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Tattoo Removal Vs. Tattoo Cover-Ups

Published December 12, 2023
By Celebrity Ink

According to a 2018 study, Australia is the fourth-most popular country in the world for its residents having tattoos, with 43% of the population having at least one tattoo. However, one-third of those regret getting their tattoos to some extent.

So, what can be done when you regret or no longer resonate with a tattoo on your body? There are two options: laser tattoo removal or tattoo cover-ups.

This article explores the technical processes, cost, time, potential risks and outcomes associated with laser tattoo removal and tattoo cover-ups to guide you in making a decision that aligns with your needs, expectations and budget.

Whether you’re contemplating erasing a past tattoo or transforming it into a new piece of art, this comprehensive guide aims to illuminate the path ahead in your tattoo journey.

Laser Tattoo Removal

As the most effective way to remove a tattoo, laser tattoo removal is becoming increasingly popular. But how does laser tattoo removal work?

During the laser tattoo removal process, the practitioner guides a laser over your tattoo area. Unlike a laser pointer that produces a continuous beam of light, a tattoo removal laser produces pulses of light energy. Each energy pulse penetrates the skin and is absorbed by the tattoo ink. As the tattoo ink particles absorb the energy, they heat up and shatter into tiny fragments.

Over the weeks following the laser tattoo removal treatment, the body’s immune system flushes the tattoo ink particles away from the location, lightening the appearance of the tattoo. Each treatment breaks down more and more of the tattoo until none remains.

The number of treatments you will need to remove the tattoo completely is based on your tattoo's age, size and colours. However, laser tattoo removal is not a quick fix; it generally requires several sessions over several months.

Side effects of laser tattoo removal

Laser tattoo removal is often safer than other tattoo removal treatments, such as excision or dermabrasion. Due to this, there are few side effects. However, you should know about them before getting laser tattoo removal.

  • There is a chance you will have a permanent scar.
  • It’s unlikely that your tattoo will be completely removed as certain colours respond better to the laser treatment than others.
  • You may end up with hypopigmentation, meaning that the skin that has been treated is paler than the surrounding skin. Or, you could end up with hyperpigmentation, where the treated skin is darker than the surrounding skin.

When is laser tattoo removal a good option?

When choosing whether laser tattoo removal is a good option, there are a few factors to consider, such as

  • The size and darkness of your tattoo may make it difficult to find a cover-up design you love. If that’s the case, then laser tattoo removal is your best option.
  • Laser tattoo removal is a lot more expensive than a cover-up tattoo. However, if you can’t find a cover-up tattoo design you love, laser tattoo removal is the best choice.

Tattoo Cover-Ups

The second option for wanting to remove or hide a tattoo you no longer love or regret is tattoo cover-ups.

While covering up a tattoo you no longer love with a new, fun design seems simple, the process is quite complex and tedious. Only some tattoos can be easily covered, and only some cover-up tattoo designs will work.

Here are some key aspects of tattoo cover-ups:

  • Design considerations: The new design for a cover-up tattoo needs to be carefully planned. A general rule of thumb is that the new tattoo design will be twice as large and twice as dark as the tattoo it’s covering up. Due to this, you may be limited in your design choices.
  • Tattoo artist: Another thing to consider is that not all tattoo artists are trained in cover-up tattoos. It requires a particular skill set to effectively conceal an old tattoo while creating a new design that is aesthetically pleasing.
  • Ink density and colour: Cover-up tattoos often use dense, dark ink to overshadow the old tattoo. Lighter colours are less effective in covering up existing ink.
  • Limitations: There are limitations to what can be achieved with a cover-up. For example, very large, dark or heavily inked tattoos might be more challenging to cover. In this case, laser tattoo removal is your best option.

When is it a good option to get a cover-up tattoo?

When choosing whether getting a tattoo cover-up is a good option, there are a few factors to consider, such as:

  • If you have a light tattoo and don’t want to get laser tattoo removal, a tattoo cover-up would work well, as it’s easy to cover up lightly coloured tattoos.
  • If you have a tattoo and want to hide it with a new tattoo in the same spot, then a tattoo cover-up is a great choice.
  • A cover-up tattoo is a great option if you want to add a new piece without the multiple sessions laser tattoo removal requires.

Tattoo Cover-Up Options

When considering tattoo cover-up options, the approach largely depends on the existing tattoo and what you hope to achieve.

Here are some common common tattoo cover-up ideas:

  • Completely cover up the tattoo with a new design: This involves creating a new, larger and darker design that completely covers your old tattoo. Popular choices for complete cover-ups include floral patterns, tribal designs, or larger, more detailed imagery.
  • Incorporate the old tattoo into a new design: Instead of completely covering the old tattoo, this option integrates the existing design into a new and larger piece. Your tattoo artist will require skill and creativity to ensure the old tattoo blends seamlessly with the new design.
  • Transformation or modification: The existing tattoo can sometimes be modified or enhanced instead of completely covered. This may involve adding new elements, altering the style or expanding the original design.

If you have tattoo cover-up ideas in mind, be sure to let your tattoo artist know so they can determine whether or not it can be done.

Get Tattoo Cover-Ups or Laser Removal at Celebrity Ink

Whether you’ve got a tattoo you no longer resonate with or completely regret, there are options.

Laser tattoo removal is the most effective way to remove a tattoo, as the energy pulses from the laser completely break down the ink pigments. On the other hand, if you don’t want to spend the money and time it takes to get laser tattoo removal, tattoo cover-ups are a great option.

No matter if you choose to get laser tattoo removal or a tattoo cover-up, we offer both services at Celebrity Ink.

Book a consultation at your nearest Celebrity Ink studio to see what we can do to get rid of your tattoo. We look forward to helping you on your tattoo removal/cover-up journey!

Get your next tattoo at Celebrity Ink

The team at Celebrity Ink can provide you with not only a tattoo that tells your story but also detailed aftercare information that goes beyond the question of how long does a tattoo take to heal.

Our team sets standards in tattoo design while working alongside you to bring your vision to life. Whether you’re seeking traditional tattoos, realistic designs, mandalas, or any other, we have artists specialising in a range of tattoo styles that can provide you with the tattoo you have envisioned.

Book a consultation to discuss your tattoo design, get in contact with the crew at Celebrity Ink, and we will lock you in for your next ink session.
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