If you’re checking out the best tattoo removal creams because you hate your ink, you aren’t alone. According to Gitnux, a report by IBISWorld reveals that 36 percent of millennials in the USA have a tattoo and a staggering 37 percent of them regret their inking. Apart from the obvious, exes’ names, tribal tattoo trends, generic Asian characters, and poorly executed booze-fueled flashes all top the list when it comes to disappointing designs.
Poor artistry is also a recipe for disaster. The same goes for a studio not having essential equipment such as premium quality numbing cream and even professional tattoo ink. Aftercare also affects the result. So, if you haven’t done your research and used ink-friendly tattoo lotions and soaps, you may also be partly responsible for your tragic tatt.
Tattoo removal surgery comes at a cost. According to board-certified dermatologist Robyn Gmyrek, M.D., when considering dermabrasion, “a small tattoo may be removed for less than $100, but a larger tattoo may range from $1000-5000.”
But the good news is that you can wave goodbye to your ink without laser surgery or dermabrasion. Better yet, when you choose the best tattoo removal cream, you won’t need to max out your credit card.
The best tattoo removal cream is an affordable, less invasive way to fade or partially remove a tattoo. Often, it also means you can go back to the drawing board and ink over the area. It’s important to note that the removal cream isn’t going to completely restore teh skin to its pre-tattoo appearance.
Read on to discover my favorite FOUR best tattoo removal creams.
In searching for the best tattoo removal creams, I scoured lots of real-life reviews and scientific studies before finding my final favorite products. While there are lots of things to consider, when deciding which is the best tattoo removal cream, for me, it came down to three considerations. These are skin type, ingredients, and application.
The crown for Best Overall came down to two ‘must-have’ criteria. I wanted a cream for sensitive skin made from 100% natural ingredients. Secondly, it had to be a one-step product that is fuss-free and is easy to apply.
I got all of this and more from Tattoo Destroyer, my pick for the best overall. I chose my runner-up, Wrecking Ball Tattoo Removal Cream, for its 1300+ Amazon ratings, with 27% being 5-star. This result may not seem impressive compared to other health and beauty products. Remember, though, the success of tattoo removal creams is affected by skin type, the tattoo’s age, color, and design.
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How Do the Best Tattoo Removal Creams Work?
Love dies, but tattoos last forever. Ink penetrates deep into the skin, as Dr. Myro Figura, an anesthesiologist and medical school educator in Los Angeles, explains. Removal creams work on the outermost layer of the skin to fade rather than eradicate tattoos. The best tattoo removal creams work by reducing the ink’s visibility. They achieve this by either bleaching or stripping the skin’s epidermis, which is its outermost layer.
Some creams contain active ingredients such as trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and hydroquinone. TCA is much like salt in a natural tattoo removal cream in as much as it removes dead skin cells, revealing the new skin underneath. Hydroquinone, like fresh lemon juice, is helpful for lightening areas of the skin, which is why this product isn’t recommended for those with dark skin.
The Risks of Tattoo Removal Cream
To successfully fade a tattoo, it takes an intense formula. Before buying any over-the-counter products for tattoo removal, it’s a sensible idea to check the ingredients list and identify anything you may be allergic to. Look for manufacturer warnings about possible side effects such as scabbing or bleeding caused by an adverse reaction to harsh acids and peels. Other nasty side effects can include burning, inflammation, peeling, permanent skin discoloration or scarring, rashes, and redness. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using the cream immediately.
The best tattoo removal creams for guys with sensitive skin contain 100% natural ingredients. Even still, I’d always suggest a patch test. Rub a small amount of the product in an area of non-tattooed skin. The inside of your arm or crook of the elbow works well. Then, wait 24 hours and see if your skin has any adverse reactions before using the tattoo removal cream on larger areas of your skin.
Why it’s Great: Tattoo Destroyer claims to contain 100% natural ingredients and promises no nasty side effects. Better still, being chemical-free, it won’t burn or scab the skin’s top layer. Another positive tick is that it’s a simple one-step, fuss-free cream.
How it feels/How to use it: Rub this cream gently on the tattoo once or twice daily. The brand claims that over months of continued use, the cream will penetrate the lowermost level of the epidermis and lighten the tattoo.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The cream’s container has enough product to last for 14 days, so you will have to order more to get results. Neem oil is the cream’s primary ingredient, and, man, does it smell bad! But that’s a small price for a powerful fading agent, especially considering laser removal can often cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Key Ingredients: Neem Oil, Mineral Oil, Liquid Paraffin, Sophora Root Extract Skin Type: Pale or Fair Size: 1oz
Why it’s great? Ropalia Tattoo Removal Cream is an excellent buy at a little under nine bucks. It removes the pigments on the skin by breaking them down into smaller molecules and removing them through the body’s metabolism. Manufacturers state that the formula is pain and scar-free.
How it feels/How to use it: It’s very easy to use. First, rinse the tattooed area with clean water. Then, apply the cream to the ink, spread it evenly with cotton swabs, and gently massage until it absorbs. To help the cream absorb quicker, create a hot compress by wetting a towel with warm water and holding it on the area. Use continuously for a few weeks.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Some users are disappointed by the lack of product instructions and are unsure how to use the tattoo removal cream. For good results, manufacturers recommend using the cream continuously for a few weeks.
Key Ingredients: Active Natural Ingredients Skin Type: Pale or Fair Size: 0.45oz
Why it’s Great: This product boasts 100% natural, safe ingredients that are quickly absorbed. For me, this selling point is what makes it a luxury buy and where it scores over other cut-price options. Moreover, it won’t clog up the pores, so your skin is more likely to be zit-free.
How it feels/How to use it: All you have to do is massage the cream gently onto the tattooed area in a circular motion. It can take up to 8 months to see a tattoo noticeably fading, but hey, if you hate your ink, it’s worth the wait. As one Amazon reviewer explains, “I have been using it for 8 months now, one time a day, and finally 8 months later, my tat, is really fading away, I noticed some reviews are bad, but they’re only giving it a month or two, it takes a lot longer than that! You must wait and be dedicated to the 10 seconds a day to put it over the tat.”
Flaws but not dealbreakers: This product is one of the gentler, best tattoo removal creams on the market. However, some more sensitive souls notice a slight warming sensation when applying this cream. It may not work for anyone with large or dark inkings.
Key ingredients: Aqua, Cetearyl, Alcohol, Decyl Oleate, Soya Oil, Petrolatum, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-20, Pilewort Extract, St Johns Wort, Comfrey Extract, 2-Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutyl paraben, Horsetail Extract, Imidazolidine Urea Skin Type: Pale or Fair Size: 3.4oz
Why it’s Great: The best thing about Wrecking Balm is that its 3-step process takes only 3 minutes every other day. It’s this that makes it a firm favorite for Amazon customers searching for the best tattoo removal cream. The system combines three technologies. The first step is to exfoliate the outer skin layer using an FDA-approved handheld device. The second step involves a chemical serum which penetrates the deeper, lower layers to fade the ink naturally. If patience isn’t one of your virtues, no worries; the system also includes a tattoo concealer cream.
How it feels/How to use it: First, you need to squeeze a little Suffusion gel onto the supplied DemoMatic device with the Erosion Head. Then, you buff the gel onto the skin in a circular motion for around 45 seconds. Next, rinse well and pat dry. Finally, to soothe and moisturize, apply a little Hydravescent cream to the tattooed area. Depending on the tattoo’s age, position, size, and coloring, you may feel some discomfort during that first step.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Some ingredients in the suffusion gel (liquid scrub) may cause allergies or itching if you have sensitive skin.
Key Ingredients: Miner Oil, Shea Butter, Aloe, Cocoa Emollient Base. Gel: Walnut Shell, Salicylic Acid Skin Type: Pale or Fair Size: 12.8oz
Buying Considerations for the Best Tattoo Removal Creams
Tattoo removal cream works best on fair and light skin tones. If you are darker-skinned, products containing hydroquinone can cause skin discoloration and permanent lightening of the skin, leaving your canvas blotchy rather than blank. This means that it’s even more important to test first.
The optimum skin type for any tattoo removal is light skin that never tans, always burns and is pale. Also suitable is fair skin that usually burns and tans minimally. If you have sensitive skin, look for a product with 100% natural ingredients, such as my Best Budget buy Ropalia Tattoo Removal Cream.
There are a couple of types of tattoo removal creams. Some lighten the skin, while others peel a layer of skin. Skin-lightening creams do what they say and lighten the skin. They do this by reducing the skin’s melatonin, slowly and gradually fading the unwanted ink.
These often contain hydroquinone, a type of skin-bleaching chemical. This type of tattoo removal cream won’t eradicate the ink, but it can lighten the tattoos’ visible appearance, making them less noticeable. Other creams or systems remove and replace the skin, gradually wearing away the top layer of the skin. Some of these products contain trichloroacetic acid (TCA).
Application of a tattoo removal product may be a one-step, two-step or even a three-step process like the Wrecking Balm Tattoo Fade System. This tattoo-fading product uses microdermabrasion to speed the removal up. It starts with a suffusion gel, which is easy to apply using the DemoMatic Erosion head. Next comes the skin soothing process, courtesy of the second product, the hydravescent cream.
Lastly, if you are impatient to see the fade, you can use the concealer to help make the offending tattoo less visible. If you’re a commitment-phone looking for something a little less labor intensive, opt for Tattoo Destroyer which can be rubbed straight onto skin once a day.
Why you Should Trust Us
I’m a regular FashionBeans contributor, so I get to try out, research, and review many fashion and grooming products. First and foremost, though, I’m what I like to call a tattoo collector. Inkings are my way of preserving memories and marking milestones.
I have no regrets about my body art choices. But when my younger brother wanted rid of his embarrassing lad’s holiday inking for his wedding day, it was time to check out tatt-removal options. After researching costly, painful laser surgery, dermabrasion, and surgical removal and doing lots of scrolling, I can now share my choice of the best tattoo removal creams.
Tattoo removal creams are typically pain-free, topical, and entirely non-invasive, offering a great alternative to costly surgical options. Tattoo Destroyer scores top marks, though, thanks to its one-step application that contains neem oil, which is 100% natural. This agent has antiseptic and fading qualities. It helps to heal wounds, minimize inflammation, and stimulate collagen formation.
Whether the best tattoo removal creams can eliminate your unwanted ink depends on many factors, such as your skin type, the color and age of your tattoo, and more. What it can do, though, is fade and re-color the skin surrounding the tattoo, making the artwork less visible.
To fade a tattoo at home you can apply a mild skin-lightening agent daily, something like fresh lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide. Or you could exfoliate the tattoo using a salt scrub 2-3 times daily. Neither are routes I would go down, though – they hurt and can damage the skin. “A lot of the DIY tattoo removal options rely on the use of organic acids, like lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, that over-exfoliate and dry out skin, which can lead to burns and scars,” says board-certified dermatologist Karan Lal, MD. So, my advice is to research and invest in a tattoo removal cream that works.