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One way to fix an out-of-date tattoo is to add a little more ink — and some humor.

Yes, that tat design was the bomb when you got it. But like the phrase "the bomb," it is no longer quite so cool or represents your personality. In fact, you might want to put another tattoo in its place. Whether you're changing true loves or have switched political parties, it's time for that tat to go!

1. Laser tattoo removal Permanent tattoos are created by a needle puncturing the surface layer of skin and and injecting ink into the second layer, the dermis, which does not flake and peel away like the epidermis. Getting rid of that ink requires the destruction of the colored skin cells. The procedure involves lasers that directly target the ink in the skin. The laser light breaks the colored skin cells into smaller particles until the ink has faded enough to be absorbed by the body’s immune system. The number of sessions required to remove a tattoo depend on the size of the artwork and the amount of detail and ink used. Large tattoos contain more ink and more color, which take longer to break down. Small tats with only one or two grayscale inks are easier to remove. Once the skin is clear of ink, new tissue grows in place of the ink-clad cells that were removed. The process is painful and can cause scarring.

2. Dermabrasion Another option is dermabrasion. Your skin is numbed and sanded like unfinished furniture. Exposing the layer of skin carrying the ink causes the color to leach out. The procedure is painful and causes bleeding as well as possibly scarring.

3. Cryosurgery and chemical peels Cryosurgery freezes the tattoo, then burns it off with liquid nitrogen. A chemical peel is applied to the skin, which is peeled away once it blisters. Neither procedure is as effective as laser treatment and can be even more painful. The only way to have a tattoo safely removed is by a trained professional, such as a dermatologist. While you might find home remedies online, call your doctor instead!

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