Risks of laser removal

When you get a tattoo, the ink is injected into the dermis layer of your skin where it soaks into fibroblast skin cells and become permanent. This and the fact that ink is made up of large molecules that our bodies cannot breakdown, is the reason tattoos can last for a lifetime. As long as the pigment particles stay in these skin cells, they do not seem to affect the body’s health. 

Laser tattoo removal is the most popular tattoo removal method, but comes with certain risks. There are many possible side effects of laser tattoo removal. Here are just a few of them:

  • Frosting – During the laser tattoo removal process, carbon dioxide is released by the skin, which makes it turn a white, frosty color. This usually subsides after about 20 minutes.
  • Hyperpigmentation – The light wavelengths that are responsible for breaking up the tattoo ink can affect the melanin in your skin, which can lead to hyperpigmentation — dark patches on the skin.
  • Hypopigmentation – Hypopigmentation is caused by the same thing as hyperpigmentation, but it leaves light patches on the skin rather than dark patches.
  • Scarring – While scarring is rare with today’s advanced laser tattoo removal techniques, it does happen.  In some cases, laser tattoo removal results in keloid scars, which are thick, raised scars that can appear between three and six months after the treatment.
  • Blistering – Blistering is a natural part of the healing process of laser tattoo removal.  As the laser breaks up the ink in your skin, it can also break tiny blood vessels around the tattoo resulting in blisters, which usually take up to two weeks to heal.
  • UNDO has fewer side effects than laser tattoo removal and is also safer because it removes the ink from your body instead of it being absorbed into your skin and lymph nodes.


What happens to the ink when it is treated with laser tattoo removal?

“The laser removal process, which demolishes the pigment by scorching it with heat, triggers a chemical reaction that generate carcinogenic and mutation-inducing breakdown products, which are then absorbed by the body. Recently, German scientists reported that concentrations of toxic molecules from red and yellow pigments increased up to 70-fold after laser irradiation. And the bigger the tattoo, the greater the toxic release.” – Bernadine Healy, M.D.

If not applied correctly, the heat from the laser can burn and scar the skin. Blistering, swelling, infection, and changing of the skin’s normal pigmentation are other possible side effects. The biggest drawback to laser treatment is that is there’s no guarantee it will work. Multiple treatments will be required and the number of sessions isn’t something that can be predetermined during an initial consultation. While an average 8 to 15 treatments might be accurate, it’s possible that the number will be much higher depending on the design, color, and location of the tattoo and variation of skin pigmentation.  Even then, many colors will still be visible.

Other Non-laser methods:

Saline Removal: Salt and Saline removal is a simple and safe method which uses a needle and the science of osmosis, similar to the UNDO® deracination method, to pull the pigments to the surface of the skin, but with saline the skin scabs and fall off, resulting in the tattoo becoming lighter and lighter as the pigments or inks are drawn away.

Unlike Saline removal, Undo produces very little scabbing, if any, and keeps the skin hydrated and thus minimal scarring if at all.

Saline removal is also not recommended for use on eyeliner removal as it can be severely painful and burn the eye. UNDO® is safe for use around the eye.