Here are your four options for getting rid of the tattoo you now hate:
- Cover up tattoo
Cover up tattoo
If you still want to have a tattoo, just not that one, you should consider covering it with a bigger, gnarlier tattoo. The obvious problem is that you have to think of one that will cover the old one and that you will like better so that you don't have to get rid of it five years down the road. Therefore, this decision is even more difficult than your first tattoo was, because you have to choose something that either incorporates or blocks out the old tattoo. Them's some parameters. Your tattoo artist should be of help here, if you've found a good one by now.
Cover-ups are about the same cost as getting a new tattoo (see Can you afford it? in section 2) except that it will almost always be custom work. It will probably take longer, too, as the work must be done very carefully.
Cut that sucker right out of there. You get a physician to remove the skin with the tattoo and suture the sides together. It's relatively cheap, but it won't work on really large tattoos and it will definitely leave a noticeable scar. There are two ways to remove a tattoo through excision. First, a physician can place a small balloon under the skin which is inflated so that the tattooed skin gradually stretches. When it has stretched out enough, the physician cuts the skin and stitches it up, leaving a thin scar. Second, the physician can simply cut out the skin in small patches and sew it together, which can create significant scarring.
This is fairly nasty. The skin is scraped or "sandpapered" off or, alternatively but no more appealingly, chemicals are applied, after which the skin is peeled off. This is time-consuming, but it scars less than excision and it costs less than lasers.
This is probably the best method, as laser technology has improved significantly. It doesn't hurt and it has a pretty good success rate. However, it costs a lot and it can still cause scarring or discoloration of the skin. A laser removal session usually costs about $300 and it can take five or more sessions to remove a tattoo. Lasers are less effective at removing lighter colors such as green or yellow, so if your tattoo contains those you could be looking at a lot of money and a lot of hours in the chair. Most laser removal specialists will provide you with a free initial consultation, in which they will tell you how much the removal is likely to cost.Peace be with you, friends, as you select, get, and remove your very own tattoo. And if, after reading this article, our sage advice has led to your decision not to get a tattoo, peace be with you too. Get a nose ring instead.