Tattoo Removal Methods
Chemical peels can be performed with a variety of different acid solutions and are very successful in treating fine lines, wrinkles, and dull skin. However, using these peels to remove tattoos is less effective because the solutions cannot reach the deeper layers of skin where the ink resides.
If the chemical could reach these deeper layers of the dermis, the results would come with a significant amount of damage to the tissue. This doesn’t stop many people from trying them, though, and many aesthetic centers offer this method as a treatment option for their patients. Chemical peels used to target tattoos are usually made of glycolic acid mixtures that contain AHAs such as malic and glycolic acid, phenol, or TCA.
The glycolic mixture is most commonly used to remove eyebrow tattoos. When applied to the eyebrow area, it causes the skin to become inflamed and forces out some of the ink particles. Because all of the pigments do not come out at once (and some do not at all), this procedure has to be repeated until sufficient amounts of the ink are gone. This solution can cause irritation, pain, and even scarring, and there’s no guarantee that all of the ink will be removed.
Trichloroacetic acid, or TCA, is another substance used to remove tattoos in the same manner as the glycolic mixture described above. This is a slightly less caustic type of acid, but it still carries possible side effects. Phenol, on the other hand, is a much stronger product and can be more effective in lightening tattoos. However, it comes at a cost. There is more risk of scarring and loss of pigmentation with phenol acid, and the aftercare of the area treated with phenol is more complex and drawn out.
With all methods of acid treatment, the area must be kept clean and dry until the scab falls off on its own. This can take weeks and be cumbersome and inconvenient for the client.