Skin Issues: unwanted tattoos
Learn about laser tattoo removal technique in ‘Beauty: The Ultimate Cosmetic Makeover Guide. Book 1: Face and Skin’.
Sometimes people get tattooed only to regret the decision later, for any number of reasons. Having an unwanted tattoo can be embarrassing and upsetting. It may also have social consequences, such as hampering one’s ability to secure a job or a promotion.
If you don’t want your tattoo to be seen any more you have three choices:
- conceal it with clothing or makeup,
- disguise it with a more acceptable tattoo,
- have it removed.
The History of Unwanted Tattoos
People have been tattooing each other for thousands of years—at least since Neolithic times. They have probably been wanting to remove some of these skin decorations since the Stone Age, too. Very early forms of tattoo removal included the injection or application of wine, lime, garlic or pigeon excrement.
Tattoo-removal experiments using short-pulsed lasers were first done in the late 1960s. Before the introduction of laser tattoo removal techniques however, common methods included:
- TCA (trichloroacetic acid, an substance that removes the layers of skin above the layer occupied by the tattoo ink).
- Salabrasion (scrubbing the skin with salt).
- Cryosurgery (freezing the tattooed skin with liquid nitrogen).
- Excision (this is sometimes still used in conjunction with skin grafts, to remove bigger tattoos).