I think in today’s history article I’ll quote an article on tattoo removal from 1891… Maybe tomorrow I’ll cover cosmetic tattooing (also popular in the 1800s). This article is from The Daily Light (San Antonio, Texas), dated June 1, 1891.
Mr. T. W. Dodd, of Walsingham, England, writes as follows in the Chemist and Druggist:
“Twenty years ago I removed three very indelible tattoo marks on my hand. Certainly it left a scar, but now it is scarcely perceptible. The operation was performed by applying nitric acid with the stopper of the bottle (a better instrument would be a glass rod pointed, to carry the acid), just sufficient to cover the stain, so as to avoid making a larger scar than needful, the acid to remain about one and a half minutes, until the cutis vera was penetrated and a crusted appearance shown, then washed of with clean, cold water. In a few days after this treatment a scab forms, which contains the tattoo mark or stain; remove it, and should inflammation supervene, poultice and bathe with warm water. In this way the skin with the stain is not only removed almost painlessly (I mean tattoo marks about the size of peas), but the nitric acid at the same time to a certain extent seems to decolorize the stain. Of course large tattoo marks, greatly extending over the surface, must necessitate the operation being performed differently.”
Dr. Variot, of the Paris Biological society, advises the following method: Tattoo the skin, in the usual way, with a concentrated ‘solution of tannin, following the original design. Then apply the crayon of nitrate of silver until the part tattooed with the tannin blackens. Wipe off excess of moisture and allow matters to take their own course. Slight pain continues two or four days, and after two months the cicatrix which results will almost disappear.’ — American Druggist.