While adverse reactions to laser tattoo removal are rare when the proper laser is being used for treatment, they can occur. Of these adverse reactions, some are caused by a sensitivity or allergic reaction to the tattoo ink itself. As the laser’s energy is absorbs by the ink, the ink shatters into smaller particles allowing the immune system to flush it out. Reactions that indicate sensitivity to ink include but may not be limited to bubbly looking rashes, excessive redness or tenderness around the treated area, or very itchy skin. Typically when these reactions occur, it is on or around red ink. Red ink seems to cause the most trouble for those getting tattoos as well as those removing tattoos.
Why is red ink so hard for people to tolerate? The answer to this question is probably found in the composition of red ink. Many red inks contain cadmium or mercury. Both of which are toxic chemicals that can cause the immune system to react strongly to the red ink. After getting a tattoo those with sensitivity to a component of the red ink will typically react quickly after the tattoo process. Reactions range from longer healing time to more severe issues. It is important to note that our bodies change over time and reactions to red ink can arise later.
Patients who have had reactions to red ink must be careful when opting to remove a red tattoo. Depending on the severity of the reaction, laser tattoo removal may not be the best option.
Sometimes the laser tattoo removal process can bring reactions to red ink to light. If in the rare instance you experience an unusual reaction after laser treatments, please inform the laser specialist. In most cases the reactions are mild and simply allowing more time between treatments allows the area to heal on its own. Sometimes 8 or more weeks are required for red inks to completely heal after laser treatment.
At Vanish, our laser specialists always have your best interest in mind when recommending treatment. Please note that if a laser specialist recommends more time between treatment, it is only to ensure ou see the best possible results.