Humans have been tattooing themselves for nearly 10,000 years, and have subsequently been removing tattoos for nearly as long. In fact, the variety of ways to take ink out of skin are almost as numerous and unique as the methods of putting it in.
Of course, as you might expect, some tattoo removal methods are better than others. Just because you're able to get ink out of your skin doesn't mean that it won't leave scars, marks or other types of permanent damage. Other methods may be less harsh on skin, but also less effective. Here are just a few ways people have tried to undo their tattoo throughout history.
It may seem silly, but a Canadian graduate student from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia recently devised a topical cream that he claims can reliably and painlessly get rid of people's tattoos. Designed by student Alec Falkenham, the process is called Bisphosphonate Liposomal Tattoo Removal. As CNN described, when a person receives a tattoo, their body's immune response activates, and white blood cells attempt to break down and carry away the ink particles. However, because the ink droplets are so much larger than the white blood cells, the process is ongoing and unsuccessful – which is why tattoos are permanent. Falkenham claims that his cream targets the body's cells that are responsible for this process, speeding up and bolstering the natural defense against foreign agents – like tattoo ink. The process has allegedly been tested on rats and pigs, and results have been fairly positive. However, it's unclear as to whether Falkenham's cream will be effective at removing larger tattoos on humans.
Tattoos are administered by injecting ink under the skin with a needle – why couldn't you use a similar process to extract it? That's the thought process behind the use of some tattoo removal methods. One company called Tattoo Vanish manufactures such a product for use in tattoo studios. The procedure is almost identical to getting the tattoo, even down to using a tattoo gun. According to the company's website, instead of injecting ink, the artist injects a special solution that is designed to break down the ink particles making up the tattoo. During the healing process, a scab forms and, as it clears, pulls the ink out with it. The Tattoo Vanish procedure is fairly new, and while it has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use on people, there's little in the way of general consensus on whether or not the process is effective or safe.
Despite the fact that people have been giving and removing tattoos for millennia, some methods still haven't advanced much further than the procedures we had in ancient times. According to The Atlantic, one of the earliest methods of tattoo removal was as simple as it was horrific – layers of skin were peeled away with a knife until the layers containing the ink and, by extension, the tattoo, were removed. An analog of this process is still in use today, though the tools and methods are far less crude. Surgical tattoo removal is still around, though it's understandably not very comfortable. Additionally, the results aren't as effective or clean as the pain involved would warrant.
Laser tattoo removal
The fastest growing removal method is laser tattoo removal. Quickly becoming the most popular and most effective method, laser tattoo removal involves zapping the tattooed area with a laser. The beam targets ink droplets and breaks them into tiny components so they body's natural processes can remove them. With advances in laser removal constantly appearing, it's becoming the most reliable way to blast away tattoo regret.
PicoSure® is the latest technology for laser tattoo removal and offers faster and better removal in fewer treatments. PicoSure shatters ink into smaller, dust-like particles which are more efficiently absorbed by the body's natural processes. It is the first and only aesthetic picosecond laser that is FDA-cleared for the removal of tattoos. Visit www.picosurear.wpengine.com to learn more and find a PicoSure Practitioner near you.