The history of tattoo removal is basically as old as tattoos themselves. For centuries, folks have tried many crude and painful methods to remove a tattoo. Some of these methods are still in use today and we believe it’s important to ensure our clients are informed on the details and risks involved.
The oldest tattoo removal method still in use today is Salabrasion. It consists of the abrasion of the epidermis and dermis with a salt-based solution. Dermabrasion is very similar except it uses a mechanical method that consists of the abrasion of the epidermis and dermis with a rotating mechanical instrument. Salabrasion and dermabrasion are very painful and cause visible long-term damage to the epidermis.
Skin excision refers to the surgical removal of the tattooed skin. This method leaves a scar, which size may vary depending on the size of the tattoo. Excision can be an ok method for small tattoos, but is somewhat difficult or impossible for larger areas. Skin grafts can also be performed with skin excision.
Subcutaneous injections of glycolic acid-based solutions or other liquid solutions involve injecting these solutions under the skin, so that they may affect the ink of the tattoo. These solutions often have an effect on the epidermis and dermis and may leave long-term scars or burn-like marks. Moreover, the effectiveness of this method is not consistently proven, since the mixture ink-solution cannot easily be expelled from the dermis to the epidermis.
A tattoo removal cream may be attractive due to its low cost and perceived ease of use. However, it is extremely difficult to remove ink from the dermis with a cream regardless of type (peeling, TCA, or other). In best-case scenarios, they may superficially fade inks located in the epidermis.
If you have already attempted to remove your tattoo with a laser and the tattoo is still there, don’t fret. The MEDermis team is highly experienced in treating clients with past types of removal that may have damaged or scarred the skin. We can remove any visible ink left and in some cases we are able to reduce the scar tissue with the laser itself and by applying a microdermabrasion treatment to help the skin reproduce the collagen.