A salt/saline solution or salabrasion is a common dermatological way to lighten tattoos. It’s a slow process, but it’s one that many people use because it’s safer than other forms of tattoo removal. A salt/saline treatment is the recommended lightening solution for people with darker skin tone and for those who have had an allergic reaction to tattoo pigment. However, before anyone considers salabrasion lightening, they should learn the in and outs of the treatment and treatment process.
The Salt/Saline Treatment Process
The treatment starts with a technician tattooing a salt/saline solution into the tattooed area, which will open the area. Basically, the area to be lightened is tattooed using almost the same process as traditional tattooing. A topical anesthetic is applied to the tattooed area, then a device similar to an ink-gun uses a salt/saline solution to puncture the dermis or top layer of the skin. After this, a salt paste is put on the tattoo and the salt draws the pigment to the surface of the skin to slowly exfoliate the tattoo away instead of depositing ink into the skin.
After the procedure, loose sterile gauze or a large Band-Aid will be placed over the treated area. This should be changed at least once a day for five to seven days, and antiseptic ointment should be applied daily to prevent infection. The initial treatment will heal in about six to eight weeks. Once complete healing has been achieved, another treatment can be applied to the same tattoo. Lightening results should be achieved within three to four procedures, and if desired, the area can be tattooed again after the skin heals.
Benefits of Salt/Saline Lightening Treatments
There are many benefits to salt/saline solution treatments. The most obvious benefit is that that tattoo will become lighter or possibly fade away after some time. Additional benefits include:
Benefits Over Other Forms of Lightening or Removal
- The lightening process has less risks than laser treatments and other forms of treatment.
- It won’t cause scarring, blistering or hypo or hyper pigmentation.
- The treatment is safe for all skin types.
- Skin can be re-tattooed once the treated area has healed completely.
Most of the benefits of salabrasion over its competitors are obvious as well. Other forms of tattoo lightening and removal include, laser removal treatments, dermabrasion, chemical peels, and cryosurgery. All of these competitors are more expensive and more painful than salt/saline solutions. Some of the benefits of salabrasion against its competitors are:
Risks of Salt/Saline Treatments
- It’s not as painful as laser treatment.
- It’s less expensive than laser treatments, which can cost $100 to $1,000 depending on the size of the area to be treated.
- Salabrasion is also much less expensive than dermabrasion treatments, which may cost $1,000 to $2,000.
- Dermabrasion also involves sanding down the skin, which doesn’t sound pleasant or simple, and it must be performed under the supervision of a professional.
- Chemical peels cause blistering and may cause the skin to slough off while removing the tattoo’s ink.
- Cryosurgery involves the freezing of skin, and the burning off of ink through the use of liquid nitrogen, which is also painful for the person being treated.
Like all tattoo removal treatments, a salt/saline treatment has some risks that potential users may want to consider. During the procedure, patients will experience some bruising and minor bleeding in the treated area. It may take months for any fading to actually occur. Treated areas will be sore and tender for a few days after treatment. Salabrasion may also cause wrinkling.
The Best Candidates for Salt/Saline Treatments
The best candidates for the salt/saline tattoo lightening treatment will be those who are allergic to tattoo pigment, those with darker skin, and those with sensitive skin. However, all users of this treatment must be patient and carefully follow aftercare instructions to prevent infections. Those who are looking for immediate tattoo removal will not find this treatment sufficient. It’s also not recommended for those on blood thinners. Truly, a salt/saline treatment is best for those who want to lighten unwanted tattoos then having them re-tattooed.
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