ZocdocAnswersWhat is the best way to remove tattoos?

Question

What is the best way to remove tattoos?

I'm a middle-aged man and I'm about to get remarried. Unfortunately, I have a tattoo of my ex-wife's name that I'm trying to get rid off. I know there are a few options, but what is the best method of tattoo removal?

Answer

Tattoo removal can be complicated and should involve discussions with specialists including internists, dermatologists, and others. Tattoo removal is both more complicated and more expensive than tattoo application itself. One way to hide a tattoo is to simply cover it with another design but that be not be possible with your ex-wife's name. Prior popular techniques involved abrasion therapies which removed the outer layer of skin to let the ink leach out. Other techniques include cryosurgery, thermal cautery, and surgical resection. But more recently, laser therapy is being used. The actual mechanism by which laser therapy removes ink is not completely understood. The thinking is that the laser fractures the ink pigments into small particles to allow the body to absorb them or let them dissipate out of the skin. In general, laser therapy is safe but can result in lightening, darkening, or allergic reactions of the skin. It is important to note that laser therapy does require a number of sessions and can be costly. It is not possible to come to a treatment plan without examining the patient. The strong recommendation is therefore to get a referral to a dermatologist and get evaluated in person to discuss the risks and benefits of proceeding with tattoo removal therapies.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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