4 Laser Tattoo Removal Myths Explained

It is the rise of laser tattoo removal specialty clinics that has lead to an increased popularity in laser tattoo removal methods, such as those provided at our Houston plastic surgery clinic and medspa. However with this rise in popularity, there are also many myths about laser tattoo removal.

Myth #1: Lasers are used to burn off and remove tattoos.

Fact: While this was true with older lasers like CO2, that burned superficial skin layers, the newer Q-switched lasers like YAG and ruby don’t. These lasers break tattoo pigments and it is the body’s immune system that clears the ink from the tattoo. There is however a rare chance of scars developing because of application of too much energy from the laser.

Myth #2: Fading creams are more effective for tattoo removal.

Fact: Though there are various tattoo removal fading creams available in the market, there is no proof that they are better options for tattoo removal. In fact, these creams cannot effectively remove tattoos unless it has harsh acids like glycolic acid in it which burns off the skin to leave a scar. Moreover, tattoos are created using different inks with different chemical compositions so no single cream will be effective in ‘dissolving’ these chemicals and remove tattoos.

Myth #3: It is not possible to remove multi-colored tattoos.

Fact: Black tattoos respond better to laser tattoo removal than other colors. However some colors in tattoos like yellow, white and pink are difficult to remove while some colors like green and blue don’t come off well with a YAG laser but is easily removed using ruby or alexandrite laser.

Sometimes black tattoos can also be difficult to remove if it is made using metal-based inks; however such red tattoos come off easily. On the whole, the more colors there are in the tattoo, the higher is the possibility of one of them not coming off well with laser tattoo removal.

Myth #4: Laser tattoo removal cannot remove cosmetic tattoos.

Fact: This is at times true as some flesh-colored cosmetic tattoos have iron pigments that may convert to different chemicals that turn black when treated with laser. These iron-containing inks are hard and impossible to remove.

It can be difficult to remove eye-liner tattoos because of its close proximity to the eye. Its removal has to be done using special laser eye shields to prevent damage to the globe. It may also lead to loss of eyelashes. In case of lip tattoos, it can be removed only after protecting the teeth.

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