Dermabrasion Tattoo Removal

Using dermabrasion to remove an unwanted tattoo is a process which involves scraping away the top layers of skin in order to remove the pigments in the tattoo, which can be painful and leave scarring, but is an effective method for removing all kinds of tattoos.

The Dermabrasion Tattoo Removal Process

Once you have decided that you no longer want a tattoo, and that dermabrasion is the favoured choice for removal, smoking and certain medications, such as aspirin, cannot be taken in the week prior to the procedure in order to minimise bleeding. Before starting an anaesthetic is administered and the tattoo is cleaned with antiseptic and a freezing solution is applied to the tattoo. This is generally liquid nitrogen or a similar substance, and is used to harden the skin to make it easier to work on. Next, the tattoo is sanded away using a rotating abrasion brush, and as this can cause a fair amount of bleeding, the area is often treated with vasoconstrictors (such as epinephrine) in order to minimise bleeding. Depending on the quality of the tattoo, how deep it goes and its size, the process can take anything from 15 minutes to two hours. Once complete, the affected area is treated with an antibiotic burn cream and is bandaged up to minimise the risk of infection. The process frequently has to be repeated several times in order to fully remove the tattoo, and can cost from £1000 to several thousands of pounds depending on how big the tatoo is and the quality of the tattoo.

Risks & Side Effects of Dermabrasion

A certain degree of bruising and swelling can be expected following treatment, as well as some bleeding and weeping from the wounds. It should also be noted that the process is very painful, and the area is often left feeling numb or with a tingling sensation. There are various gels and creams which can be applied to sooth the area, and exposure to the sun following the procedure must be avoided.

Permanent scarring is common, as well as discolouration of the skin due to the top layers being removed, particularly in people with darker complexions. It can take up to six months for the wound to heal completely, and during that period burning, itching and general pain around the area can be expected. Great care must be taken to avoid infection as the area will be vulnerable due to the protective top layers of skin having been removed. Some people experience the emergence of small whiteheads around the affected area, but these subside over time. Those who suffer from or have a history of bleeding disorders or keloidal scars cannot use dermabrasion for tattoo removal. This method is often a last resort for those who have had previous unsuccessful tattoo removal treatments. It is generally a successful method, but due to the pain and scarring involved in the treatment, it is worth exploring alternative methods before deciding upon dermabrasion.

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