Everyone makes mistakes, and some mistakes (such as tattoos) are fairly visible and can last a lifetime. Fortunately, you do have the option to remove your tattoos. However, you should carefully consider the pros and cons before committing to tattoo removal:
How does tattoo removal work?
The short answer is lasers. The long answer is that tattoo removal methods have varied dramatically throughout history and the usage of lasers is simply the most recent method to be developed. In a few more years, it is not inconceivable that a newer and better method of tattoo removal could be developed and popularized.
Specifically, lasers remove the colored pigments in your skin in order to remove the image of the tattoo. Not all pigments are created equal and lasers are much more efficient at removing darker pigments. A black tattoo is usually going to be a lot easier to remove than a tattoo that contains yellows or greens.
The main draw of laser tattoo removal is that it is a lot more effective than other methods, such as dermabrision (removing the tattoo via abrasion in a process similar to sandpapering), salsabrision (abrasion via salt), or trichloroacetic acid (an acid that burns the skin off until the pigment is gone). However, it still has some downsides.
What are the drawbacks of laser tattoo removal?
Although it may be less painful than some other methods of removal, laser removal still hurts quite a bit. In some cases, it may hurt much more than the process of getting the tattoo in the first place. You may also bleed or develop blisters due to the destructive nature of the lasers.
Anesthetic is often offered, but that will only prevent the short term pain during the removal. You will likely still have some residual pain after the procedure regardless of whether or not you got anesthesia. On top of that, anesthesia will add to the cost of the removal process. If you are watching what you spend, you might not want to shell out the extra cash for temporary comfort.
Finally, there is a chance that laser removal will either be unable to remove the tattoo completely or that it will lead to discoloration in your skin. You'll have to carefully consider the possibility that some portion of your tattoo might remain after the removal process. Discolorations can last anywhere from a few days to years, so you might need to prepare yourself for that possibility.
Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of this method of removal can help you decide if this is the best option for you.