Tattoo Removal Methods

Tattoo removal is often more expensive than the initial tattoo application. This is because tattoo ink sits underneath the top layer of the skin, making it more difficult, and more expensive, to remove. There are a few common tattoo removal methods used for those looking to eliminate tattoos on their body, and the options include surgical removal, dermabrasion, and laser surgery.

Since the FDA does not approve other forms of tattoo removal like DIY ointments or online creams, it’s essential to talk to an informative professional about tattoo removal methods that are right for you. Read on to discover more about the professional types of tattoo removal methods.

Laser Tattoo Removal

One of the easiest and most popular tattoo removal methods, laser tattoo removal uses the wavelength of Q-switched lasers to break apart tattoo pigments. Tattoos are thousands of tiny pigments trapped under the first layer of your skin so the body can’t automatically absorb them. This is why tattoos are considered “permanent.” But once the pigments are dispersed, the immune system can absorb them once more.

Laser removal is the least painful type of tattoo removal since it’s non-invasive. Some patients request skin-numbing cream before or after the procedure to help deal with the bee sting-like removal process. Unlike the initial tattooing session, laser removal can take up to 10 sessions, with a six-week waiting period between each session, to remove the ink completely. This also depends on the size and color of the tattoo, as well as how the overall healing process progresses.  

The healing process for laser tattoo removal is fairly straightforward, as well. After the lasers do their job of breaking apart the ink pigments, your body will do the rest. The open wound left by the procedure should be regularly cleaned and dressed for up to five days while the immune system starts absorbing what’s left of the original ink.


An invasive-type of tattoo removal, dermabrasion is the process of removing the outer layer of your skin with a grinding method. This medical procedure’s goal is to remove the ink particles entirely by sanding them away. Anesthetic is also typically used during the procedure to combat the pain associated with this removal type.

Dermabrasion does have some similarities to laser tattoo removal. More than one session is often required for complete removal of the ink, but healing is known to take longer. Patients of dermabrasion will need to adequately take care of the open wound left by the procedure. A patient might have to wait two to three weeks to heal completely, says Mayo Clinic. Since scarring is likely, dermatologists recommend the help of a professional trained in the proper techniques of this method.


Surgical removal for tattoos has become the least popular removal method over time. Although an effective removal method, large tattoos are more likely to leave a bigger scar than smaller ones with this procedure. Surgical removal requires the use of local anesthetic, since the doctor uses a scalpel to cut away at the tattooed area. The skin is then stitched back together and healed using an antibacterial ointment.

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