There are several reasons why people choose to have their eyebrow tattoos removed. Some are dissatisfied with the outcome, for others its a health issue, while others may feel they simply don’t work with ones personal needs or lifestyle anymore. Whatever the reason, tattoo removal is a difficult process that can be time consuming and expensive, and comes with its own set of potential problems. Below are several methods that are considered the most effective means of tattoo removal.
Be aware that results may vary in terms of effectiveness whereby complete removal is possible sometimes, but other times, the tattoo can only be lightened or intentionally faded. Also remember, a proper eyebrow tattoo uses semi-permanent ink that naturally fades over time and needs touched up about once a year. This is not the same as a tattoo in a regular tattoo parlor with permanent ink. That said, many of these techniques are in fact used for regular tattoos as well, and are not specified only for the removal of cosmetic makeup. The information provided is to help you discuss your options with your health advisor and certified permanent cosmetic professional (CPCP) about tattoo removal before deciding to go ahead with it.
Methods For Tattoo Removal.
- Laser Tattoo Removal – The most well known method is laser tattoo removal. In the past, CO2 lasers were used, but today’s removal techniques usually involve using either the Nd:YAG, Alexandrite, or Q-Switched lasers, which findings have shown are far less likely to discolor and/or damage the skin. Unfortunately, drawbacks with laser removal do exist. The laser treatment is first of all expensive. Average price per session is $150 and can take anywhere from 8-12 sessions. The cost to remove some tattoos can be upwards of $2000 or more in severe cases. This is exorbitant considering it probably only cost you about $350 to get the tattooed eyebrows in the first place. Also, lasers can only recognize certain colors, and can fade your tattoos to grey leaving the skin too light (called an echo) to remove the remainder of the tattoo. The waiting period between laser removal sessions is, on average, four (4) weeks. It can take up to ten treatments to remove the tattoos, depending on the patient’s age, health history, color, type, and amount of ink used. The depth of the tattoo is also usually taken into account.
- Glycolic Acid Eyebrow Tattoo Removal – Glycolic acid peels are popular. The process involves removing the top layers of skin with an acidic cocktail that after applied, causes dead skin to slough and peel off. Over time, new skin regrows in its place, and after several sessions, the tattoo lightens. Although this method can be done at home, it is highly recommended that you only have a certified professional do the procedure in a fully authorized facility. This is especially important when working with tattooed eyebrows, because for obvious reasons, you should never ever risk damage to your eyes.
- Dermabrasion – Dermabrasion should be considered an actual surgical procedure, and always performed by a certified professional. Used extensively prior to the advent of lasers, this method involves the wearing away of several skin layers using specialized tools such as crystals, brushes, diamonds, and sand paper. The procedure does require anesthesia, and includes risks of profuse bleeding, scarring, and infection. Dermabrasion is becoming more and more rare for eyebrow tattoo removal, and tattoo removal in general, because of advances in other technologies. As a result fewer specialists exist, but the cost is still comparatively low, so make sure to do your research about the quality of the doctor before you choose to get it done.
- Clay Tattoo Removal – Originally created as a means of pulling heavy oil out of sheep’s wool, Fuller’s clay, with it’s high magnesium oxide content has more recently been used as an affordable and effective tattoo color extractor. Mixed into a paste with lemon juice, the material is spread over the tattooed area and left to dry. The bleaching qualities of the clay diminish the pigment intensity overtime. This technique requires repeated use for several months as the pigment slowly fades. Like other methods, Fuller’s clay might do a great job fading the tattoo, but might not remove it completely. Costing around $10.00 a pound, Fuller’s clay is an easy option, but again it is highly recommended that you do not apply any materials onto the eyebrows (so close to the eyes) without a certified specialist present.
- Saline Tattoo Removal – A safe and successful method of eyebrow tattoo removal is saline tattoo removal. The procedure (also done by a certified professional) is almost identical to permanent makeup application, but instead of pigment, a saltwater/saline solution is injected into the brow area. As the saline is introduced, the ink is lifted and extracted out of the skin. Unlike other means of tattoo removal, the skin is kept intact using this procedure and its much less painful than others. Also, fewer treatments are necessary to achieve desired results. Waiting periods between sessions are about 4-6 weeks and cost is around $200 for both eyebrows.
- Tattoo Removal Creams – Creams are used extensively by professionals to help remove unwanted eyebrow tattoos. The benefit of creams is that they are effective in extracting all colors and not just darker shades simply by lifting the pigment up through the epidermis. A scab is formed and then exfoliates with pigment in it. Treatments are usually scheduled every 30 days or so until the ink completely fades. These sessions cost an average of $80 per session. The number of sessions needed depends on how the tattoo responds to removal and how light you want to it to be. Many of these creams contain trichloroacetic acid, also known as TCA. TCA is the same chemical used in chemical peels. If not used properly this chemical can cause blindness, so again, it is essential to only have them applied with a professional specialist present. They should also help assist you in deciding if any of these products are right for you and your goals. Using creams can require patience, as some of them may take months to lighten your tattoos, so be sure to ask your specialist about these quality brands:
7. Invasive Surgery – For many obvious reasons, this is the least desirable method and should be considered as a last resort for removing eyebrow tattoos and cosmetic makeup in general. Conditons for invasive surgery might only be applicable under extreme circumstances, such as the realization of cancer, for example. In addition to the pain and recovery period, invasive surgery also carries the risks of scarring, infection, deformities, and sometimes even death.
Alternatives To Tattoo Removal
For those who don’t have the time, money, or desire, to go through the process of eyebrow tattoo removal and cosmetic makeup removal, this is a list of basic alternatives that might be more helpful.
- Allow For Natural Regrowth – One alternative to the invasive procedure of removal (if its possible), is to simply allow your eyebrow hair to regrow and fill in the pigment thats not wanted anymore. This is a surprisingly effective solution for those who overly tweeze, wax, and thread their eyebrows. The best part though, is that its simple and free! Regrowth can take up to three months, and if certain tattooed areas remain, removal treatment can focus just on those specific areas rather than the whole brow. Ultimately, you are left with your own natural brow that you can modify as you see necessary.
- Change Color And Shape-Another alternative option is to add more modification to the shape or the color of the tattooed eyebrow. Especially if hair is sparse and can’t or wont grow back, adding lighter pigments and altering the shape with additional tattooing can fool the eye and bring a more satisfying result.
- Camouflage Color – Of all alternative methods, camouflage color, is the least effective and least recommended. In effect, the cosmetic tattoo artists simply applies tattoo flesh colored inks over darker pigments to lighten and cover them up. This may seem logical and easy, but it simply fades your existing tattoo and prevents removal with a laser. You will be left with a greyish faded looking tattoo that cannot be removed (lasers can’t detect it) but can still be seen visually.
Recovery And Aftercare
Recovery and aftercare in many respects is similar to that of permanent makeup application. The procedure might require topical anesthetic, but after it wears off, it is important to keep the removal areas clean and dry until scabbing and shedding occur naturally. This process will probably take approximately 10 days for each session to recover properly. Be sure to follow your removal specialist’s instructions carefully to help minimize the risk of adverse effects. Be sure to stay out of the direct sunlight and don’t use tanning beds. Don’t damage or scratch the skin, this could cause infection and scarring. The more you can leave the skin to heal on its own, the better, but healing ointment such as Aquaphor can be used to moisturize the skin and is recommended.
Success Rates And Tattoo Removal
Determining the success of eyebrow tattoo removal will depend on several factors including type of ink and color used. Black, blue, red, and orange, are considered the most extractable. Lighter colors like yellow, flesh color (used in camouflage color), and white, are much more difficult to extract and have a limited removal success rate. This would mean that the tattoo faded noticeably, but wasn’t able to be removed completely. It is also recommended that you have a review of your complete medical history before a removal procedure. Overall health helps determine success, but other factors, such as skin tone, immune deficiencies, and pregnancy can limit measuring outcomes.