The tattoo industry is growing daily, with new parlours, both glamorous and shoddy, springing up like mushrooms after a rainy day. Tattoos are today considered acceptable, a little rebellious, and even glamorous, depending on who you speak to. It is no surprise that in the rush to join the ranks of the inked, many customers are walking away just a little dazed, confused, and often upset that the resulting tattoo didn’t match their preconceived notion of life changing affirmation and improved identity. Hence the concomitant rise of a parallel growth industry: laser tattoo removal.
It might seem illogical that many thousands of people around Australia are searching for a way to eradicate that which is designed to be permanent, but the numbers don’t lie. Just as tattoos have become fashionable, so has change. People change jobs far more than ever before. Fashion trends come and go in the blink of an eye. Hair colour, shoe colour, eyeglass frame; everything is subject to the expert’s suggestions. Even the experts themselves come and go with unnerving rapidity resembling jostling children playing ’king of the castle’. Why should tattoo removal be any different? The obvious next question is which tattoo removal method to use?
Tattoo removal discussions are usually about abrasive formulas, laser removal, or do it- yourself creams. Most people claim to have the right answer, although their conclusions are not usually derived from personal experience or even the suggestions of expert clinicians or dermatologists. Unfortunately, as with most so-called expert opinion today, the knowledge is gleaned from that most devious of fact-finding sources; the Google search. Hence, tattoo removal myths persist in the modern psyche like urban legends.
Therefore, prospective laser tattoo removal customers are strongly encouraged to speak to experts before embarking on a course of action. The internet abounds with scurrilous attempts to discredit valid tattoo removal methods in favour of monetarily motivated websites peddling their ineffective wares. Tattoo removal creams are a prime example. Fortunately, credible discussion is also to be found, often presented by qualified health care practitioners. In defence of quality FDA approved Q-Switched laser tattoo removal methods, and in order to discredit fraudulent claims, Virginia Beach Dermatologist, Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD states:
“The ink from tattoos is embedded into the dermis, beyond the reach of any standard cream…acid cream powerful enough to penetrate the dermis would create a scar far uglier than the tattoo.”
Jeffery Dover, MD agrees. He said:
“Creams do not work for tattoo removal. The most effective way to remove a tattoo without a scar is with a Q-Switched laser. This will break up the pigment into tiny particles that allow the tattoo to lighten over a series of treatments.”
Unfortunately, tattoo removal creams are simply a waste of money. In order to reach the ink, without causing skin damage, a laser is required. Q-Switched laser breaks up the tattoo pigment into micro particles that the body can itself safely remove. Laser procedures started becoming popular in the 1990’s and are now the most highly recommended form of tattoo removal. The increase in clinics specialising in this method attests to its popularity. Even so, debunking myths is difficult, and silencing the endless chorus of hollow claims advocating removal creams has become more difficult than removing the tattoo itself.
Unfortunately, pedlars of bogus creams not only divert customers away from bonafide laser removal practitioners, they also lure unsuspecting customers to try removal using extremely caustic trichloroacetic acid, which will cause deep dermal damage; or medicines whose efficacy is based on speculative and untested claims, such as eflornithine. Myths and legends can be entertaining on television, but extremely dangerous if unleashed on the unsuspecting public.