Removable tattoos are completely removed

Drawn for life

Tattoos are in.
Arm, calf, shoulder - every part of the body seems to be suitable for an engraved work. But what often ends up in youthful recklessness as "Love Nikki" or as a skull on the back or neck is later perceived as a flaw. Professor Dr. med. Rolf-Markus Szeimies, chief physician at the Clinic for Dermatology and Allergology at the Vest Clinic in Recklinghausen.
â € œThere are basically three options, â € reports the doctor.

Accordingly, a tattoo can be removed by surgically cutting out the entire skin, sanding the skin down to the level of the tattoo pigment that has been introduced, or laser treatment. These methods pose a number of problems. For the success of the treatment, the quality of the tattoo is one of the decisive factors, says Professor Szeimies: "In particular, tattoos that you add yourself are a problem because the dye is often deeply penetrated into the dermis," says the expert As with the cutting out, this can leave clear scars behind. These can be just as annoying as the removed tattoo. The scars can also reflect the shape of the tattoo that should actually be removed.

What happens during laser treatment? Here, high-energy rays of light are shot into the skin. The rays protect the layer of the covering skin and are absorbed by the respective color in the dermis. The energy is converted into heat, which destroys the dye pigments. However, several treatments are usually necessary. But even this treatment cannot work miracles.
â € œFor example, for very light colors such as white or yellow, there is no really suitable laser that can completely remove these colors, â € the professor said. Under certain circumstances, colorful tattoos cannot be completely removed, and some colors even change to another color due to the laser treatment. The work of professionals could also be more of a problem. â € œTattoo artists often bring in a higher concentration of color in a narrower layer, for example for a deep black, which is then more difficult to remove with the laser, â € reports Prof. Szeimies.

Questions to Prof. Dr. med. Rolf-Markus Szeimies, Chief Physician of the Clinic for Dermatology and Allergology at the Vest Clinic in Recklinghausen:

Is it really allowed to use any color when tattooing and are substances hazardous to health also used?
The use of colors has not yet been well regulated, from copy toner to soot from burned car tires or car paint, a lot is used here. You should definitely talk to your tattoo artist about where the colors come from and whether there is a minimum amount of information on ingredients. In many cases, however, the colors are not exactly known, so that little can be said about the health risk. Decomposition products can also arise, e.g. when the tattoo is removed with the laser, which are then themselves carcinogenic.

What diseases can these substances such as car paints cause?
Fortunately, most pigments are chemically stable, some can trigger allergies, which is of course particularly tragic because the allergy-triggering substance was then introduced into the skin for eternity. A tattoo pigment is also transported into the regional lymph nodes via the lymphatic system, what then happens to the immune system has not yet been researched in detail. In cancer operations, however, where lymph node tissue is removed, we see clearly discolored lymph nodes in tattooed people, which sometimes makes a correct cancer diagnosis difficult.

In which places are tattoos permanent and can no longer be removed?
Anyone who has their eyeballs tattooed will certainly have a hard time getting them removed again. Removal can also be problematic in the intimate area due to the higher risk of scarring from the thin skin and greater pain during treatment.

What does a removal cost? And is it done with an operation?
Depending on the size, the costs can be several hundred euros, as several sessions are often required. The treatments can take several weeks to months. Usually you do a trial operation and then the patient can decide whether he wants the entire tattoo to be removed. Incidentally, the health insurance companies do not bear the costs.

Why do your patients have their tattoos removed?
It is very different, mostly because it no longer suits you or no longer fits the current phase of life, sometimes for professional reasons, and sometimes even to make room for a new tattoo.


Further information on dermatology and allergology can be found here.