Other methods for tattoo removal
Tattoo removal with nanosecond laser
Tattoo removal with nanosecond lasers, such as a Q-switched ruby laser or Q-switched Nd:YAG laser, was the standard for many years, but it puts a lot of stress on the skin. This is because of the heat generated and the many sessions required. In comparison to the picosecond laser, there are also clear disadvantages with regard to healing. Those who have their tattoos removed with a nanosecond laser sometimes have to put up with several years of treatment.
Tattoo removal with erbium or CO₂ laser
Both methods were not developed for tattoo removal, but rather for the removal of warts and birthmarks. The background is the removal of skin layers instead of a direct effect on the colour pigments. This form of tattoo laser removal increases the risk of scarring.
Tattoo removal with electricity or diathermy
As with laser tattoo removal, removing tattoos with electricity generates too much heat. The colour pigments are burnt, but the skin is usually burnt as well. The method is both painful and risky (e.g. because of infections and scarring) and it also takes longer than contemporary approaches.
Tattoo removal with waterjet cutting
Before Waterjet-Cutting, a general anaesthetic is administered, as the pain of this treatment would otherwise be unbearable. A jet of water and enormous pressure is used to cut into the skin and remove the layers of skin containing the tattoo. This method is a real operation with all the risks involved and certainly one of the most unsuitable methods to remove a tattoo.
Tattoo removal by surgery
An alternative to waterjet cutting is working with local anaesthesia. This method is sometimes still used for small tattoos and the wound is closed by transplanting skin. The disadvantage is scarring.
Tattoo removal by dermabrasion
In dermabrasion, the skin is abraded, which is also done under local anaesthesia. Here too, scars are the norm.
Acid for tattoo removal
The acid approach is more theoretical. Nevertheless, there are providers here and there who actually introduce acid into the skin, causing inflammation. The healing process will transport the colours to the surface of the skin, but there will also be scars.
Lastly, many people choose to merely change the tattoo and not have it removed. This is called a cover-up tattoo, but it must be both larger and darker than the original tattoo. Previous tattoo removal by means of a picosecond laser is certainly possible and advisable in order to allow for better touch-up work.