Common Methods of Tattoo Removal

  • Updated September 18, 2022
  • by Honey Seida
Common Methods of Tattoo Removal

These days, tattooing on different parts of the body and face is more popular than ever among people of different age groups, but not all people who have tattoos are happy with their decision. For those of you who regret getting a tattoo, we have good news! There are tattoo removal techniques that can significantly reduce the visibility of your tattoo in any part of your body with minimal side effects. In this article, we are going to focus on common methods of tattoo removal and hopefully help you to pick the best.

Laser Tattoo Removal

People often ask, can a permanent tattoo be removed? The answer is yes. Laser tattoo removal is by far the most common way to do this. In laser tattoo removal rather than scrubbing the skin layer, the aim is to remove the ink. Ink pigments are broken down and destroyed by exposure to a high-intensity light beam.  
Black ink tattoos are easier to remove than multi-coloured tattoos. There are two types of laser tattoo removal methods, passive and active. The passive laser tattoo removal method is cheaper than the active method. However, the active laser removal method, although a bit expensive, is a more effective method of removing ink.

Tattoo removal lasers, also called Q-switch lasers, are extremely hot, operate in a very narrow frequency, and are very, very fast. This speed and heat is crucial to cracking the ink particles apart, without harming the surrounding tissue.This is of utmost importance when operating in more sensitive areas such as during the process of eyeliner or eyebrow tattoo removal.

Read more on Tattoo Removal with Laser


Also known as cryotherapy, this method of tattoo removal is more commonly used to remove warts and to treat skin cancer. However, today this treatment can also be used for effective tattoo removal. Much like dermabrasion (another method of tattoo removal), cryosurgery involves removing the tattooed area of skin. This happens in extremely cold temperatures using a spray of a freezing agent such as liquid nitrogen. This causes frostbite in that particular area of the skin.  

After freezing, the area is rubbed preferably through dermabrasion to get rid of the topmost layer of skin that contains the tattoo ink. Although this is an effective method of tattoo removal, it may be painful. In addition, cryosurgery can damage skin tissues while wearing away the topmost layers. Also, this method is not very practical on yellow and green pigments and people with sensitive skin should seek alternative methods of tattoo removal.  

 Surgical Excision  

This tattoo removal method is also quite common and works better on tattoos that are small. The tattoo area is surgically removed, and the removal will not cause any allergic reactions. However, there is the risk of ending up with scars on your skin.  

Intense Pulsed Light  

The intense pulsed light method helps to remove the epidermis by breaking up the pigment. Over time, the affected area will heal and give way to a new layer of your own skin. The best thing about intense pulsed light is that it is very effective at removing tattoos and is not very painful, but it does not work as well on people with darker skin tones. Also, this method is more expensive than laser tattoo removal. 


In this method of tattoo removal, first, an anesthetic solution is sprayed on your skin and then your skin is exfoliated by a special sandpaper device so that the surface layers of the skin are removed and the layers that do not have tattoo ink are visible underneath. Doing this also causes the tattoo ink to be drawn out from within the skin.

Tattoo removal with dermabrasion can be painful and usually involves bleeding. Your skin will probably still be sore for up to a week (or ten days) and you will be given a special ointment to apply regularly to heal the treated area. Keep in mind that your tattoo may not be completely removed. If your skin is prone to scar formation, this method is not recommended for you.

Chemical Peeling

In tattoo removal with chemical peeling method, the exfoliating solution is rubbed on the skin, and similar to the cryosurgery method, it causes the formation of blisters on the skin.
Keep in mind that cryotherapy and peeling methods may not be able to completely remove your tattoo. Also, these methods are not nearly as effective as laser treatment.

Fading Creams

The most common ingredient in tattoo removal creams is trichloroacetic acid or TCA. This chemical substance stimulates the skin cells to renew and the result is the peeling of the skin. Eventually, the new skin replaces the dead skin, potentially causing the tattoo to fade. If the laser is used before the use of trichloroacetic acid, it will achieve a more successful result. This acidic chemical substance causes irritation, inflammation, pain, blisters, and skin discoloration.

While TCA-based creams help the body by destroying skin cells, creams containing hydroquinone gradually cause the accumulation of pigments in the skin tissue to disappear by reducing melanin production. Hydroquinone is often used in an ointment form to reduce spots and freckles. This ointment is also known as an anti-pigmentation agent due to its ability to remove tattoos. However, hydroquinone, like TCA, may have side effects such as itching, swelling, blistering, burning, or redness.

Read more: How to Remove Temporary Tattoos

Final Word

Tattooing on the face and body has almost always been very popular, especially among young people. Tattooing has a long history; People tattoo different designs on their bodies according to their tastes. Various reasons, such as the design getting old or getting tired of the pattern on the skin, may make people think of removing the tattoo. Until a few years ago, removing a tattoo was a very painful and difficult process; But today, there are modern and advanced methods available to remove tattoos effectively and with minimum side effects.


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