According to The Harris Poll, 29 percent of adults in America have at least one tattoo. The number of people getting tattooed is on the rise, with an 8 percent increase in the last four years. When it comes to millennials, the numbers are even higher. Almost half, 47 percent, of millennials have a tattoo. In comparison, only 13 percent of baby boomers have tattoos.
While the majority of people with tattoos are happy with their body art, 23 percent admit to regretting their ink. If you don't still love your body art, you have options. There are cosmetic tattoo removal procedures that can reduce or eliminate the appearance of tattoos.
What do you need to know about tattoo removal? Take a look at the answers to some of the most common questions about these procedures.
Why Remove a Tattoo?
There are many reasons why people want to have their tattoos removed from their bodies. Sometimes personalities or feelings change. That unicorn rainbow tattoo you got when you were 20 may not appeal to you mow when you're 45. Likewise, your college boyfriend's name tattooed on your shoulder may bring back bad memories or offend your current significant other.
Even if you still kind of like the artwork itself, you may have a job or a special event that doesn't exactly mesh with your ink. While removing a tattoo for a temporary reason probably isn't enough to undergo a cosmetic procedure, if it's in combination with something else, such as you feeling like the art doesn't look professional, you might want to think about permanent removal of your tattoo.
Along with a change in preferences, some tattoos aren't as artfully done as others. If your tattoo is sloppy, poorly done or fading more than it should, removing it may be your preference.
Do At-Home Treatments Work?
You've seen the creams and scrubs advertised online. They all claim to quickly and effectively remove tattoos by fading them. When it comes down to it, these over-the-counter products don't work. Your tattoo's ink is not only on the surface. If it was, fading creams and exfoliants would work. However, the tattoo extends down below the surface layer of your skin - making it unlikely to fade with just a simple at-home skin treatment.
Keep in mind, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve any of the tattoo removal creams or ointments currently on the market. While these won't necessarily harm you, they can cause allergic reactions in some people. Beyond that, they are a waste of your money and of your time.
What Types of Removal Do Doctors Offer?
The most common cosmetic procedure for tattoo removal is laser surgery. The laser can effectively break down the pigments in your tattoo removing its appearance from your skin. Some patients find that laser removal almost completely eliminates the tattoo without scarring.
The amount of pigment that the laser surgery removes depends on the colors in your tattoo, the area, your skin and how many treatments you get. Laser tattoo removal is not a one-time treatment and you're done. It often takes multiple treatment sessions, with time to heal in between procedures, to achieve the desired effect.
Who Does Laser Removal?
You can't get laser tattoo removal just anywhere. There are spas and salons that may offer this procedure. However, a qualified medical professional should always do the procedure.
Cosmetic surgeons, or licensed medical professionals working under the surgeon's supervision, are your best options. Someone who doesn't have the proper training in plastic surgery or laser removal may not give you the results that you're looking for.
Are you considering tattoo removal? Greensboro Plastic Surgical Associates, P.A. can help.