Decorative tattoos have a history dating back at least 5000 years. The desire to remove them has probably existed just as long! With the increased mainstream popularity of tattoos seen in recent years, issues of visible tattoos affecting employment status, sagging skin with aging altering the tattoo’s appeal, tattoos with iron oxide pigment affecting medical imaging studies (MRI) and interfering with medical care needs, and as always, ‘tattoo remorse’, tattoo removal is also increasingly widespread and prevalent. In recent years, safe and effective techniques are available to successfully remove most if not all unwanted tattoos.
Tattoos are created by piercing the skin at multiple points with a needle while delivering pigment, with the goal of creating a scar that traps the pigment (the tattoo) deep within the skin (the dermis). Non-surgical tattoo removal involves attacking the pigment to break it apart and allowing the body to slowly remove the pigment fragments. The scar created from the tattooing process will remain. Surgical tattoo treatment options remove both the tattoo's scar and the trapped pigment of the tattoo, but scarring from the surgical or dermabrasion site will result. For some, this may be a more acceptable scar than the tattoo and its scar.
Professionally applied tattoos penetrate the deeper layers of the skin at uniform levels, allowing use of techniques that apply broad areas of inked skin at the same depth. These tattoos often use large amounts of ink and can therefore be difficult to remove. Homemade tattoos are often applied with an uneven hand, thus they can vary in depth and show uneven placement of pigment. Those factors can make their removal more difficult as well. A traumatic tattoo can be caused by such things as pencil points, gunpowder, or firework injuries, and show variable depths as well.
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