Similar Treatments and Alternatives for Laser Tattoo Removal

Laser tattoo removal is considered to be among the safest and most effective tattoo removal procedures. However, if your medical condition doesn't allow you to undergo this treatment or you have a different reason not to choose lasers, you should look into some similar treatments and alternatives to remove your tattoo.


Dermabrasion is a technique that employs a sanding device which will get rid of a few layers of skin, thus making the tattoo less visible. This treatment is extremely painful and involves an extended recovery time, so it is not a popular choice. In addition, this type of treatment will not give impressive results, because the tattoo may fade, but will not be completely eliminated. This is due to the fact that the tattoo ink penetrates the deeper layers of the skin and these cannot be removed in a dermabrasion treatment.

Intense Pulsed Light Treatment (IPL)

IPL is a treatment that may be administered by a plastic surgeon, but it is also available in spas. The treatment is similar to the laser treatment, but instead of laser beams, it employs high intensity light. Some patients claim that IPL is less painful than laser tattoo removal, and the effects are similar. Several sessions of IPL are necessary for a complete removal of tattoos. IPL is a pricey treatment and you will be charged per pulse (between $7 and $15 per pulse), so the larger your tattoo, the more you will have to pay.

Skin Excision

Skin excision is a surgical procedure that involves removing the entire tattoo and stitching the skin. This method may work for smaller tattoos but is ineffective for larger ones, because there is need for skin grafting to replace the skin that is removed. The skin excision involves a lot of surgery risks and has a longer downtime than the laser treatment.

Skin Grafting

Skin grafting is a surgical treatment that may be combined with skin excision. The tattooed skin is removed and skin grafts are used to cover the area. The skin grafts may be taken from your inner thighs or may be taken from a donor. In addition to the surgery risks and potential complications, this procedure may also have another major risk: that of rejecting the graft. Immune system suppressants are administered to improve the chances of accepting the skin grafts.

Tattoo Removal Creams

Tattoo removal creams are available, but are not as effective as laser tattoo removal. These creams may fade the appearance of a tattoo, but will not be able to eliminate it. The advantage of these creams is the price and the fact that they are easy to apply. However, side effects are possible and the compounds of the creams may cause irritation or allergies.

Saline Injections

Saline injections may be used on tattoos, but these will fade the tattoos at best. This solution is more effective on older tattoos and is typically used by tattoo artists that are planning to cover one tattoo with another.

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