Many individuals have “tattoo regret” and are opting to get the ink removed.
Practically 3 in 10 U.S. adults have a number of tattoos and 25% want them removed, based on Dr. Paul M. Friedman, director of the Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center in Houston and New York.
Friedman, a spokesperson for the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, says individuals of all ages are searching for removals. However, he’s seen a rise among millennials. The medical group estimates its members carried out 85,000 tattoo removals in 2017, the most recent information available. However, that doesn’t include ones removed by different medical employees.
Dermatologists say the latest laser equipment can eliminate most tattoos without scarring, however, be ready for an extended, costly process. Insurance won’t cover it.
Tattoos will be removed in 3 ways:
—Laser removing, usually the popular technique. The laser sends lights pulses of various wavelengths for each color for fractions of a second. The pulses break apart skin cells and break the ink inside them into tiny particles, which the lymph system pulls up, and the body slowly excretes. A local anesthetic is given to counteract pain.
This normally produces the best result, however, takes four to 10 sessions, relying on the tattoo’s colors and size, the patient’s skin tone, and other factors. Every 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 massive scars and not remove all of the ink, says Dr. Eric F. Bernstein, director of the Mainline Center in Ardmore for Laser Surgery, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.