How to remove an unwanted tattoo?


There can be many reasons for removing tattoos during one’s lifetime. A little pain or the possibility of superficial scarring from tattoo removal can sometimes seem meaningless compared to the burden of an unwanted tattoo.
If you are carrying a symbol of a loved one and you have an important person in your life with a different name, or you have a problem at work because of your tattoo, you should become well informed about removal methods, treatment and potential consequences.
There are several ways for removing tattoos.

Laser tattoo removal

Laser removal consists of a laser beam penetrating the skin and breaking compact particles of ink into tiny fragments. This process speeds up the natural process of removing foreign color particles through the immune system.

Lasers have one wave length which can only eliminate a certain type of pigment. This is why one laser cannot remove all colors in a multi-colored tattoo at the same time. It used to take up to 2 years to achieve the effect of total or partial removal of images from the skin. Newer generations of lasers perform this procedure much faster and with greater precision. Unfortunately, not even the latest generation lasers can guarantee complete color removal.

Immediately after the treatment, there is slight swelling and a burning sensation at the treated site, a whitish scab usually appears the day after the treatment. The tattoo begins to fade after 7 days and this phase lasts for the next 4 to 6 weeks. The number of treatments is individual and depends on the type of ink used. Professional tattoo ink colors are the easiest for laser removal. Today, even tattoo methods are changing to use colors which are better suited for laser removal.

More information on tattoo removal can be found here…


Dermabrasion rarely leaves no scarring. In most tattoos, the ink is located in the dermis, the third layer of skin. Dermabrasion is the mechanical removal of the skin with diamond wheel and is often used as a method in widespread acne scars or deep wrinkles. In tattoos, the removal of the third skin layer is always followed with changed skin pigmentation or scarring.

Surgical tattoo removal

Surgical tattoo removal always leaves a clear scar. If the tattoos are small, it can be considered as a suitable method, but if the tattoos are larger in size, the scar would not be aesthetically acceptable.


Salabrasion is a very old method of skin abrasion and treatment of the selected area with salt. By abrading the skin, top skin layers are removed, and the salt draws out the pigments of the tattooed image. Scars are very common and the pain level so high that this procedure can hardly be related to the medical removal of ink.

Removal of tattoos by mesotherapy

Mesotherapy or injection of active substances into the skin cannot remove a tattoo, but it can fade out the pigment by breaking the compactness of the ink particles.

Not everyone is a candidate for tattoo removal. Persons who have responded to tattoos with keloids or hypertrophic scars can expect an even stronger reaction during the removal treatment. Also, the patient must have a lot of patience and discipline for the tattoo removal process. Peeling or removing scabs or sun exposure is strictly forbidden during the treatment. The process takes months to complete. The ink colors fade during each subsequent month. Whitish areas can appear at the site of the pigment, as well as hyperpigmentation on the treated skin (especially in darker-skinned individuals). Complete removal of the ink sometimes isn’t possible, and it is also impossible to prevent the outcome before starting the treatment. Black tattoos are more easily removed than red or yellow ones. A thick tattoo requires more treatments in order to remove it completely.

Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade