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Dermabrasion Tattoo Removal

Remove tattoos with cosmetic skin scraping


Procedure Summary

Surgery Type:


Procedure Duration:


Expected Results:

Removal of skin layers with unwanted tattoos

Recovery Duration:

Up to 6 months

First used:


Results Duration:




Average UK Cost:

£1000 - £5000

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Do you have a tattoo that, for whatever reason, you wish you could simply remove from your body? If so, you might want to consider dermabrasion tattoo removal. During the dermabrasion tattoo removal process the top layers of skin are carefully scraped away to remove the pigmented skin and encourage the growth of new, untainted skin.

Dermabrasion has been performed since the late 1950s and is normally used for facial cosmetic treatments, such as to minimise the appearance of fine wrinkles, scars and sun damage. Dermabrasion for tattoo removal is typically performed using a small, sterilised, electric sander.

What can dermabrasion tattoo removal do for you?

Reasons for tattoo removal vary from person to person. Some are concerned about the effect of their tattoos on their chances of employment, others have aesthetic concerns, such as tattoos that have become faded or stretched. In many cases, tattoos are simply regretted and their owners no longer want them on their body. As one dermabrasion patient commented, “When I was 18, the most important thing in the world to me was the rock band Led Zeppelin, so it seemed a good idea to have the name of the band tattooed along my forearm. Now, 20 years later, I’m not so sure! Thanks to dermabrasion tattoo removal, I was able to get rid of the tattoo – though I still enjoy the music!”

Dermabrasion is an effective method of removing unwanted tattoos but because each person and each tattoo is different, some tattoos can be harder to remove than others. Professionally applied tattoos are usually more easily removed than amateur tattoos because most amateur tattoos are applied at varying depths underneath the skin. You should bear in mind that some scarring can occur with dermabrasion.

Undergoing dermabrasion tattoo removal

A week or so prior to the procedure you will be asked to avoid taking any aspirin or similar drugs. This is to minimise any bleeding following the procedure. A small area of the tattoo will be numbed with a freezing agent before being abraded with a device called a dermatome, similar in size and appearance to an electric razor, to carefully ‘sand down’ layers of skin. Dermabrasion Tattoo RemovalAs the ink from most tattoos can be deeply imbedded in the layers of the dermis, the dermabrasion process can lead to permanent scars. Bleeding is also likely, so dressings will be applied immediately after dermabrasion to the affected area.

The healing process is usually complete within 2 weeks after the procedure, though some redness may be present for up to 3 months. In the 6 month period after undergoing dermabrasion you may experience a temporary burning sensation with some itching, swelling and redness. The treated area of your skin may be somewhat paler than the non-treated area. In addition, the ‘new’ skin will be acutely sensitivity to the sun and may well be unable to tan. All of these side-effects should be alleviated from 6 months to a year after the procedure has taken place, and then the positive results of the dermabrasion should be permanent. As with all cosmetic procedures, it is essential to follow the advice of your practitioner after the procedure. This will make the outcome as successful as possible and reduce the risk of complications.

One woman said after having a rose tattoo removed from her shoulder, “I felt embarrassed about my tattoo for a long time and always tried to cover it up. After the dermabrasion treatment I was left with some slight scarring but it doesn’t look bad at all, unlike the unmissable and unsightly tattoo.”

Who should carry out dermabrasion tattoo removal?

Dermabrasion tattoo removal should only be carried out by a plastic or cosmetic surgeon, or dermatologist, with relevant skills and experience in an establishment registered with the Healthcare Commission (in the UK). The cost of the procedure can be anything from £1,000 to several thousands of pounds depending on the size and nature of the tattoo being removed. If dermabrasion tattoo removal is something that you are considering, you can discuss all of the issues mentioned here in greater depth during a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist.

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