It sounds like something from the Dark Ages: As little as 20 years ago, one of the best ways to remove a tattoo called for the actual destruction of the skin. Your first option was salabrasion, a technique that used an abrasive tool to, quite literally, scrap the tattoo off the skin. (Ouch!) Your second, dermabrasion, wasn't much better: a rotary device was used to sand the tattoo away. Neither were all that effective — and they both hurt like hell and left scars.
Thankfully, we now have less barbaric means of removing dubious ink — all thanks to lasers. But as anyone who has searched “tattoo removal” online knows, there is an overwhelming number of treatment options, machines, and practitioners who promise to delete your ink in a flash. Suffice it to say, it’s hard to know where to start.
We talked to Andrew Miller, MD, a board certified plastic surgeon and laser specialist in New Jersey and New York City for a roadmap and definitive directions. Get everything you want to know about professional tattoo removal, ahead.