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Tattoo Removal

How Effective are Home Remedies to Remove a Tattoo?

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Published: 09.26.2023
Updated: 11.01.2023

Tattoos are a beautiful form of self-expression. But sometimes, the plan to turn your body into an artful masterpiece goes awry. Rushed decisions, broken hearts, and inexperienced tattoo artists can turn a cool tattoo design into an eyesore.


So if your mom was right when she said you’d regret that tattoo when you’re older, you’re in luck. Thanks to modern technology, tattoos aren’t as permanent as they once were. That’s good news for people tired of covering up old ink. 


But with a never-ending list of hacks and how-to videos online, how do you know which tattoo removal methods work best? Most home remedies for tattoo removal use everyday household ingredients. So while it’s tempting to start erasing old ink right away, take caution. Most natural tattoo removal methods are dangerous and can cause long-term damage to your health. So instead, choose professional, safe, and effective ways to blast away tattoo ink. 

How Ink is Removed From the Skin

Tattoo ink is inserted deep into the dermis or second layer of skin. This process ensures ink molecules are too large for the body to flush out naturally. In addition, the ink is protected by the top layers of skin, which reduces damage from surface injuries and UV rays. This process is what makes tattoos permanent.  


So how does tattoo removal work? In order to remove a tattoo from the skin, the ink molecules need to be reduced to tiny particles. These minuscule fragments will move through the body as waste. However, to break down the ink, you need to reach the dermis layer of the skin. This challenge is what makes home remedies ineffective for removing tattoos. 

Popular Home Remedies for Tattoo Removal

Thanks to social media, there is a how-to video for everything. Here are the top home remedies DIYers have tried to remove unwanted ink.


Salabrasion is an extreme exfoliation of a tattoo. This method is very dangerous, excruciatingly painful, and almost always ends with a nasty scar.


The idea is to use water and salt to rub off the top layers of skin. This process will expose the dermis layer where tattoo ink resides. After continued rubbing, wishful DIYers hope to see their tattoo fade or disappear. Unfortunately, you are more likely to end up with scarred and irritated skin followed by an infection. 

Out of all the home remedies for tattoo removal, salabrasion is the most dangerous. Unfortunately, it is also most likely to cause severe damage that looks worse than any botched tattoo. 

Aloe Vera and Yogurt

If you are absolutely dead set on trying to remove your tattoo at home, a mixture of aloe vera and yogurt is the safest option. These all-natural ingredients won’t damage your skin. In fact, aloe and yogurt work as moisturizers and can provide relief for rashes and minor irritations. 

Aloe is powerful enough to combat sunburns, but can it break down tattoo ink too?


Unfortunately, no scientific evidence proves yogurt or aloe is strong enough to erase tattoos. While continued use may result in minor fading of unwanted ink, this home remedy is not an effective tattoo removal solution.  

Lemon Juice

Would you dip your arm in a barrel of acid to remove a tattoo? If the answer is no, stay clear of this DIY removal method. Lemon juice is highly acidic, and frequent applications will eat away at the skin. Not only will it take a long time to reach ink molecules in the dermis, but the process will also be extremely painful. In addition, skin treated with lemon juice has a high chance of burns and infections, especially when exposed to the sun.


So instead of trying to use lemons to burn your tattoo off, save them for a lemonade stand. Then you can use the profits to pay for professional tattoo removal services.

Salt and Ice

Using salt and ice to remove a tattoo is the slightly less painful version of salabrasion. The ice is used to numb the skin, so it is easier to scrub away layers with salt. But just because you can’t feel the damage you are doing doesn’t mean this method is safe. 


There are several dangers to removing a tattoo with salt and ice at home, including nerve damage, frostbite, scarring, and infection. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

Some DIYers have attempted to fade unwanted ink with hydrogen peroxide. The method involves soaking the gauze with peroxide and allowing it to stay on the tattoo in 15-20 minute increments. However, this process is bleaching your skin. So while you may notice a minor difference in the intensity of your tattoo, it will still be visible. But you can also expect to see skin discoloration, hyperpigmentation, bleeding, and irritation. In this case, the result is definitely not worth the risk.  

Effectiveness of Home Remedies

Overall, home remedies for tattoo removal are ineffective. While options like salabrasion, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide are cheap, the risky side effects and poor results should deter anyone from attempting a natural tattoo removal. 


Remember, tattoos are designed to be permanent displays of self-expression. Therefore, they aren’t supposed to be easy to remove, which is why every tattoo should be carefully considered before committing a needle to the skin. If you want to erase a tattoo safely, the only way to do so is with the help of professionals.


Comparing Home Remedies to Professional Tattoo Removal Methods

Every home remedy to remove a tattoo puts your health at risk. Not only will these tattoo removal remedies not work, but they will also cause more damage and disfigurement than even the worst-looking tattoos. 

In comparison, professional tattoo removal methods are safe and offer actual results. There are several benefits to consulting tattoo removal professionals, including:

  • Less pain
  • Lower risk of complications and skin damage
  • Predictable results
  • Expert guidance and aftercare

Laser Removal

Laser tattoo removal machines target ink molecules in the dermis. The powerful beams blast ink into tiny particles your body can naturally flush out as waste. This tattoo removal procedure is the most effective and has the fewest complications. As a result, 95% of tattoos qualify for laser removal. In addition, this professional removal method can completely erase ink on sensitive areas like the neck and face. 


Removery is the expert on laser tattoo removal. Consult with their team of experts to explore how laser treatments can help reduce the appearance of unwanted ink. In most cases, tattoos can be completely erased! However, Removery’s laser tattoo removal services are also beneficial to fade old tattoos in preparation for cover-up pieces. When you meet with a Removery team member, they will outline your removal options, treatment length, and predicted results.


Dermabrasion is a surgical tattoo removal method. This process involves grinding away the top layers of skin to expose the dermis. Once the ink molecules are exposed, the surgical machine powers through this deeper layer of skin to remove the tattoo. 

While dermabrasion is effective, there are some notable disadvantages when opting for this tattoo removal method, including:

  • Intense pain
  • Scarring, inflammation, and bruising
  • Infection

In addition, due to the surgical nature of this process, doctors will only address small areas. As a result, removing large tattoo pieces by dermabrasion can be a long and painful process. 

Surgical Excision

Surgical excision involves cutting out the skin that holds an unwanted tattoo. This removal method is extreme and usually not recommended. The only advantage surgical excision has over other professional tattoo removal methods is speed. Cutting away the piece of tattooed skin requires just one treatment. However, the associated risks with surgical excision include:

  • Infection
  • Allergic reactions to sedatives
  • Scarring

It is also important to note that only very small tattoos qualify for surgical excision. Doctors cannot cut away large tattoos as there won’t be enough skin left to close the wound. 

Should You Try DIY Tattoo Removal?

You can DIY many projects, but tattoo removal isn’t one of them. Home remedies are not the solution if you want to remove your permanent tattoo. While these low-cost methods might seem appealing, the risks are astounding. 


The most severe complication of home tattoo removal is infection. If left untreated, an infection can become life-threatening and land you in the hospital. No tattoo is worth jeopardizing your long-term health. In addition, many remedies to remove tattoos naturally result in bruising, discoloration, and scarring. Is replacing a permanent ugly tattoo with a permanent ugly scar a trade you want to make?


Professional tattoo removal services are the best course of action to get rid of bad tattoos for good. While methods like laser tattoo treatments are expensive, the end result is worth it! First, consult with a provider like Removery to determine how much it will cost to remove your tattoo. Then consider saving up or financing the price of treatment. Laser removal methods produce the best results compared to tattoo removal cream, home remedies, and surgical procedures.


Finally, if you want to avoid the risks of home tattoo removal but don’t want to wait until you’ve saved for professional services, schedule a cover-up tattoo appointment with an experienced artist.  

Consider Tattoo Cover Up

Hiding an old tattoo under a new one is a two-for-one special! Get rid of an unwanted or botched tattoo and get brand-new, gorgeous artwork in its place. Here are some tips to ensure your tattoo cover-up is perfect:

  • Research tattoo artists that are experienced in cover-ups
  • Consult with your chosen artist and be open to new tattoo ideas
  • Schedule a few laser removal sessions to fade the old tattoo and create a better canvas for the artist
  • Go for big, bold artwork in your new tattoo design to better camouflage old ink

Questions About Tattoo Removal? Get in Touch!

Removing an old tattoo is a life-changing decision. Get the process started by contacting Removery! Their knowledge team will answer all your questions about tattoo removal and recommend a treatment plan that is right for you!


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Dr Eric Korsh Dr. Eric Korsh Spine & Orthopedic Surgeon

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