If you are wondering how to remove tattoos at home and need to do so, brace yourself: It’s a long and painful process, but it can be done. Given that getting a tattoo is a painful experience, a process that involves embracing the pain and owning it, so is removing a tattoo. Tattoos can be removed with procedures using lasers, but it is expensive, sometimes more expensive than getting a tattoo.
It is said that about half of the people who have tattoos have considered having theirs removed. This is not strange, as changes in life status, trends, and lifestyles sometimes have a ripple effect on other areas of our lives, including our bodies. A different job, a new relationship, and sometimes a geographical move can make sporting a tattoo inappropriate. It’s good if clothing can cover the tattoo. Otherwise, tattoo removal might be a serious consideration or necessity. So if you want your tattoo removed at home, you can do it yourself as detailed below.
Salabrasion. This is a method of using a saline solution to rub off the top layer of the skin and the tattoo along with it. As you can imagine, this is a long and painful process. But it is cheap and quite manageable if you are willing to work in stages and have the patience to keep doing it until the tattoo is removed completely.
Clean the tattooed area by shaving and washing it with soap and water. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Use a piece of soft cloth (bandage gauze or a soft cotton T-shirt) wrapped around your index finger. Wet with water, just enough to make it thoroughly wet but not dripping. Dip the tip of your finger in table salt; be warned that rock or coarse salt will be more painful. Thoroughly salinate the cloth until the salt stops dissolving in the water. Rub the salted cloth over your tattoo vigorously for 20 or 30 minutes, or as long as you can stand it until the skin gets very red. Allow the area to dry. Do not touch or allow it to come in contact with anything that may cause infection. With clean fingers, apply a thin coat of antibiotic cream onto the area. Cover with sterile gauze. Check after three days. After the skin has healed, give it a few more days of rest, and then repeat the process. Do this until the tattoo fades or disappears.
Use a home tattoo removal cream. There are many of these available at supermarkets, drugstores and online. When finding a cream to try, make sure the active ingredients do not include hydroquinone and trichloroacetic acid, which may have serious side effects and be riskier than the tattoo removal itself. The effectiveness of these creams depends a great deal on the consistency and duration of use. Since the effect is so little and slow, many people stop using them after a while. But this is less painful than salabrasion and less expensive (although it isn’t cheap) than laser treatment. If you decide to try a cream, give it six to 12 months before expecting to see a visible change. Even then, it may not be all that successful.
When undergoing tattoo removal, the temptation to give up may be as intense as the pain it entails. Thus, if you can afford it, you may want to opt for laser treatment. Or if the problem is not the tattoo itself but the design or message (an ex’s name? an outdated design? ugly workmanship?), you can simply have it tattooed over with a new one that will obscure the offending text or drawing. Otherwise, you can choose either of the two options above on how to remove tattoos at home.