History of Tattoo Removal

For as long as humans have been able to sharpen objects to the point where they can piece the skin, tattoos have been a function of status, wealth, and artistry.  Some of the very earliest mummies discovered by archeologists have tattoos up and down their skin, most notably the frozen Iceman who died over six thousand years ago.

Cultures usually reserved tattoos for the very rich since the pigments needed to create a picture were highly expensive, while the amount of time needed to imbed thousand of needle pinpricks required paying a hefty sum to the artists.  Tattoos that were once considered permanent have only recently been able to be removed by doctors.

In The Beginning…

Prehistoric tattoos could only be removed by painting over them with a new tattoo or completely tearing the skin off to form scar tissue.  The ancients believed that tattoos could be removed by adding wine, citrus juices, pressing garlic on the paint, or even applying bird dung to the area.  Though these methods did not work, they did not stop many new schemes for removal to pop up.

As Times Advanced, The History Of Tattoo Removal Got Rough

Since the only way to remove a tattoo without using modern methods of lasers is to remove the piece of skin it is inked on, it was necessary to use a form of abrasion to remove the ink.  Through the Renaissance Era, when tattoos were applied to members of guilds, armies, and ship crews, it would be extremely painful to remove a tattoo once it had been committed to the epidermis.  A fine wire could be used to irritate the skin and draw the ink, though it nearly always resulted in a scar tissue forming.

A Highly Volatile History Of Tattoo Removal

As chemistry became more advanced it was possible to use trichloroacetic acid in order to burn off the tattooed area.  Since this removed only the top layer of the skin, it did not leave a permanent scar tissue as the skin re-grew over time.  This method was still extremely painful, however, and extremely liable to infection.

Not until the development of lasers could dermatologists vaporize the ink beneath the low layers of skin, allowing for efficient removal once the ink had become fragmented.  One of the first operations that utilized laser surgery in order to remove a tattoo was recorded in Massachusetts General Hospital in 1990.  Since then, tattoo removal has exploded in popularity even as the cost of the procedure has remained fairly high.

If you need laser tattoo removal, you do not need to use pre-historic methods of skin removal or paint over it.  Instead, you can use our services to find the doctors who can best help your skin look and feel better.


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