Laser tattoo removal is a regulated, safe way to get rid of your body ink. That said, many people try at home methods to remove their tattoos in an attempt to save money — but they are just putting themselves at risk instead.

At-home tattoo removal is perceived to be cost and time efficient, but these assumed benefits are outweighed by the health risks associated.

If you want to say goodbye to your unwanted tattoo, there are totally safe, regulated ways to do so — so don’t take the easy way out with DIY alternative methods. None of them are as effective — or safe — as laser tattoo removal:

Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion is the sanding down or scraping away of skin layers — ouch. This is incredibly painful (obviously) and can leave you with a gash that can either get infected or develop a nasty scar.

Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D., the founder and director of 5th Avenue Dermatology Surgery and Laser Center in New York City, told CNN that this method is comparable to throwing kerosene on your tattoo and lighting it on fire.

Salabrasion

Salabrasion utilizes salt and abrasion to remove tattoos. The way this process works is that salt water mix is created and then rubbed against the inked area using an abrasive gauze that strips away skin layers.

An ointment is then applied to the wound and bandaged with sterile gauze and left for a few days. After three days’ time, the gauze is removed, and the wound is again covered with salt.

Removing skin is both unsafe and incredibly painful — significantly more painful than a laser. Considering the fact that this method causes a substantial open wound, it puts you at high risk of infection and scarring, as well as discolouration, bleeding, swelling, and itchiness.

Tattoo Removal Cream

If you don’t believe that a cream can get rid of your wrinkles, how can you truly believe that a cream will remove your tattoo? It’s unlikely that a cream can achieve the same effects as a laser treatment.

The thing about tattoo removal creams is that they contain trichloroacetic acid that bleach or peel layers of skin to reach your ink. This is unsurprisingly dangerous.

According to a report from the International Journal of Dermatology, this acid is approved by the FDA to treat skin conditions — but it is not approved for use in cream. That said, this acid should not be used without professional supervision. This cream, due to its chemical properties, can result in redness, burning, peeling, inflammation, scarring and more.

Lemon

Lemon may fade your tattoo a bit, but it will never remove your tattoo completely. Your tattoo’s ink is in the dermal layer of your skin, so unless the lemon is stripping layers of your skin it stands no chance at really removing anything. You’re better off saving your lemon for water.

At Home Lasers

Yes, people create their own make-shift lasers — and it’s as unsafe as you’d imagine. Your laser tattoo removal should be done in a clinic by a licenced professional who is experienced with operating a laser and is aware of the necessary precautions.

At the end of the day, laser treatment from a professional is the best, safest and most effective way to get rid of unwanted body ink.