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Is your horrible tattoo stopping you from enjoying your life to the full? Perhaps it's time to kiss it goodbye forever. While you have a wide range of tattoo removal options, some are definitely better than others. This article looks at them all.

Tattoos can be wonderful works of art you'll be happy to have for the rest of your life. They can be something you're not ecstatic about but don't hate either if you're a bit less lucky, or they can be... the result of a drunken night in Thailand, something your Aspiring-tattooist friend scratched into your skin, the name of an ex, the symbol of something you don't want to be associated with anymore, or just something extremely ugly.

A tattoo can, in short, be something you're really, really desperate to get rid of. What are your options?

DIY Tattoo Removal

I've got tattoos. Plenty, actually. I have tattoos I'm really happy with and tattoos I don't mind. I've also had a tattoo of the kind this article discusses. You know, the kind of tattoo that's so bad I don't even want to talk about it — the kind that caused me to wear too many clothes in summer, stopped me from going to the swimming pool, and made me think buying those tattoo removal creams from television sales programs was a good idea. Yes, we're talking about the kind of tattoo someone might be tempted to try to remove by themselves. Believe me, I understand people who are considering DIY tattoo removal. 

People try to get rid of tattoos in all kinds of ways. I've heard of people pouring acid on their skin in the hope that their tattoo will be a thing of the past, trying to cut the tattoo out with a knife, burning the skin and then rubbing salt in the wound to remove the ink, and using sanding machines.

For educational purposes, I'll share that I cut into my Nightmare Tattoo and played around with salt. I did boil the knife to try to disinfect it first. If you really want to know, I will even share that the tattoo did fade a little, though not to the point that you couldn't see it. I was young and stupid, but immensely lucky to have escaped an infection. 

Anyone who ever gets tattooed has to accept the fact that that bit of skin will never look the same again. Some so-called tattoo removal methods simply don't work, while others that may achieve much better results could simply be out of your price range. Still, responsible people who care about their health should never resort to DIY tattoo removal methods that could land them in serious trouble. Almost no tattoo is so bad that you'd rather end up with gangrene, requiring amputation. In short, don't do this. 

Tattoo Removal Creams

Are you wisely reluctant to sand your own skin, but still hoping to attempt tattoo removal in the (dis)comfort of your own home? Tattoo removal creams probably speak to you. These creams aren't FDA-approved, but their mechanisms of action sound vaguely scientifically plausible. Tattoo removal creams contain such ingredients as Alpha Arbutin, Hydroquinone, Kojic Acid, and TCA.

Will these creams remove your tattoo completely, leaving smooth "virgin skin"? Absolutely not.

You're rubbing these, usually very expensive, creams onto the epidermis. That's the outer layer of your skin. Your tattoo is buried within the deeper-lying dermis, out of the reach of most creams. If you are lucky, the cream will reach the dermis and your tattoo will fade somewhat. Your skin may also become immensely irritated, causing scarring or a burnt look that may make other tattoo removal methods less effective.

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