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Losing the Ink - The Truth About the Pain

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
TRACEE , HAS TATTOO: I had heard these horror stories, before I started doing it. I had read like articles on Johnny Depp trying to get one of his tattoos removed and he talked about how painful it was and I was so scared when I first came here.

ANNOUNCER: Tattoo removal specialist dr. Jeffrey rand says the practice has had a painful history.

JEFFREY L. RAND, MD, TATTOO REMOVAL CENTER: There was dermabrasion, which is basically a rotary device, which would wear the skin down, most commonly used in the past for wrinkle removal. There are things like chemabrasion or salabrasion where you take various chemicals, you abrade the skin and you put salt or chemical solutions and your scarify the area and you try to bring them out. There's, of course, surgical excision, where a surgeon will simply cut out a tattoo, as if it were a foreign body or a tumor or a mole.

ANNOUNCER: But, these days, lasers have changed everything.

JEFFREY L. RAND, MD, TATTOO REMOVAL CENTER: Lasers represent a true advance in that they are a, quote-unquote, magic bullet, only your target, in this case, the ink, absorbs the energy and there's no absorption by normal structures and, therefore, no collateral damage.

TRACEE , HAS TATTOO: The pain level was nowhere near what I thought it was going to be. It's like flinging an elastic on your back a bunch of times in a row. But that's not nearly as painful as someone like slashing your back up with, you know, a knife. Which is what I thought it was going to feel like, so I was pleasantly surprised.

ANNOUNCER: And, despite claims to the contrary, lotions can't remove tattoos.

JEFFREY L. RAND, MD, TATTOO REMOVAL CENTER: There are many patent remedies which are sold and heavily marketed and make a great deal of money for enterprising entrepreneurs which claim to be able to remove tattoos by topical application, but none of them truly work, although many, many people, in desperation and perhaps out of ignorance or denial try to use them

ANNOUNCER: For Tracee, removing the tattoo sure beats getting one.

TRACEE , HAS TATTOO: I thought it was more painful to actually get the tattoo. I was in more pain after the tattoo than I am after these treatments.

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's Once Daily!

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