How Do I Choose the Best Tattoo Removal Cream?

Emily Espinoza

To choose the best tattoo removal cream, you need to consider what type of tattoo you are trying to remove, the ingredients in the cream, and features offered by the product. Different removal creams may work better for different tattoos depending on their location, age, and color. There are a few different approaches to tattoo removal, and each one has different risks as well as advantages to consider. Additional ingredients, creams, or devices are included with some brands of tattoo removal cream and may make the process easier or more pleasant for you.

Woman with tattoos on her arm and back.
Woman with tattoos on her arm and back.

The first step to choosing the right tattoo removal cream is to think about the characteristics of the tattoo that you are trying to remove. Make sure you consider how old it is and what colors are in it as some treatments are more or less effective with certain colors. In order to optimize your results, look for a cream that is meant to work well with the specific colors in your tattoo. Another factor to consider is what you hope for the area to look like afterwards. If you plan to re-cover the area with a new tattoo, make sure you get a cream that is safe to use prior to tattooing.

Large tattoo being applied.
Large tattoo being applied.

Tattoo removal cream typically works by removing the inked skin cells and encouraging new growth, limiting the ability of skin cells to produce pigment, or some combination of the two. Naturally, the ingredients needed to achieve these effects can be rather harsh, so make sure that you look at all of the ingredients in any cream you consider. Trichloroacetic acid, or TCA, is used in some popular creams but is avoided by others because it can cause burning and is quite abrasive. Hydraquinone is a skin bleaching agent that may be used in some creams, but it is known to contribute to the development of skin cancer, so many people choose to avoid it. Regardless of what cream you choose, make sure that you are comfortable putting all of the ingredients on your skin and that whatever risk might come with it is worth the reward to you.

The exfoliating and chemical treatments that are usually involved in using a tattoo removal cream, can lead to irritation and dryness of the skin afterwards. For this reason, some products come with moisturizing ingredients or even separate moisture creams to help soothe the skin. Another feature to keep an eye out for is a special exfoliating treatment. In some products this may be a cream or gel, but in others it may be a tool similar to type used for microdermabrasion. Think about what features might make the whole experience more enjoyable for you and look for a product that offers those features.

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