Tattoo Removal Alternatives

Is laser tattoo removal your only option? We wish there was a magic wand we could wave and tattoos would just disappear, especially since we’ve seen so many lives changed by removing unwanted tattoos. But until David Copperfield gets into the tattoo removal industry, the only option you really have is laser.

Are natural tattoo removal methods legit?

We get it. It’s a high-intensity laser beam going under your skin to break down ink particles and remove the unremovable. Slightly intimidating. That is, if you don’t understand the process.

People who aren’t ready to commit to a medical procedure may consider home tattoo removal methods first. Several natural ingredients are rumored to be effective for DIY tattoo removal. This list debunks whether or not these household staples make it possible to erase tattoos at home. Spoiler alert: they don’t.


Lemon juice

Lemon is nature’s bleach. Do you remember putting lemon juice on your hair to get natural highlights from the sun? Putting lemon juice on an unwanted tattoo follows a similar logic. It will lighten the skin and, after continued use, may fade your tattoo.

Luckily lemons are cheap because you will need to invest in bushels of them. Unfortunately, lemon juice isn’t strong enough to penetrate the top layer of the skin without an exfoliant or heat. As a result, DIY tattoo removers might be tempted to mix salt and lemon to speed up the lightening process.

Salt works as an exfoliant and breaks up skin layers so the lemon juice can penetrate deeper. But if you have ever squeezed a lemon over a paper cut, you know how it feels like a thousand tiny ninjas playing drums on your nerves.

Our advice:

Carefully slice the lemon and plop fizzingly into a deliciously fresh G&T.


Hydrogen peroxide

Much like lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent. It is designed to work as a disinfectant but is moderately effective at fading superficial layers of ink. On its own, hydrogen peroxide is not potent enough to penetrate the second layer of skin. As a result, fresh tattoos or deeply embedded tattoos won’t be phased by it. Super old tattoos might become less noticeable, but you will need to diligently apply it for months before realizing any difference.

Our advice:

If you have a cold sore, hydrogen peroxide is pretty good. A tattoo you don’t want? Yeah, we’d leave the peroxide on the shelf.


Salt scrub

Salt is a natural exfoliant commonly used to remove dead skin cells on the body. However, to use this method to remove a tattoo, you’ll need to scrub the entire top layer of your skin off. We’ll just stop there with this one.

Our advice:

Please, please do not attempt this at home folks.


Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a natural healer and is cheap to buy at any drugstore. Applying it to rashes or burns will soothe the skin and reduce redness. Unlike some other ingredients on this DIY tattoo removal list, aloe vera has no harmful effects. But don’t get too excited. Rubbing aloe vera over a tattoo isn’t going to do anything other than hydrate your skin.

Some homemade tattoo removal cream recipes recommend combining aloe vera, yogurt, and salt. However, this concoction is really just an exfoliant. The salt will disrupt the top layer of skin, but aside from extremely minor fading, it isn’t going to do much to erase your regretted tattoo. None of these ingredients are powerful enough to access the second layer of skin where the tattoo ink is held.

Our advice:

Aloe vera is great if you’ve just scrubbed your tattoo with salt until it’s red raw. It’ll cool it and soothe it. But to remove your tattoo? There’s more chance of a squirrel picking a lock with an acorn.



Yogurt has natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that have proven benefits for the skin. Many skincare products include yogurt to reduce scarring and acne, but can you remove a tattoo naturally with this favorite breakfast snack? Unfortunately, yogurt doesn’t do much other than leave your skin glowing and hydrated.

Our advice:

If you fell victim to trying an abrasive at-home tattoo removal treatment, applying yogurt might relieve your skin, but it doesn’t remove the tattoo.



Harsh scrubbing of the skin is going to cause irreparable damage. While sandpaper might remove the top layer of skin, the payoff is not worth it. This at-home tattoo removal method is excruciating, and the raw section of skin will also heal abnormally. In addition, the friction from the sandpaper will leave behind burns and rashes. In the best-case scenario, you will experience a slight difference in skin texture and a slightly less noticeable tattoo. However, the more likely result is prominent scarring, permanent discoloration, and an even uglier-looking tattoo.

Our advice:

Leave the sandpaper in your toolbox.

Tattoo removal cream

Tattoo removal creams use chemicals to break down the top layer of skin. For example, TCA is a common ingredient that works as a chemical peel that fights through the epidermis. Then, a skin-bleaching agent like hydroquinone lightens the tattoo ink. Continued use of tattoo removal cream could result in fading or blurring of unwanted tattoos. However, no topical ointment can penetrate deep enough to remove a tattoo entirely. In addition, there are several risk factors to using tattoo removal creams, such as:


This condition is discoloring or skin scarring due to a chemical reaction. Tattoo removal creams are most likely to cause hypopigmentation in darker skin types. Bleaching agents in these creams target tattoo ink AND melanin, resulting in permanent skin discoloration.


Over-the-counter tattoo removal creams use convincing marketing statements boasting all-natural ingredients. However, these formulas contain a complex combination of plant proteins known to generate allergic reactions and inflammation. Discomfort can range from minor redness and rashes to severe itching and hives. The natural urge to scratch at your itching skin will create more skin damage and scarring.

Changes to skin texture

Tattoo removal creams break down the top layer of skin. When your skin heals, its texture changes. Therefore, the most favorable results are due to skin texture changes, not tattoo removal. The renewed skin gives the illusion that your tattoo is less prominent when in reality, skin damage is just covering it up.

Our advice:

Save your money, these are a complete waste of time.


The last and by all means least favorable option –
surgical removal

We really cannot understand why anyone would consider this when laser tattoo removal is so effective but here are the details for those with a chemical imbalance in their brain.

Surgical removal works by cutting the tattoo from the skin with a scalpel. Then, the remaining edges of the skin are stitched together. However, surgical tattoo removal can only be done on small tattoos. Large tattoos require too much skin to be cut away, making the wound impossible to restitch. Is this a Frankenstein movie?

If that wasn’t bad enough, surgical tattoo removal also leaves scars. Why on earth?! So if your tattoo is in a visible area this is an even worse option.

Our advice:

If you’re into gory horror go to the movies.


Alternative tattoo removal – the verdict

We told you at the very beginning but you were determined to read on weren’t you. There’s a reason why until some very bright scientists developed lasers that can safely penetrate skin and target just the ink in your unwanted tattoos that tattoos have forever been seen as permanent.

Every other tattoo removal method is ineffective. What’s worse it that most options put you at risk for serious
health complications.

Our advice:

Book yourself a free consultation at your nearest Removery studio. It’s safe, affordable and it actually works.

All your questions answered

We advise all of our clients to read up and research as much as possible. The more you know about laser tattoo removal, the more comfortable you’ll be with the whole experience.

Joshua Weitz, MD turns to the white board to help him explain it in detail. It’s laser science so it’s pretty complicated but we’ll do our best to explain it as simply as we can.

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Short answer: it is all we do. Our laser specialists are the only ones in the industry that go through intensive training, and our clients’ results show that training matters.

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man smiling and showing off tattoo free arm

Get your free estimate

We’re on a mission to give you the most straightforward, easy and efficient laser tattoo removal experience. Your estimate will be entirely bespoke to your tattoo; the size, the colors, the ink. It won’t take long and you’ll walk away with a plan to finally get rid of your unwanted tattoo and get back to being you.

Get your free estimate

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