It seemed like a good idea at the time, right?! But if that painful couple of hours spent in the company of your friendly, local tattoo artist and his tattoo machine
has left you with nothing but regrets, don't despair because there are options out there.
Whether your ink was the result of a drunken night out, a misguided tribute to a wild holiday or the name of an ex-lover, help is not too far away.
So what are your options? Let's look at complete removal first:
There are a number of tattoo removal options out there however most of them are inadvisable and can end up making a bad or unwanted tattoo look a lot worse. Most people would strongly advise against Dermabrasion (where the top layer of skin is sanded away) and excision (where the tattoo is literally cut out of the skin - ouch!)
Tattoo removal creams are now widely available however opinion varies wildly on these with some users claiming their tattoo has faded drastically and others seeing no results whatsoever.
Reviews aside, removal cream is the cheapest method of potential removal and could be worth a try if you don't have the money to spend on the most popular and successful way to say goodbye to your tattoo: laser removal.
Tattoo removal by laser has been around for a while and has enabled a huge amount of people to rid themselves of ink they lived to regret. If you're desperate to lose a tribute to a band you've grown out of, have a tattoo that's holding you back career-wise or some ink you just plain hate, this can be an option. There are loads of laser removal clinics out there as a quick Google will show you but the downside to laser removal is that, ironically, it will be more expensive and more painful than getting your tattoo ever was.
You will need to make repeated visits, the pain has been described as being akin to having elastic bands snapped repeatedly against your skin, and the whole process is extremely expensive.
So what if you can't face the thought of more pain, don't have wads of cash but are still desperate to rid yourself of those Chinese characters that you thought said 'Peace and Love' but actually turned out to be 'Monkey Hotel'?!
How about a cover-up? A cover-up does exactly what it says on the tin - it's a new tattoo cleverly designed to cover over your old tattoo. Of course your new design depends, to an extent, on the shape and colours of your original one - you can't cover a dark blue flower with a yellow sun, for example.
Make sure you pick a skilled artist who has experience with cover-ups (they should have examples displayed on the walls of their studio or in their photo albums) and he or she will be able to suggest and design something to your liking that will do the job effectively. And the cost should not be more, or much more, than getting a regular tattoo.
So, if you hate your tattoo but you're fine with having one, a cover-up is probably your best, and cheapest, bet but if you need to get rid of that design you wish you'd never had on your wrist, neck or other highly visible body part, then you may have to take the plunge and start looking into laser removal.
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