Regretting that tattoo? Here’s all you need to know about zapping it away

So you’ve broken up and are now regretting getting your ex’s name tattooed on your wrist. Or are wondering how to best hide the butterfly tattoo you got when you were super drunk. It could also be that your tattoo has been marred by a typo and become an embarrassment. Whatever be the reason, if that ink job is no longer speaking your language, don’t despair; just get it zapped.

For those who have inks they regret and are quite keen on the idea of removing them, here’s how to go about it:

* Laser – most reliable method of tattoo removal

Among the various traditional ways to remove tattoos, the common ones are surgery, chemical peels or dermabrasion, but they all come with a list of side effects like scarring, inflammation and so on.

According to Dr Priyanka Goyat, Rejove Clinique co-founder, “The most recent, advanced, effective and the safest method to get rid of old tattoos is selective photothermolysis based laser treatment which is more result-oriented than other methods. Selective photothermolysis breaks tattoo ink particles into smaller pieces.”

She noted that one needs to go through 10-20 laser sessions to get the skin from tattoo marks. The actual numbers of sessions depend upon various factors such as the age of the person, the age of the tattoo, location on the body, size of the tattoo, types of inks, colours of the inks and how it was placed (by a professional artist or by an amateur).

Laser treatment continues to be the most reliable method of tattoo removal. (Shutterstock)

“Though side effects of laser tattoo are quite rare, they can emerge in a few cases. Hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, infections, and scarring are some of the common side effects of tattoo removal through laser,” she said. “Besides, dark skin people can also face problems like keloid scarring.”

*Colours play a significant role

Among various factors discussed above, ink colour is of the utmost importance for an aesthetic consultant.

“Black and dark green are the most friendly colours to get removed while yellow, turquoise, fluorescent, and purple are the most rigid and stubborn inks to deal with,” Goyat said. “However, with the latest PicoSure (Q-switch) laser technology, the removal of these colours and other tough colours such blue or green is no more a disappointing task for laser consultants. With the help of PicoSure, tattoos can be vanished easily without affecting the surrounding tissues, and it takes less healing time.”

While fresh tattoos are hard to deal with and require more time and more sessions, tattoos of 5 years or more in age are easy to rub out.

“Hence, one needs to take more laser sessions if the tattoo is less than a year old. Hence, if the tattoo is new, it is normal to expect the area to be red swollen or bruised. One can also experience blistering of the skin under the laser. So, regular application of ointment and gel is mandatory until the skin gets fully healed. Moreover, to protect the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, one should also use a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher on daily basis,” Goyat revealed.

* Multi-layered tattoos may change the skin tone

Sometimes fashion fanatics repeatedly use a particular area of the body for tattoo art, means replacing the old tattoo with the newer one.

Replacing an old tattoo with a new one can affect the colour and texture of the skin. (Shutterstock)


“These tattoos over tattoos may affect the colour and texture of the skin. People who frequently suffer from tanning are more prone to hyperpigmentation,” she noted, adding, “To remove such repetitive tattoos completely one needs to take extra laser sessions, despite it, the success rate is significantly low in such cases.”

“What is more important here is, if immediate skin darkening is noticeable, then the laser beams should be tested on a very small area first. People affected by any kind of allergy must inform about it to the therapist in advance. Hence, a fresh skin for a fresh tattoo is always advisable to tattoo freaks,” Goyat concluded.