We all have regrets, but some of these regrets are more permanent than others. Unfortunately, the accidental tattoo is a very permanent regret, and one that a surprising number of Americans share. There are many times in life in which spontaneity is positive, but getting a tattoo is not something that should be done on the spur of the moment. Unfortunately, it is often done for a number of spontaneous reasons, none of which tend to hold up very well once the excitement of the moment has passed. So what are some reasons a tattoo might be considered “accidental”, and what is the process like for removing them?
As a Joke
Yes, people do get tattoos as jokes—and then realize they will be stuck with that joke for the rest of their lives. While some people learn to live with the mistake, others depend on modern technology to keep the past in the past with tattoo removal.
On a Dare
Similar to the above scenario, sometimes people just cannot refuse a challenge. Tattoos that are chosen on a dare or as a joke are often not anything close to the type of tattoo the recipient would choose for themselves—and therefore usually have to go.
Often a factor in the above two scenarios, alcohol can lead to poor judgement and even poorer decision-making. For most people, the idea of getting very drunk and waking up the next morning with a brand new tattoo is the stuff of nightmares, but it has been known to happen, and it is not an easy drunk mistake to fix. What takes one night of revelry to gain can take months to lose.
At the Wrong Parlor
While not an accidental tattoo per se, getting a tattoo with a tattoo artist who does not translate the vision to the “canvas” can create a disaster instead of a point of pride. Many people who are not happy with the outcome of their tattoos choose to undergo the removal process.
The Removal Process
So now that we know some of the reasons people get accidental tattoos, what is the process like for getting those tattoos removed? It all starts with a special laser. This laser uses different wavelengths of light to treat different colors of tattoo ink, and works by breaking up the pigment in the skin. This occurs during a brief office treatment that often takes 10 minutes or less.
During the treatment, patients will experience some discomfort (similar to hot grease or a rubber band hitting the skin), but this can be soothed with topical anesthetic if desired. Following treatment, the area will feel sunburned, and some aftercare is required to make sure the skin heals properly and does not scar. The body slowly disposes of the tattoo ink over a period of weeks after the treatment, and the tattoo will gradually fade. Treatments are spaced several months apart, and at least a few sessions will be necessary for good results, so the treatment process can take a long time to complete, sometimes over a year. Patients need to be realistic about both the timeframe for removal and the amount of improvement that can be made in the tattoo.
Of course, the moral of this story is to not get tattoos unless you have really thought it through carefully and picked a reputable artist to create the design. Of course, we do not live in a perfect world, and mistakes do happen—which is why we have developed this powerful tool for tattoo removal.
Choosing the Right Provider
If you are considering tattoo removal for an accidental or otherwise unwanted tattoo, then you will need to be careful in choosing your provider. There are many clinics that offer laser tattoo removal, but these providers do not have necessary training and experience to create good outcomes and avoid complications like scarring.
If you would like to set yourself up for success, choose a board certified plastic surgeon to perform your treatments. Plastic surgeons are typically very experienced with laser treatments, and can provide safe and effective results for patients. It is best to choose a specialist if possible, like Dr. Stuart Bentkover of New England Tattoo Removal. Dr. Bentkover has over two decades of experience in laser treatments and offers impressive tattoo removal results using the latest lasers. For more information, call Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Bentkover.