Tattoo Removal

Non-Laser Tattoo Removal Options and Methods

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Published: 05.31.2018
Updated: 06.11.2024
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Bill Kwan, Dermatologist


Non Laser Tattoo Removal Options

Skin damage caused by some chemicals and exfoliants can cause severe scarring and pigmentation changes which will prevent you from eventually being able to remove your tattoo using any other method. Almost every day at Removery we see a client who has permanently damaged their skin with one of the methods below.

Here are five alternative tattoo removal methods that simply do not work.

Dermabrasion Tattoo Removal

Dermabrasion is a deep exfoliation — think “sandpaper”. Essentially, it sands down the skin with a fast-moving brush. This method painfully removes the top layer and the dermis layer of the skin, where the ink is held. As with other tattoo removal methods, dermabrasion requires multiple treatments and often leaves the skin raw and vulnerable to infection, often taking months for the skin to heal. Also, there’s little accuracy, and excessive amounts of skin are often removed. Ultimately, you will be left with a scar that is much more obvious and unappealing than the tattoo itself.

Saline Injection Tattoo Removal

Some tattoo artists have been known to use saline to fade tattoo ink by tattooing it into the skin surrounding the ink. While this method seems safe, it can only be used on older tattoos and does not successfully remove tattoos. It can, however, fade the ink just enough for a more successful cover up. Since this tattoo removal method is controversial, it may be hard to find a tattoo artist who is willing to perform the procedure.

Tattoo Removal Creams

Most tattoo removal creams on the market have an appealing price tag, but they often cause more damage than any other tattoo removal method. Since they contain acids or bleaching chemicals that are applied at home rather than by a trained professional, skin damage is highly likely. The best-case scenario is that nothing at all happens! Along with false hope, this tattoo removal method often provides itching, peeling, permanent scarring, and pigmentation issues. Your tattoo might fade a bit, but since creams are not able to reach the dermis layer, where the ink rests, they will never fully remove your tattoo.

Chemical Peel and Glycolic Acid Tattoo Removal

Acid peels such as glycolic acid peels, TCA peels, and acid injections fade tattoos by dissolving several layers of skin. Similar to tattoo removal creams, the chemicals have dangerous and often permanent side effects. Since many of these products can be purchased online and applied without a professional technician, users have been left with severe chemical burns and permanent scarring.

Surgery Tattoo Removal

Surgically removing your tattoo, or literally cutting your tattoo out of your skin, sounds like it will lead to a successful removal, but surgeons are often unable to cut deep enough in order to remove all of the ink. Also, the scars left behind are unsightly, and discoloration and bumps usually form after a few months, making it impossible to cover the scars with another tattoo.

Cryosurgery Tattoo Removal

With cryosurgery, you’re essentially freezing the skin with liquid nitrogen to create frostbite, and sanding the top layers off. This is often done in a series of visits to the doctor’s office and is typically used with local anesthesia because it can be a painful removal method. This method often damages surrounding tissues and leads to permanent scarification. Other common side effects include bleeding, blistering, scabbing, or infection and some patients have reported not being able to generate new hair at the treated site.

Best Tattoo Removal Methods

To sum up, laser tattoo removal is the ONLY method approved by the FDA proven to successfully remove ink from the dermis and lead to complete tattoo removal over the course of several treatments.

At Removery we are the tattoo removal experts. We offer free consultations and will happily answer any questions you may have about laser tattoo removal. So book a free tattoo removal consultation with us today! Learn more about popular tattoo removal creams and if they actually work in this article.

Dr. Bill Kwan Dermatologist

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