Tattoo ink is located in the dermis (the second layer of skin). Lasers are single wavelengths of light that penetrate the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and are absorbed by the ink molecules. This is the reason why fading creams are ineffective. Creams, without acid, can't permeate the epidermis into the dermis and reach the ink. The problem with acids is they are hard to control and there is a significant risk of permanent scarring (1).
|Scarring from tattoo removal cream|
Some establishments offer acid injected into the dermis, similar how a tattoo is placed. For fair skin and in a small area, a desirable effect can be achieved with this method. Unfortunately, there can be a loss of pigment and risk of scarring in those areas. Below is a tattoo where a portion was in the process of laser tattoo removal. A coverup was placed over the faded ink and in the places where the faded ink was visible, acid was injected to further fade the tattoo.
|Several weeks post treatment with acid injections|
Be careful and do your research. Any method improperly applied can lead to poor results and sometimes there are negative side effects. Understanding the process is your best insurance for being satisfied with the results.