Removing cosmetic tattoos/makeup tattoos is not as easy as regular ink tattoos. Sometimes the tattoo cannot be completely removed, but only faded. This is because the types of pigments used – iron oxide or organic pigments – are very, very small particles, whereas regular tattoo inks are bigger.
The point of makeup tattooing is not for it to last forever, but for it to last a while. Your ageing face will need different things to get the best out of it, for example tattooed-on eyebrows will end up saggy, but you can get an instant brow-lift by getting a new eyebrow line tattooed on – once the old one has faded away.
But, life isn’t always this simple. If you find yourself wishing your makeup tattoos away, due to a botch job or a change of heart, we have some options for you to consider.
Find other options before laser
If you can possibly avoid having to go through the removal procedure, this is preferable and sometimes possible. For example, if your eyebrows can grow over the old tattoo lines, do that. Then, we can see what areas of the brow line need to be removed, as it may be far less than the full brow. It may also mean you can get an extra tattoo to fill in the gaps, instead of getting it removed. Being flexible is important – there are many ways to have beautiful eyebrows.
Colour correction may also be an option – a fading tattoo may look dull and unappealing, but with a bit more density to the colour, can come back to life. Colour correcting also works well, to fool the eye.
Lip and eyeliner and beauty spots can also be lightened or removed. Laser on these types of tattoos is much more difficult than regular tattoos, due to the sorts of ink used.
Removing pigment via laser
Lasers only work on certain colours, and the result of lasers on cosmetic tattoos can be that the tattoo discolours and goes grey – not gone. Sometimes, however, lasers can remove these tattoos without problem, but you’ll need to do a test patch to see if your particular tattoo will respond well or not. The results may also be patchy, if your original tattoo colour is not uniform.
Another option is to utilise functions of other lasers, including ablative lasers which scrub off the layers of skin, revealing new skin underneath.
Other pigment-removal tools include saline, clay and glycolic acid. These techniques aim to draw the pigment out of the skin, then remove it via a scab, which then falls off, like a chemical peel-type action. Removing a cosmetic tattoo is a process so takes patience, time, and money.
Talk to your dermatologist
Your doctor will be able to evaluate your skin and tattoos, to see what the best course of action is for your particular problem.