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Tattoo Removal Methods: An Overview

By HERWriter
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Your tattoo may have seemed like just the thing to have at one point but according to Howstuffworks.com, about 50 percent of people who get tattoos later regret them. There are various reasons why you might want a tattoo removed.

You may have a chance to get a really good job but that tattoo on your hand or neck is getting in the way. Perhaps you had a sweetheart’s name blazed on your skin but that relationship is long over and your new love doesn’t want to see the reminder of another. If you have a gang-related tattoo, you may want to dissociate yourself with that group and move on in your life.

Choices for tattoo removal are few. Some methods can be costly and painful while others may not work at all:

- Laser removal is the most common method used for tattoo removal. Darker tattoos are the easiest ones to treat because the darker color absorbs more of the laser light so is removed more readily.

Laser tattoo removal will require at least two to four sessions depending on the size of the tattoo and how deep the pigment has penetrated the skin. The cost will be $225 to $850 a session, according to the tattoo removal center.

Laser tattoo removal can be painful. People report the sensation is like being splattered with hot grease or snapped with a rubber band.

- Intense pulsed light therapy (IPL) is a newer method and uses another form of high intensity light, instead of laser light, delivered in bursts. Longer duration bursts of light are used for larger tattoos and short bursts for smaller ones.

IPL therapy has been reported to be less painful and may not need as many sessions as laser tattoo removal but the price tag is heftier -- $10 per a pulse. IPL is also not recommended for those with darker skin due to risk of skin discoloration.

Older methods:

These methods were more commonly tried before laser removal became the preferred choice. They are no longer used unless laser therapy is not an option.

- Dermabrasion is a method that “sands” the skin to remove the appearance of the tattoo. This method works best for tattoos that are not deeply injected and do not have darkly colored ink.

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EmpowHER Guest

If a tattoo is holding you back from getting a job you want or keeps you from attaining goals you have set for yourself, a little pain and scarring may be worth it to you.

July 3, 2012 - 7:27am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.