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Can all tattoos be removed?

Most dermatologic surgeons warn patients that complete tattoo removal is not possible. Tattoos are supposed to be permanent. Removing them is difficult at best. Few surgeons guarantee complete removal. Still, several successful methods exist for effective tattoo removal. The degree of remaining color or blemishes depends on several factors, including the size of the tattoo, its location, the individual's ability to heal, the method used to apply the tattoo and how long it has been in place. A tattoo applied by an experienced artist might be easier to remove. A more experienced artist can evenly inject the ink into the same level of skin. New tattoos might be more difficult to remove than older ones.

Doctors say they can't predict the degree of removal. They generally don't know which of the many tattoo inks available today were used. As many as 100 different types of tattoo inks are available. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently considers tattoo pigments "color additives," and they are intended only for application to the skin's top layer. If you consult with a removal specialist, take along a list of questions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.