Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Laser Tattoo Removal May Increase Cancer Risk

3D Tree Tattoo, Full Back Piece Tattoo DesignThe safety of tattoo inks and laser tattoo removal is in question. The United States Food and Drug Administration's Arkansas-based National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), have been investigating tattoo inks to find out the chemical composition of the inks and how they break down (metabolize) in the body; the short-term and long-term safety of pigments used in tattoo inks and how the human body responds to the interaction of laser and tattoo inks.

"There have been no systematic studies of the safety of tattoo inks," says the lead scientist overseeing the studies, "so we are trying to ask-and answer-some fundamental questions." One of the questions: When laser light is used to remove tattoos where does the pigment go? There are several possibilities: Laser light may cause the ink to break down so it is less visible. The pigment may still be there, and may be potentially toxic. The skin cells containing the ink may be killed by the laser beams and the broken-down ink products may disperse through the body.

The NCTR research has shown that some of the pigment moves from the tattoo site to the body's lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are part of the human lymphatic system, a collection of vessels in the body that filter out pathogens. Whether the migration of tattoo ink has health consequences or not is still in question. NCTR is doing further research to answer this.

However, scientists in Germany have already reported that concentrations of toxins from red and yellow pigments increased up to 70 times after using laser. Also, the larger the tattoo, the greater amount of toxins were released. In their study, the laser removal process destroyed the pigment by generating high levels of heat and triggered chemical reactions that generated carcinogenic and mutation-inducing breakdown products, which could possibly be absorbed by the body.

So, the question is, "How can a person remove their tattoo without possibly compromising their health by exposure to carcinogens?" For safety-conscious consumers that care about their health, non-laser removal options are available to remove tattoo pigments without possible exposure to cancer causing substances. These non-laser techniques are not "magic" do-it-yourself tattoo removal creams. There are legitimate non-laser processes that can lighten and remove all colors of ink in tattoos. Reputable non-laser removal techniques are safe in that there is no more risk than when receiving a tattoo. Non-laser removal benefits include being able to be tattooed over the healed removal area, if desired. Also, some non-laser removal techniques can remove pigments that laser may leave in the skin. It is recommended that persons interested in non-laser tattoo removal find a technician that has been trained and is certified in cutting edge non-laser technology.

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