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Do or Don’t? Tattoo Removal With Laser

Posted October 04, 2010 in Uncategorized

A Twitter follower of mine asked me about the tattoo removal process using laser therapy last week. Our practice offers several laser treatments such as laser skin resurfacing, stretch marks and scar improvement, skin rejuvenation and photodynamic therapy, skin tightening, and hair removal, but tattoo removal is not one of them for various reasons. First of all, in all honesty, you’ll get OK results, but not great. Truth is, the inks used at tattoo parlors are built to last, and some pigments will most likely resist the laser light regardless of its intensity. In other words, prepare yourself to embark in a long series of VERY painful treatments, which may very well result in incomplete removal, often creating something much uglier than the tattoo itself. That is without mentioning the high cost of the procedure.

But most importantly, the possible risks of tattoo removal using laser therapy are simply just not worth taking. The Department of Dermatology and the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the University of Regensburg, Germany conducted an experiment on laser induced cleavage of tattoo pigments (which occur when blasting your tattoo with laser light).

The results clearly showed that the high laser intensities cleaved azo compounds and an increase of decomposition products such as 2-methyl-5-nitroaniline, 2-5-dichloranilin and 4-nitro-toluol were measured. These products are proven to be toxic or even carcinogenic

After tattooing or laser treatment, the pigment plus unknown admixtures and decomposition products are not only present in the skin but are additionally transported through the blood vessels and the lymphatic system into the human body.

There are enough cancer threats in the air we breathe in Los Angeles, why add any more to the mix? I certainly don’t want to consciously do so… first rule of medicine? Do no harm!

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