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Tattoos and their removal

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  • A tattoo is a usually decorative mark visible on the surface of the skin. Tattoos are created by inserting pigment in the form of dyes or ink between the top two layers of the skin.
  • The removal of tattoos usually occurs with specialized lasers that break down the visible pigments. It is not always possible to completely eliminate the appearance of the pigment under the skin. For this reason, some people choose to conceal an old tattoo by having a newer one put over it.
  • Tattooing has been practiced since prehistoric times. The reasons for tattooing vary considerably in different time periods and cultures. The English word "tattoo" is thought to have its origin in the Tahitian language.
  • Currently in the United States, tattooing occurs for cosmetic, religious, sentimental, and aesthetic reasons. Tattooing is also popular to symbolize affiliation, such as to a gang, the military, or an ethnic group.
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Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.