Tattoo Removal

Does Tattoo Removal Cause Cancer?

blog post alt tag
Does laser tattoo removal cause cancer? When considering tattoo removal treatment, potential long-term side effects are of primary concern. Here's what to know.

Seems like you can get cancer from anything these days. Let’s address this right off the bat, does tattoo removal cause cancer? Well, you’re more likely to receive cancer from microwaves or sun exposure vs laser tattoo removal. 

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let us explain why the risk of receiving cancer from laser tattoo removal is next to impossible. In addition, we will be breaking down actions you can take in order to avoid any negative outcomes. 

How Does Laser Removal Work?

You might be thinking, why would someone want laser tattoo removal? Well truthfully, there are many reasons why someone might opt for removal. From tattoo regret to wanting a new tattoo, the possibilities are endless. Now, there are many removal methods out there from tattoo removal cream to saline removal. We’re going to be covering the safest and most effective removal option, laser tattoo removal. 

Laser tattoo removal works by breaking down ink particles into tiny pieces for your body’s white blood cells to carry through the lymphatic system. With time and continued sessions, the laser will break the tattoo down layer by layer until it’s completely removed. On average it takes around 10-12 sessions to see complete removal results spaced every 6-8 weeks apart.

Now that you know the process of what happens under the skin, let’s talk about the process of what to expect from your first removal session

Before you get started with Removery, you will receive a free consultation where our technician will give you clinical expectations for your removal. From there, you will enter the treatment room, get an icepack on the tattoo to numb it, and put on protective goggles for your eyes’ safety. 

Anesthesia is not used in the office for this procedure. Once the tattoo has been thoroughly numbed, our technician will start cooling the area with a cryo machine that blasts freezing cold air onto the skin. They will do a test spot, count down from three, two, one and start the removal process. Clients can absolutely take a second if they need a break and 15 seconds later, the first session is complete! 

Once that is finished, the technician will provide tattoo removal aftercare protocols and materials for at-home use. Set up your next removal session on the way out and repeat the process in 6-8 weeks. 

What are the Risks of Tattoo Removal?

Of course, there are risks to laser tattoo removal. Much like getting a tattoo, if gone untreated, risks such as infections, redness, swelling, and scabbing can occur. 

It’s important to follow the aftercare protocols provided by the laser technician to ensure the adverse reactions are minimal. Protocols such as keeping the treated area clean and dry for the first few days are important to reducing the risk of infections. 

You’ll want to use hydrocortisone cream to reduce any inflammation and vitamin E oil to reduce scabbing and help with the healing process. It’s important to avoid sun exposure and use zinc oxide sunblock to keep the treated area protected from harmful UV rays. 

Do not exercise vigorously for the first 24 hours and do not poke, pick, or scratch the treated area. Following these protocols will minimize any adverse reactions and ensure your tattoo heals properly. 

Does Tattoo Removal Cause Cancer?

Does tattoo removal cause cancer? The most accurate answer is probably not. There is a very slim chance that laser tattoo removal causes cancer. You’re far more likely to get cancer from the sun or using a microwave than laser tattoo removal. 

But why? 

Well, laser tattoo removal does not operate using radiation like microwaves, in fact, it uses light energy to break apart the ink particles in picoseconds or 1 trillionth of a second. Dr. Thomas Barrows from Removery’s clinical advisory board breaks down the science behind the laser. 

With that being said, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has given the PicoWay® picosecond laser clearance for clinical use. This means that the FDA has tried and tested the laser to ensure that it’s safe for use in the United States. 

In addition to the FDA’s trials, the Skin Cancer Foundation has multiple studies that indicate there is no evidence that laser tattoo removal causes cancer. However, the tattoo ink itself is not FDA regulated and could have components that may be linked to cancerous materials. Heavy metals, animal lipids, lead, and other chemical components found in tattoo ink could be a leading cause of cancer in tattooed individuals. 

Although the laser itself does not directly cause cancer, the breaking apart of cancerous materials in the body could result in its spread. It’s very important for anyone considering receiving a tattoo to do their research and visit a professional tattoo artist who uses top-of-the-line ink brands where the ingredients are publicly listed. 

Laser Tattoo Removal Aftercare to Prevent Unwanted Skin Cancers

It’s important to follow aftercare protocols provided by your laser technician to protect your skin from harmful adverse reactions and the sun’s UV rays. We all know that we should be reapplying sunscreen frequently to protect our skin from the sun, but it’s especially important to protect your tattoo after a laser removal session. 

While your tattoo is healing, your skin will be more photosensitive to the sun which could trigger skin damage such as hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation, and skin cancer. 

If you think about it, the laser will turn your tattoo essentially into an “open womb” as it’s healing. While it’s in this sensitive stage of the aftercare process, it’s important to keep the treated area covered from the sun and protected with a zinc oxide SPF 50 sunblock. Learn more about tattoo removal aftercare here to prevent any tattoo removal side effects. 

Schedule a Tattoo Removal Consultation with Removery

Is tattoo removal safe? Yes, laser tattoo removal is the safest method you could choose for your removal needs. Now, can laser tattoo removal cause cancer? It’s very unlikely that you will receive cancer from laser removal as described in this article. 

If you’re thinking about starting the removal process, check out these tattoo removal before and afters and book a free consultation today with a Removery technician. We prioritize your safety by using the most efficient and safest laser technology available. Learn more about the technology in our PicoWay Review article. 

Get your free estimate

We’re on a mission to give you the most straightforward, easy and efficient laser tattoo removal experience. Your estimate will be entirely bespoke to your tattoo; the size, the colours, the ink. It won’t take long and afterwards you’ll have a plan to finally get rid of your unwanted tattoo and get back to being you.

Get Your Free Estimate

Find your nearest Removery

With over 150 studios you're sure to find one near you. We look forward to seeing you!