You finally got that tattoo you dreamed about for years! But you hate it. Now what?
First, cheer up. You’ve got a lot of company. About 29% of American men and women have at least one tattoo … and almost 1/4 of them have two or more.
But unlike your great-great uncle who had to sport that misspelled tattoo he got in the Navy until the day he died, you can find an expert dermatologist to safely remove your inked spider, heart, or ex’s name. However, it’s important to note that there’s a lot of misinformation about undoing your tatts. Following the wrong advice can lead to permanent skin damage in addition to leaving you with an even weirder-looking version of your unwanted tattoo.
Five Tattoo Undo Myths
1. I Can Scrub or Lotion Away My Tattoo
The internet abounds with claims that rubbing your tattoo with salt or special creams can remove the ink. Not only could rubbing salt into a tattoo hurt your skin, if you do it too soon after you got your tattoo, you could make the tatt look worse. Tattoos are not superficial drawings that can be scrubbed or lotioned away. The ink penetrates deep into your dermis and consists of many layers.
That’s why laser tattoo removal takes time. The PicoWay laser, for instance, shatters the tattoo pigment one layer at a time. In between removal sessions, your body flushes away the pigment. The average tattoo needs at least five to eight sessions before it’s completely erased by a laser.
2. I Should Remove an Unwanted Tattoo Before It Settles In
Regretting a tattoo as soon as you get it is a common situation. However, you have to live with that tattoo for at least two months before you start the removal process. Your skin must be healed and healthy any time you get a laser treatment. That’s why you need to wait about two months between your laser removal sessions, too.
3. Light Tattoo Inks Can’t Be Removed
While it used to be true that light inks were difficult to remove, that’s not the case anymore. A state-of-the-art laser, like PicoWay, can be adjusted to treat a variety of colors — including beige, pink, gray, and white. One caveat is that the light colors first undergo an oxidation process and turn a brownish hue. After they darken, they must be treated again. So, although you can remove light colors, they do take longer to treat than dark colors.
4. Laser Tattoo Removal Causes Scars
As long as you’ve let your skin heal for two months after getting a new tattoo and work with a board-certified dermatologist, the chances of scarring are minimal to none. The PicoWay laser has variable settings that allow your dermatologist to direct high bursts of energy directly to the tattoo pigment. The laser doesn’t affect your skin at all.
5. You Can Just Tattoo Straight Over an Old Tattoo to Cover It
If your tattoo is light and small, it may be possible to simply do a cover-up tatt to mask the one you don’t want. But if your tattoo is large or dark, fading the tattoo before attempting a cover-up will give you the best chances of a good result. You can talk to your dermatologist about how many PicoWay sessions you need before your tattoo is faded sufficiently to facilitate a successful cover-up. Learn more about the PicoWay laser here.
Schedule a Laser Tattoo Removal Session Today
You don’t have to live with tattoo regret. Contact Dr. Kitagawa at Kitagawa Dermatology for a PicoWay laser consultation. We’re located at the Kuakini Medical Plaza, 321 N. Kuakini St, #610, in Honolulu. You can call our friendly office staff or use our email form.