How To Get Tattoo Ink Off Skin? The Safest & Most Effective Methods!

Whether you want to replace your tattoo with another one or simply remove one for any good reason, wiping it out can be challenging. This is especially true with permanent tattoos that waste your time and end up staring back at you confidently!

You might’ve heard of some tattoo ink-removal methods, which are medical and natural procedures that can be practiced at home.

Though the latter appear more attractive, they are less effective than you hear of them.

So, to help you figure out which ones to choose from tons of methods available, we’ve included the following things in this article:

  • Are natural tattoo removal ways effective?
  • Medical procedures to remove the tattoo ink
  • What tattoo artists use to remove the tattoo ink
  • What you shouldn’t ever use to remove a tattoo, and;
  • Tattoo aftercare!

So, let’s kick start with the critical concept first…

Can I Remove Tattoo Ink At Home Using Natural Items?

If you’re talking about permanent tattoos, then you’re unlucky; we’re afraid – of wasting your time and possibly harming your skin.

If the target is a temporary tattoo, success is around the corner!

But you are only partially safe even with natural ingredients handy – some of the most popular genuine items suggested to remove a temporary tattoo are aloe vera, honey, salt, lemon juice, and yogurt. Even though some people got acceptable results from these items, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve any other at-home methods due to their lack of proven efficacy and safety.

Also, only try to use these items on a permanent tattoo. This is because most permanent tattoos are placed on the dermis (the skin’s second layer of tissues) and not on the epidermis (the outermost layer). What are your feelings if you ever accidentally touch a few grains of salt on an open cut on the skin? Harsh ingredients like lemon and salt give an even worse feeling when coming in contact with a permanent tattoo.

Now, let’s explain the properties of these ingredients and how they could be beneficial in removing a temporary tattoo.

  • Yogurt – Yogurt contains natural bleaching properties for our skin. Regular use of yogurt helps lighten pigmented skin.
  • Honey – Honey is best for light-colored and tiny tattoos and keeps the skin smooth and hydrated.
  • Salt – Two of the salt’s primary ingredients, sodium, and chlorine, help remove tattoo ink permanently. It penetrates the skin deeply and breaks out the structure of ink. However, it’s quite an abrasive ingredient, thus could cause skin dryness and rash if used often or rubbed harshly on the skin.
  • Aloe Vera – Much water in aloe vera traps the ink, and it will be harder for the ink to stay in the skin for longer. It also helps soothe and hydrate the skin during the removal process.
  • Lemon – Lemon juice may help fade the appearance of a tattoo due to its acidic nature. But it could cause redness or irritation if it remains in touch with the skin for longer.

Also Read: How to Prevent Skin Darkening After Shaving

Here are Items You Shouldn’t Ever Use to Wipe the Ink Off

1. Hydrogen Peroxide

Keep direct application aside for a second; even dilute hydrogen peroxide solutions can cause whitening or bleaching of the skin. Solutions with around 30% hydrogen peroxide cause mild irritation, and above 50% of the chemical, dilution leads to severe irritation and corrosion, burns, blisters, ulcers, and permanent scarring.

2. Tattoo Removal Creams

You’ll find claims about tattoo removal creams or ointments to be effective, but they’re often found harmful to the skin and give no expected results. The FDA hasn’t approved these products due to a lack of clinical evidence and their side effects, such as rashes and scarring. Plus, adverse reactions to these products could result in permanent skin or tissue damage.

These products shouldn’t be used as an alternative to FDA-approved treatments. Many reputable tattoo removal methods exist that can provide effective yet safe treatments.

This point smoothly leads us to our next section…

Also Read: How to Tan With Fair Skin and Freckles

Medical Procedures: The Tattoo Removal Strategies Proven To Work

1. Laser Tattoo Removal

This is one of the methods of tattoo removal approved by the FDA.

Laser tattoo removal is a permanent procedure that removes the tattoo from the skin altogether. Using high-powered lasers that penetrate deeper into the skin, the tattoo ink particles (they give color to the tattoo) are demolished from skin cells. Different lasers are used depending on the characteristics of the tattoo and the person.

The tattoo’s color, size, place, and age are the primary aspects that determine which laser treatment to use.

This procedure isn’t about a single session – most people require a series of short sessions apart a month. However, it’s common for most individuals to have 5-10 sessions before the complete removal of the tattoo. Also, in some cases, the number of sessions increased to 20.


  • People with darker skin or those who want to remove the tattoo with color may face more difficulty removing it than fair-skinned individuals.
  • Increased exposure to laser light increases the risk of associated complications. It’s very costly as well.
  • Uncomfortable and sometimes painful in the area treated.
  • The laser light could harm the eyes and affect eyesight. Wearing protective eye goggles is the best safety measure.
  • Neglected areas of the treated skin may experience infection.

Aftercare to Minimize the Risk

  • Keep the skin clean by washing it regularly and adequately post-procedure.
  • Use a petrolatum ointment to fasten the skin healing process.
  • Keep the area covered with a sterile bandage for approximately one week after each session.

2. Surgical Excision (SE)

Surgical excision, aka surgical tattoo removal, is an effective and more spreading technique for removing tattoos.

The dermatologic surgeon removes all the ink from the tattoo using a scalpel and stitches the skin afterward. This method is more effective on smaller tattoos, which is why people prefer it over other available methods. More extensive tattoos sometimes seem impossible to remove or impose more risk and require more time for removal.

Possible Risks

Though the setbacks of the procedure are generally minor, they could include the following:

  • Lack of complete pigment removal
  • Skin discoloration
  • Some scarring
  • Skin infection
  • A raised or thickened scar may appear three to six months after the tattoo is removed.

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Sticky Skin

What Do Tattoo Artists Use To Wipe the Ink Off?

We recommend not using the products that tattoo artists use for tattoo removal on your own. Only professionals know how to use them safely. Ask an artist to use your own-bought product on you, and you’ll only have to pay the service charges!

1. Green Soap

It’s exactly what your tattoo artist used while crafting a tattoo onto your skin. This is the go-to, medical-level soap that is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Given that the soap is a plant- and oil-based vegetable soap, it serves the primary purpose of keeping the skin clean and sanitized during certain medical facilities, so it does the same in tattooing procedures. Though ineffective on old, permanent tattoos, the soap works best when removing fresh, temporary tattoos. And this is why artists use soap to remove a tattoo or modify an existing one.

2. Color Lift

Let it be a weeks-old tattoo or any other pigment on the skin; the color lift is a superb tattoo removal solution. The product is best for correction and camouflage work and removes pigments from the skin.

Again, don’t use the product yourself; meet a professional artist!

How To Remove Tattoo Ink From Skin At Home: Natural Tattoo Removal Methods

1. Honey with Aloe-Vera, Yogurt, and Salt

You’ve already got the points of each ingredient above; let’s jump to the recipe!

Mix 2 tbsp each of aloe vera juice and all three items. Mix until it forms a thick paste. Now, rub gently over the tattooing skin and wash off the mixture with warm water after half an hour.

2. Apricot Scrub And Salt

While salt gets through the first layer of the skin, apricot scrub does the rest of the work.

Mix one tablespoon of salt into the scrub and rub gently on the tattoo. As you feel it’s getting lightened, wash the area with clean water and repeat the process. This solution would only fade the tattoo, not entirely remove it.

3. Salt And Lemon Juice

The high content of natural acids in lemon makes it a natural bleaching agent and detergent, enabling it to wipe off the tattoo ink.

Lemon juice is safe for the skin, encourages skin cell recreation, and sustains a healthy and smooth surface. Use lemon juice with salt. It fades the color of the ink and removes the upper or tinting layers of skin.

4. Alcohol Mixed With Carrier Oil

Oil-based solutions are frequently used to remove makeup and other pigments from the skin. Using oils is to wipe off the ink without stripping the skin of its moisture.

Alcohol can help remove tattoos by reducing their color and breaking up ink particles.

So, when these two combine, they create a solid solution to remove temporary tattoos. Mix 3 tablespoons of any carrier oil, like olive or coconut, with half an ounce of alcohol. Rub the mixture gently on the tattoo for 5 minutes. Repeat the process unless the ink fades. You’ll soon find your skin is free!

5. Nail Polish Remover

The main ingredient in this item is ‘acetone,’ a synthetic chemical found naturally in the environment. Acetone can remove colors and pigments on the skin and other surfaces.

Dab some of the liquid onto a cotton swab and gently scrub on the tattoo. You’ll notice the tattoo fading within a few minutes of rubbing. Most importantly, rinse with cold water and soap to get all the acetone off the skin.

Caution: Even a tiny amount of acetone can make your skin dry, red, and cracked. However, you shouldn’t notice any health effects. Large amounts of acetone can lead to acetone poisoning, and you’ll have to seek medical attention ASAP.

Also Read: How to Use Fragrance Oil on Skin

The Skin and How it Reacts to Tattoo Ink

After all, tattoo ink is a chemical, and your skin is almost always likely to react to it. Then no matter if the tattoo artist is licensed or not or if you’ve taken complete aftercare.

Some reactions happen within hours after tattooing, whereas for some, it could take months or sometimes years to appear.

If you’re unsure what may happen while experiencing the reaction, here are those reactions and their signs.


Tattoo infection is likely to happen immediately or, in some cases, a few months after getting inked. Infection differs from what you feel and look for immediately after earning a tattoo. The skin is getting red or swollen, becoming sore, forming scabs, and itching is normal.

If an infection develops, your skin reacts a bit differently. You may notice one or more of the following:

  • Tattoo becomes darker or spreads instead of lightning and diminishing
  • Pain continues or worsens instead of subsiding
  • Itchy, red, and painful rash bumps develop within the tattoo
  • Fever, chills, and shivering
  • Pus and open sore(s) in the tattoo

Immediately seek medical attention on noticing any of these symptoms.

Allergic Reaction

The skin is allergic to a specific color of ink. Though red is the common culprit, other colors can also cause allergies. The signs of an allergic reaction include one or more of the following:

  • Small pimple-like bumps
  • Raised, scaly patches
  • Blisters and deep lumps


This often is linked with a temporary tattoo instead of a permanent one. Many people could be allergic to a chemical PPD found in black dye.

The signs include:

  • Scarring and skin color loss
  • All the symptoms contained in the ‘allergic reaction’ point above

Sun Allergy

This specific allergy happens to some people and occurs when the sun’s rays hit your tattoo. Swelling and redness around the tattoo, itchy rash of tiny bumps, and blisters are the most common and often-occurring signs of such allergy.

Skin Diseases

Exposing your skin to tattoo ink could trigger various diseases. The most prominent example is psoriasis. If you carry genes for psoriasis, you’re most likely to start those germs and thereby suffer from the disease. Some skin cancers are also shown to develop as a severe reaction to tattoo ink.

MRI Burn

Though rare, some people have developed MRI burns when there’s a tattoo or permanent makeup on the skin while having an MRI test. Though the burn was milder often, some severe cases were also found. The signs of that burn include pain, redness, and swelling on the tattooed area.

Final Thought

Turns out, natural isn’t always safe, nor does something ‘medical’ hazardous for your skin. And this is true when it comes to removing tattoos off the skin safely, effectively, and even faster. We recommend giving a couple of tries to the natural methods mentioned above; if that doesn’t work, this is not the end of the world. Go for medical procedures – Now, it’s up to you: which is more precious? Your skin or a couple of hundred bucks? We know the answer, and so do you!

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