Naturally, research into cosmetic treatments such as tattoo removal includes intensive study into ways of making the process, simpler, easier, cheaper, and more comfortable. Currently, laser treatments are the best and nearly only method for effectively fading unwanted tattoos. However, some people are interested in an even simpler treatment, and wonder if there are creams that can fade and even remove tattoos. But do such treatments exist, and would they even work at all?
How Tattoos Work
The tattooing process itself uses a needle to send ink into the dermis, a deep layer of the skin beneath the surface. The immune system’s response to the many wounds created by the needle suspends the pigment particles forever in a type of white blood cell known as macrophages. This suspension is only interrupted if the pigment is broken up in some way, such as with a laser. Because the ink is beneath the skin, it will only fade slightly over time, but never come off fully on its own.
The Truth About Tattoo Removal Creams
Because of the way tattoo ink is injected into the skin, there is currently no cream on the market that can reach the ink and break up the pigment for the body to dispose of. There are some creams that are being marketed as a painless method for fading tattoos, but there is no basis for their claims, and these products end up being a disappointing waste of money. While it would be nice if tattoo removal was as simple as using a cream, the reality is that these products simply do not work.
The Future of Tattoo Removal Creams
In February of this year, news broke that there may be a future tattoo removal cream with promise. Alec Falkenham, a researcher and graduate student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, is developing a tattoo removal that is reported to be safe, gentle, and cost effective. The theory is that the cream would prompt the body to replace the white blood cells that suspend the tattoo ink, eventually fading the tattoo as the macrophages are replaced. The biggest obstacle to this goal is designing a topical product that can reach the ink itself. Currently, the formula has only been tested on pigs, and there is no word on how long it will be before it can be tested on humans, if ever.
Laser Removal: A Safe & Effective Option
At the moment, laser treatments are the best option for effective and safe tattoo removal. There is no way to know if or when an effective tattoo removal cream will come onto the market, and it is probably best to just move forward with a tried-and-true method rather than wait for a product that may never come to fruition.
Laser tattoo removal involves a series of brief treatments, spaced a few months apart. The number of sessions required depends greatly on the tattoo itself, the type of ink, and the colors involved. During a session that lasts under ten minutes, the laser breaks up the ink, which is then disposed of by the body gradually. This is why sessions are spaced several weeks or months apart, to give the body time to clear the tattoo. The process itself is uncomfortable but bearable, and a topical anesthesia can be used at the patient’s request. Many patients describe the sensation as similar to a series of snaps from a rubber band. The treatments are very safe and effective when performed by an expert.
Talk to an Expert
When it comes to laser tattoo removal, you need to be careful about choosing a provider. Laser technicians are not required to be doctors, and often have very few credentials and only rudimentary training. It is best to enlist the help of a board certified plastic surgeon and expert in laser treatments, such as facial plastic surgeon Dr. Stuart Bentkover. Dr. Bentkover is an experienced and skilled physician with expertise in lasers and tattoo removal. If you would like to discuss your needs with a true specialist, call New England Tattoo Removal at Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester(508-363-6500) or Stoneham(617-247-0033), MA to schedule your consultation with Dr. Bentkover today.