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All of us have done something that later in life wished we could undo, for many, this includes tattooing. Whether it is an image of the fairy sitting on a mushroom, the fire breathing dragon, or the name of someone you swore you would be with forever, now you have a change of heart.

I am sure that now you wish you would have listened to Mom when she said that one day you'll regret it. The good news is that today you can have that tattoo removed and it doesn't always require surgery.

However, we should state one thing up front, complete removal of a tattoo is near impossible. The entire point of getting a tattoo is that it is permanent. Most surgeons will even tell you that they can not guarantee complete removal.

However, there are removal techniques that have been proven to be very effective. Just how effective the methods are will depend on the experience of the artist that did your tattoo, how big it is, where it is located and your ability to heal. Believe it or not, the newer the tattoo, the more difficult it can be to remove. The more experienced the artist that did the tattoo, the easier it will be to remove.

There are a number of tattoo removal methods that can be performed that do not require cutting into the skin. The first is laser tattoo removal. This is the most common of the three techniques we are going to look at. Basically, the laser sends pulses of light at a very high concentration. They use different wave-lengths based on the colors of the tattoo.

Again, it can not be guaranteed that this will remove the tattoo 100%. It is a painful procedure, patients are normally given a local anesthetic gel prior to undergoing the laser treatment. However, the amount of pain experienced is dependent upon the pain threshold of the patient. It should also be noted that laser tattoo removal usually requires multiple treatments and can cause scarring, blisters, or scabs.

Then, we come to dermabrasion and salabrasion. These are methods of tattoo removal that have been around for a long time. Today they are usually used only when laser removal is not an option. Tattoo removal Dermabrasion is when the skin is basically sanded after being sprayed with a numbing solution. Salabrasion is very similar, except here they apply a salt water solution to the skin before they grind or abrade the skin. These two methods can be very painful, cause peeling and bleeding, and are not as effective as some other tattoo removal options.

There are also a number of "not as well known" techniques that are effective. There are do it yourself at home tattoo removal creams. The opinion on the effectiveness of tattoo removal cream varies. Most people are not even aware of the fact that the Tattoo Removal Institute does recommend a couple different creams that they state are very effective.

There is also TCA or trichloroacetic acid. This is an acid that you apply to the skin. Originally this acid was used to force the skin to exfoliate. This technique does not get rid of the tattoo overnight, it will slowly fade the tattoo. It's not painful like laser or dermabrasion, and has been used for years for numerous other skin imperfections from warts to stretch marks.

Another nonsurgical tattoo removal option is the Glycolic acid peel. This is more commonly known as Alpha Hydroxy Acid. This technique is becoming more widely accepted, it will fade the tattoo over time.