It’s only natural that with more and more people getting inked, we also see more instances of unwanted tattoos. As people are increasingly getting last-minute tattoo designs – or artwork they thought for sure they’d love forever when they were eighteen, but find somewhat less exciting at thirty – the number of people choosing to get rid of tattoo designs is definitely rising. If you’ve got some ink that just doesn’t suit you anymore, you have a couple of options when it comes to getting rid of your tattoo. You can seek a cover-up design, adding more ink to turn to your current tattoo into something you like better, or you can opt for the laser tattoo removal technique to remove the old ink entirely. The option you choose will depend on your needs and level of comfortability with each procedure.

Getting a Cover Up

If you’re tired of the tattoo you have now, but still in love with the idea of having ink in that spot, you can have a cover-up done. This process involves sitting down with your tattoo artist, and planning out a design that will cover the image you have with a new design that’s more to your tastes. When coming up with design ideas, bear in mind that the cover-up will have to be larger than what you have now. You should also be mindful of color – a watercolor butterfly tattoo may be gorgeous, but it won’t be too effective for covering up a black ink outline of your ex’s name. A cover-up tattoo generally needs to be darker than the original ink.

Once you have something in mind, your artist will work to ensure that the new artwork lays on your body in such a way that it covers up your old design. Keep in mind that a cover-up piece may cost a bit more than a regular tattoo, as the artist has to put forth more effort when it comes to creating the design. The healing process may also be longer when more ink is involved.

Having Your Tattoo Removed

You also have the option to get rid of the whole tattoo completely. Maybe you dislike the placement, it would be difficult to cover over, or you’ve just decided that tattoos aren’t for you. Tattoo removal used to be a painful and risky procedure, but in today’s era, laser tattoo removal is quite accessible and has very minimal side effects. In a nutshell, this process uses laser pulses to break up the particles in your ink into tiny fragments, which can then be removed from your body.

Thanks to advances in technology, you can erase an unwanted tattoo as if it was never there, with no permanent damage to your skin. The process does take multiple treatments depending on the size and amount of color in your tattoo; but innovations like Pico technology allow tattoo removal lasers to work quickly and efficiently, and most tattoos can be removed in a mere three to six sessions. Pico technology is safe for all skin types, and you can instantly resume your day-to-day routine after treatment.

Set up a consultation to determine how many treatments you’ll need. Removal treatments can vary based on your skin type, the color and size of your tattoo, and how recently the tattoo was done. If you want to remove your ink for good, laser removal is your best bet.

The Best of Both Worlds

More often, tattoo artists are actually recommending that if you do want a new tattoo design, you should opt for laser removal as well. If you want to remove your tattoo and replace it with another image, getting laser treatments can make the process a whole lot easier. In some cases, you won’t need to get the old tattoo fully removed, but getting some laser treatments can lighten it enough to make it easy to cover with new ink.

Whether you’re looking to fully remove all of your tattoos, or simply get rid of one older design, both cover-up and laser removal techniques are valid choices. Do your research into the costs, success rates, and after care of both options, so you can make an informed decision that’s best for your situation, and your skin.

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