Tattoo Removal Method

If you’re seeking real results, getting laser treatments by an experienced professional is your best bet. Laser treatments target ink particles in the skin and cause them to break up into smaller particles that your body’s immune system will dispose of.

When done with the right equipment, and by a trained expert, you can get the results you’re after without any side effects. Unfortunately, we’ve found that people generally go for the quickest and cheapest option to remove their tattoo. You will get what you pay for, and cheap/fast removal will give you cheap/bad results.

When it comes to protecting your skin, it’s worth the wait! Our team of Certified Licensed Laser Technicians will walk you through the entire process, with your safety as the top priority.

Call the Tattoo Removal Specialists Today!Have questions about how laser tattoo removal works? Or are you ready to schedule your FREE consultation? Get in touch with MEDermis Laser Clinic today by calling our Austin clinic at 512-637-5277, the San Antonio clinic at 210-402-4030, or by filling out our online contact form.