I have a small tattoo on my bikini line and I think I want to remove it and put it elsewhere. I saw online people use salt (mixed with water) at home to remove small tattoos. Is that safe? What are the pros and cons of doing it this way vs laser treatment?
Is It Safe to Remove a Small Tattoo at Home with Salt? (photo)
Doctor Answers (4)
Home Remedies for Tattoo Removal
Using a salt and water mix to abrade the skin is not only an ineffective way to attempt to remove a tattoo, but it's also potentially harmful. You'll be irritating the epidermis (uppermost layer of your skin), causing inflammation and leaving the area prone to infection. You will not reach the dermis (the location where ink is placed in a tattoo) and if you did, you'd be causing much more harm than good. The simplest, MOST effective technique for tattoo removal is a pigment laser such as the Q-Switch Alexandrite. I recommend you find an experienced and knowledgable physician to help you get rid of the tattoo.
Best of luck!
Home tattoo removal
I believe what you are talking about is salabrasion, which is essentially removing the tattoo with a salt slurry. This is an abrasive technique that will remove all the layers of the skin down to the layer where the ink is residing. Basically you end up with a bad road rash in the area, which can have unsightly scars. I would recommend laser tattoo removal with the latest technology, as the scarring is minimall with this technique. At our medical spa and laser center, Chic Esthetiq, we use the Revlite SI laser tattoo removal system. Instead of the the ink particle absorbing the thermal energy, the laser will photoacoustically shatter the ink particles, which can lead to less thermal damage from the laser.
Please don't try this at home.
Tattoos penetrate to the dermis, the deep layer of the skin. In order to remove this pigment, you must go deep. Not only would it hurt to do what you are suggesting, but it will also likely leave you with a scar that is worse than the tattoo. You should consult with a physician who is qualified to remove the tattoo with a laser. I have added a link below with more information from my website and a video.
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Tattoo Removal at Home with Salt
Your best option is to see a board-certified dermatologist to examine the tattoo and provide your best treatment options.
Using one of the Q-switched lasers for removal of pigmented lesions and tattoos can remove the tattoo with minimal risk of scarring. Basically, the energy from these particular lasers is more avidly absorbed by the pigment in the tattoo. This energy shatters the pigment, which is carried away by the body's cells. In my opinion removal with one of these specific lasers (e.g. YAg, Alexandrite or Ruby) is the best way to remove a tattoo with minimal scarring.
There are other options including excision of the tattoo, dermabrasion (or salabrasion) of the tattoo, burning off of the tattoo with electrocautery/laser/chemical. These have higher risks of scarring or textural/pigmented changes to the skin.
Do-at-home salabrasion is a bad idea. Risks include scarring, infection, incomplete removal of pigment, foreign-body reaction, etc.
In my opinion your best option is to see that dermatologist with extensive experience with lasers and tattoo removal and discuss your options. Good luck.
Web reference: http://www.dermatology-center.com
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.
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