laser tattoo removal

Can Laser Tattoo Removal Make You Sick?

Laser tattoo removal can make you sick. Although not very likely, if one very important health and safety guideline is missed then you do risk your health.

Laser tattoo removal looks easy but there are lots of things to consider that most laser operators don’t know or worse, ignore.

One of the most important considerations is the amount of ink released into the body when undergoing a laser tattoo removal treatment. The laser tattoo removal process breaks up the ink molecules in the skin into tiny particles that the body finds easier to absorb. These micro particles are distributed to the liver, kidneys and lymph nodes, which is where the problems could surface if you have too much ink floating around in your body after the laser treatment.

Too much ink being released in one treatment can lead to feelings of nausea or you could even collapse or go into shock. While this scenario is unlikely, it is not worth the risk as it could be serious, so insist that your laser treatment is done over a couple of sessions a few weeks apart if you have a large tattoo.  If your laser tattoo removal operator is not prepared to do this, then find professional that will.

The general rule of thumb is to treat areas no larger than the size of a beer coaster. Obviously, if we are looking at a large tattoo that is only outline, then it is fine to treat that in one session.

For the sake of your health, make sure that for the following 48 hours you drink lots of water and make sure your tattoo is protected from the sun and that you keep the area clean.

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    • Sarah
    • July 28, 2020

    Hi, I had the front part of my half sleeve done lasered. They used lidocaine as it’s a big tattoo. She wanted me back in four weeks, but I don’t think so. I had bad blisters followed with an odd symptom, I had depression. I felt kind of dizzy too.

      • Helena
      • July 28, 2020

      Hi Sarah thanks for the comments. There are a couple of things about your treatment that doesn’t sound good to me…
      1. the general rule of thumb is that you don’t treat an area bigger than a beer coaster at a time. If I was treating a half sleeve with a lot of ink I would do it in 4 sessions. 1/4 at a time at least 7-10 days apart. This is so that you are not overwhelmed by the released ink.
      2. Lidocaine on such a large area is also capable of causing a toxic reaction when heated by the laser. Injected lidocaine in particular has been known to cause problems as the laser goes into the injection channels and releases lidocaine into the body. I am not sure that depression is a symptom although if you are feeling ill (and probably in shock) after such a large treatment, depression could be brought on. (by the side… you can not be grateful and depressed at the same time, so every day, identify 10 things that you are grateful for (could be as simple as a great cup of coffee) and take a walk in the outdoors, you will soon find you are feeling more optimistic) Please take care of yourself.
      3. Please dont have treatments in less than 8 weeks. It takes at least 4 weeks for the body to heal and then at least another 4 for the body to start to process the ink. 6-12 months is even better but most people are not that patient once they decide they want their tattoo removed.
      Good luck with your ongoing laser tattoo removal journey.

    • Sara Saiz
    • October 13, 2020

    I’m on my 2nd round. Small flower on ankle. A mistake I made 25 yrs ago. I have been so sick. Upper right side going into my back. Iv had labs done. Iv done an ultrasound. Endoscopy. And a CT. Every bodily fluid tested. All coming back normal. But I’m not well. Iv lost 15pounds. Nauseous every day. Dizzy. Can eat much (nausea). Iv told all my doctors about my removal treatments yet they don’t see any connection. I’m not convinced… thoughts?

      • Helena
      • October 13, 2020

      Hi Sara
      I am not a doctor so not qualified to try and diagnose your health problems. One thought I did have was that if the tattoo is small then the risk of an adverse reaction to the released ink during laser tattoo removal is not likely, so is not likely to make you sick. It sounds like you may have some other health issues. I sincerely hope you get to the bottom of it soon, it is not nice to be feeling unwell and not knowing what the problem is.

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