The Unsettling History of Tattoo Removal February 11, 2020Cosmetic Treatments, Tattoo RemovalWestern Dermatology Consultants Dealing with an unwanted tattoo at Albuquerque’s Western Dermatology Consultants is straightforward: After an initial consultation, the patient will go through a series of treatment sessions that involve laser light applied to break down the ink in the skin. There are no incisions involved, and while the process isn’t exactly comfortable (getting the treatment has been compared to the feeling of a rubber band snapping against the tattooed area), it’s certainly well tolerated by just about everyone who wants to get rid of a formerly “permanent” body modification. The tattoo removal process has not always been so relatively simple, however. In times past, people simply had to live with their choice. Eventually, some tattooed folks who wanted to lose their lines turned to surgical excision. In these cases, someone with a scalpel or similar instrument physically cut the inked skin out of the patient’s body. This definitely removed the unwanted image—along with a good deal of tissue. It also typically left behind a significant scar. Less invasive, but also less reliable, was “sanding” the tattoo off by abrading the skin. While gentler than slicing the ink away, this method was middling effective. Eventually, researchers developed freezing as an option, using the power of cold to chill the unwanted ink and surrounding cells. While this worked, it—like excision—often left behind a scar or similarly obvious patch of treated skin. For a significant number of people, this was preferable to the tattoo itself, but thankfully, such methods are no longer the only option. Technology has advanced to the point today that laser energy can quickly and effectively break down a wide range of ink colors, leaving behind clearer skin. There is still some risk of scarring, but the side effects are less dramatic than those caused by the treatments of yesteryear. One last note: Never try to remove an unwanted tattoo on your own—or even by bringing it to a tattoo parlor. Let a board-certified dermatologist (experienced in skin care, not just ink) help you plan your ideal strategy for erasing the ink from your life as thoroughly and safely as possible. Learn more about the advantages of modern tattoo removal at Western Dermatology Consultants. Call 505-855-9267 or request a consultation online.