It’s no surprise that as the number of tattoos has increased so too has the number of unwanted tattoos. Tattoo removal options are becoming more numerous, and consumers are beginning to seek out options to remove a tattoo they regret. Unfortunately, there are businesses out there that promise a quick fix for a process – tattoo removal – that is normally fairly long and involved.
For example, the skincare product known as “Wrecking Balm” promotes a safe, effective alternative to laser tattoo removal treatments. Disappointed customers that do their homework discover that this is a product that contains Hydroquinone (a lightening agent used for sun spots melasma and other pigmentation issues) and is combined with a microdermabrasion-like mechanism. It usually requires several to many (between 3 and 15) class IV medical laser treatments to fragment the ink particles in tattoos and it’s ludicrous to assume that a mail order product like this is capable of permanently removing tattoos. The tattoo ink is too deep and too dense for this product to have a long term effect and it is not a viable alternative to laser tattoo removal. In fact, we are clear with all of our patients that use hydroquinone that this product is a way to get a temporary reduction in the development of melanin, the skin’s natural color. We believe that selling a hydroquinone based product for usage in tattoo removal is at best misrepresenting the capability of the product and at worst fraudulent.
Another treatment being promoted as a good option for tattoo removal is undergoing a TCA peel. This chemical peel involves very strong ingredients that work by exfoliation and removal of the upper levels of the epidermis (The outer layer of skin). Because tattoo ink lies in both the epidermis and dermis (lower layer of skin), chemicals will not do much to remove tattoos. Undergoing aggressive TCA peels may actually cause harm to the epidermis (hyperpigmentation/hypopigmentation/scarring) rather than removing the tattoo.
When deciding on the best option for tattoo removal, we encourage consumers to invest in a little bit of research to verify the validity of a tattoo removal treatment option. Although we understand that cost is an important factor, finding a procedure that works and a practitioner that offers safe and effective laser tattoo removal treatments will outweigh the disappointment, frustration and wasted time of quick fix gimmicks like TCA peels and hydroquinone.