Can All Tattoos Be Removed?

Most dermatologic surgeons caution that complete tattoo removal is not possible. Tattoos are meant to be permanent, so removing them is difficult. Few surgeons guarantee complete removal. Having said that, there are several methods of tattoo removal which have proven effective. The degree of remaining color variations or blemishes depends upon several factors, including size, location, the individual’s ability to heal, how the tattoo was applied and how long it has been in place. For example, a tattoo applied by a more experienced artist may be easier to remove since the pigment was evenly injected in the same level of the skin. New tattoos may also be more difficult to remove than old ones.

Doctors say they can’t predict the exact degree of removal because they generally don’t know which of the 100 tattoo inks available today were used. (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently lists tattoo pigments as “color additives,” which are intended only for application to the top layer of the skin.) Consult with a removal specialist — be sure to take a list of questions along

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