A survey done by the Pew Research Center on tattoo in 2006 revealed that there are about 36% of those ages 18 to 25 and 40% of those ages 26 to 40 have at least one tattoo. This number is now increasing because of the heightened interest of the public in having a tattoo. On the bad side, the number of those who wanted to remove their tattoo is also significantly increasing. One method being used to remove a tattoo is called laser tattoo removal. How much does laser tattoo removal cost?
A tattoo is a marking of the dermis layer by an indelible ink to change the skin pigment and at the same time create an art. Tattooing in humans are primarily done for decorative purposes while for animals, it is done for identification. This practice of inserting ink on the skin has been around for centuries already. Tattooing has been a primary component of Eurasian practice and is found to exist since the Neolithic times. There are also discovered mummies in Ancient Egypt and Ukok Plateau which have tattoo in their body and these mummies are believed to date back from the end of the second millennium BC.\
5 Types of Tattoos
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are about 5 types of tattoos namely natural tattoos or traumatic tattoos, amateur tattoos, professional tattoos, cosmetic tattoos and medical tattoos.
1. Natural or Traumatic Tattoos. Tattoos of this type are a result of accident or trauma such as entrance of coal dust into a coal miner’s wound or gunpowder in a sheriff’s wound. The coal dust and gunpowder leaves a permanent dark mark on the skin which looks like a tattoo. Same goes when asphalt is rubbed on the wound or a pencil led accidentally inserted or injected on the skin. Natural or traumatic tattoos are very difficult to remove because of the chemicals in the coal dust, gunpowder or asphalt tends to spread deep down the skin.
2. Amateur Tattoos. This refers to tattoos that are made just for fun or for decorative purposes. There is no important meaning or significance on it.
3. Professional Tattoos. This refers to tattoos that are made for an important reason such as those made for religious purposes, occupational purposes (marking made in accordance to the position of the person in the society or in a business), and cultural tattoos.
4. Cosmetic Tattoos. This type of tattoo is very popular to women. Cosmetic tattoos are done to resemble make up so that women who gets tired of putting up their make up every day could just wash their face off and then go to work. There are also cosmetic tattoos which are made to hide skin discolorations. The lips, eye lids, and eye brows are some of the areas in the face that are being tattooed for beauty purposes.
5. Medical. This type of tattoo is used as marking especially for those who will be undergoing a special procedure such as radiotherapy or breast augmentation. It can also be used to convey medical information about the person (e.g. blood group) and to cover skin pigmentations such as in vitiligo.
The process of tattooing involves breaking the skin and injecting a foreign body to it (indelible ink). With that, the risk or acquiring infection and allergic reaction is not uncommon. Hepatitis, HIV, fungal infection, staph, herpes simplex virus, and tetanus are some of the infections that can be acquired through tattooing especially if the equipments being used are not sterilized well and the person who is carrying out the tattoo process does not observe certain precautions. It is best to ascertain first whether the artist or the person doing the tattoo is trained so to ensure safety.
The inks being used in tattooing are all hypoallergenic but still there are some who tend to react to some components such as nickel. Nickel is a common ink pigment that can cause local to systemic allergic reactions. Prior to undergoing a tattoo, it is best to determine first whether you have an allergy to this component.
Tattoo removal is not uncommon these days. There are many ways to remove tattoos and some of these are through excision (removal of the skin), dermabrasion (scraping of the skin), laser (a laser is used to break up the tattoo ink on the skin) and salabrasion (the skin is rubbed aggressively with a salt or salt sanding block). The effectiveness of these procedures depends on the depth of the ink and the colors used. The deeper and the darker the ink, the more difficult the removal process will be.
Among the different methods used to remove a tattoo, the most common is the laser removal. Here, a laser beam is used and is manipulated by the surgeon. The laser beam has different width and different wavelength (or color) which can accommodate different sizes and colors of tattoo. The technique in using a laser beam is precise focusing so to prevent damaging the surrounding skin.
How much Does Laser Tattoo Removal Cost?
The size of the tattoo determines the length of the treatment. Larger tattoos are much harder to remove thus would need more laser sessions than the smaller tattoos. Smaller tattoos can be removed in just two sessions while larger ones may exceed more than six sessions. Those who underwent laser removal described their sensation during the procedure as a rubber band snapping on the skin. After the procedure, a mild sunburn may be felt. The tattoo will not be completely removed but will just become lighter. The cost of a laser tattoo removal can range from $100 (small and single colored tattoo) to $500 (large and multicolored tattoo) per session. It should be noted that the price of tattoo removal depends on the competency of the one removing it, the equipment, and other materials that will be used (such as anesthesia). You can always talk to your surgeon or dermatologist of choice for more updated pricing of laser tattoo removal. Always check the certificates or license of the one removing your tattoo to ensure safety and professional management.