Statistics published in the “New York Times” in 2007 say that about 20 percent of tattooed Americans regretted getting that ink. If you have a tattoo that you no longer want, your best bet is a laser treatment to remove it.
You need to know that laser removal is expensive, painful and often time consuming, because your tattoo can rarely be removed in only one go. The cost is about 30-50 dollars per square inch.
How It Works
In a single treatment, laser energy passes through your skin, targeting a certain color of ink in the layers below. It causes the pigment to break down into smaller particles which are later disposed of by your body’s immune system. Since it targets one specific shade, designs in color will require multiple treatments to break down each pigment individually.
Does It Hurt?
The good news is, it probably won’t hurt more than getting the tattoo done. The bad news is, depending on your pain threshold, maybe getting it done hurt like hell. Most people who get laser tattoo removal say that it’s not real pain, but more of a burning sensation, like getting sprinkled with hot oil or boiling water. Depending on the size and location, you can ask for a local anesthetic in the form of a cream or injection.
Will My Tattoo Still Be Visible?
This also depends on the design itself, the colors and how deep the needle went in. Contrary to popular belief, darker tattoos will actually be easier to remove. The process will be in phases, removing one or two colors at a time, until there is only a “ghost” of a previous design.
What Can I Do To Remove It Completely?
My tattoo artist, who’s had some ink removed, says it’s best to remove the most obvious parts of it and then put another tattoo over it. If you have only some contouring left, think about another design that can go on top of it as a sort of optical illusion, so it will cover it and draw attention to a different part of it. Most people who’ve had text on them remove it partially and then cover it with a colorful picture. That way, you can only see parts of the original if you look really, really closely.
This is exactly why everybody tells you to carefully consider the design and placement of your future tattoo. Sure, that cartoon character will look awesome when you’re 18, a cool phrase may mark your feelings at a certain point in life, and it’s really cute that your boyfriend wants you to get matching tattoos for your two month anniversary. But think about years later, when you will have to explain why you have a Powerpuff Girl on your back or “YOLO” on your wrist. Not to mention explaining to a future partner who the hell James is or why you have his name tattooed on your butt. So think before you ink.
Cover photo: forum.smartcanucks.ca