You’ve seen them! Portland is proud of them! Heck, I have a few and are thinking about getting a couple more to show support for my Grandparents and Kids. Yes, I’m talking about Tattoos, now does your tattoo sport your ex’s name? Or the one you got on a whim no longer fits your image? Well turns out you’re not alone. Many people have “tattoo regret” and are opting to get the ink removed.
Nearly 3 in 10 U.S. adults have one or more tattoos and 25% want them removed, according to Dr. Paul M. Friedman, director of the Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center in Houston and New York. Friedman, a spokesman for the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, says people of all ages are seeking removals, but he’s seen an increase among millennials.
The medical group estimates its members performed 85,000 tattoo removals in 2017, the latest data available, but that doesn’t include ones removed by other medical workers. Dermatologists say the newest laser equipment can eliminate most tattoos without scarring, but be prepared for a long, expensive process. Insurance won’t cover it.
Tattoos can be removed, three different ways:
— Laser removal, generally the preferred method. The laser sends lights pulses of different wavelengths for each color for fractions of a second. The pulses break apart skin cells and rupture the ink inside them into tiny particles, which the lymph system picks up and the body gradually excretes. A local anesthetic is given to prevent pain.
This usually produces the best result, but takes four to 10 sessions, depending on the tattoo’s size and colors, the patient’s skin tone, and other factors. Each session can run about $450 for a small tattoo to $1,000 for a large one.
— Dermabrasion, or scraping away the skin’s top layers. It can leave big scars and not remove all the ink, (NOPE I’M OUT)
— Surgical removal, or cutting out top layers of skin. This can also leave scars but can be a good option for small tattoos or if the tattoo inks have caused an allergic reaction and need to be removed quickly.