Does Tattoo Removal Cream Work?

So you’re ready to part with your tattoo. Of course, you want to make the process as simple and successful as possible, and it’s not unlikely that these goals have led you to consider tattoo removal cream. The idea of an at-home tattoo removal cream that works by erasing your unwanted tattoo art is obviously appealing, but how does tattoo removal cream work and is it actually effective? We’re here to tell you what we know.

The Goal Of Tattoo Removal Creams

If you’re trying to make sense of tattoo removal methods, it’s helpful to begin with some foundational knowledge about what a tattoo is. Tattoos are essentially composed of ink particles stuck in your dermis (a thick layer of tissue that lies directly beneath your skin, or epidermis). Why are they stuck there? Well, although your white blood cells (WBCs) want to carry away the foreign material, ink particles are simply too large for the WBCs to carry and dispose of. Thus, the particles stay fixed in the dermis and tattoos remain permanent—at least until tattoo removal methods enter the picture. So basically, every tattoo removal method ultimately aims to deal with these ink particles, and the approaches they take are what distinguishes them. For instance, laser tattoo removal uses high-speed lasers to break up the pigment in the skin and while it may be the most expensive tattoo removal method it is still the most effective tattoo removal method. On the other hand, dermabrasion sands down the skin with a high-speed brush, salabrasion uses salt to sand down the skin and remove ink, excision surgically removes the tattooed portion of the skin, and tattoo removal creams utilize chemicals to remove inks.

Types of Tattoo Removal Creams

Tattoo removal creams are applied as topical treatments and most commonly use hydroquinone or trichloroacetic acid (TCA) as the active removal agent. These two chemicals function quite differently from one another.

TCA induces a chemical burn—and yes, that is as scary as it sounds. TCA tattoo removal creams work by burning or peeling away layers of the epidermis in an apparent effort to free some of the ink pigment stuck way below in the dermis. Effectiveness is low, and the possibility of scarring is extremely high. More likely than not, you’ll be left with a significant scar in place of or in addition to your existing tattoo. Creams that use TCA are perhaps your worst option.

Hydroquinone, on the other hand, takes a less damaging albeit equally ineffective approach. The chemical hydroquinone is actually used by dermatologists to treat epidermal melasma, a condition involving irregular pigmentation in the epidermis. Hydroquinone is effective in fading irregular pigmentation in cases of epidermal melasma but is not effective in treating other kinds of melasma—namely dermal and mixed melasma. These cases involve irregular pigmentation of the dermis  (the same layer of tissue where ink particles reside) as opposed to the epidermis. In these cases, hydroquinone is simply too superficial to get the job done. The chemical is not capable of affecting any condition that occurs in the dermis—including tattoos. Additionally, it has been shown to cause eczema. Like TCA, the drawbacks of this option greatly outweigh the benefits.

There are creams out there that don’t rely on either TCA or hydroquinone as active ingredients. They are difficult to find, and as far as we have found, reviews always reveal them to be scams (for example, this $55 Tattoo-Off Cream with review after review warning how ineffective it is). In fact, regardless of their composition, tattoo removal creams turn out to be scams far too frequently. This probably has to do with the fact that their production is altogether unregulated by the FDA, allowing essentially anyone to market ineffective treatments to hopeful buyers.

Another Way To Remove Tattoos

It’s disappointing, but the evidence is clear: Tattoo removal creams just don’t work. We’re not the only ones who have come to this conclusion—in addition to the countless disappointed users of tattoo removal cream, the Mayo Clinic and American Academy of Dermatology both strongly recommend against using these creams. They are ineffective, unregulated, and unsafe.

Before you become too discouraged, please allow us to point you in a hopeful direction: Laser tattoo removal. It is undeniably the most effective method, and lots of people don’t realize that many of the qualities that make tattoo removal cream so appealing are offered by laser tattoo removal as well. Perhaps the sheer use of the word “laser” leads people to believe the process is dauntingly complex. On the contrary, we actually find it to be the most straightforward, logical method of tattoo removal. The gist is this: A laser shatters the large ink particles stuck in your dermis, making them small enough for WBCs to carry away. The WBCs do their job and just like that, the tattoo is gone. It’s not rocket science, but if you’re interested in more technical details you can read about them here.

Another common misconception is that laser tattoo removal costs will eat up your entire life savings. Sources promoting tattoo removal cream will tell you the procedure costs thousands and thousands of dollars. Perhaps in the most complex cases the price begins to approach these figures, but in many instances the entire removal comes to less than $1000.

The day an effective tattoo removal cream is invented will be a glorious day and we will be right alongside you celebrating, but it certainly hasn’t arrived yet. For the sake of your health, your time, and success of the process: If you’re thinking about tattoo removal, stay away from creams.

What is PicoSure Tattoo Removal and is it Worth It?

Erase the Oops

We all make mistakes, especially when we’re young. Luckily, we don’t have to live with them forever or be reminded of them on a daily basis.

If you’re ready to get rid of an embarrassing or just plain ugly tattoo from your past, The Untattoo Parlor can help. We specialize in PicoSure tattoo removal, an efficient laser removal system that works with your body to efficiently erase unwanted and hard-to-remove ink.

What is PicoSure Tattoo Removal?

As the world’s first laser that uses picoseconds (trillionths of a second) and PressureWave technology, PicoSure delivers laser energy that targets dark and multi-colored tattoo ink without harming the surrounding skin. The PicoSure laser is FDA-approved, safe, and more effective than traditional tattoo removal at removing stubborn ink.

What to Expect with PicoSure Tattoo Removal

During a PicoSure treatment at The Untattoo Parlor, the PressureWave technology will create ultra-short pulses of energy that target ink particles in the skin. These rapid pulses cause a pressure change that breaks tattoo ink into tiny particles. These particles will then be absorbed into the lymphatic system and eliminated naturally by the body.

Treatments for average sized tattoos take around 10 minutes, while larger tattoos can take much longer. The number of required treatments depends on the size, color, and location of a tattoo and are usually administered about every 6-8 weeks. PicoSure tattoo removal is typically described as a similar feeling to getting an actual tattoo and can cause some minor discomfort. For this reason, all of our tattoo removal services are performed by a trained staff of registered nurses and a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, offering a local anesthetic to minimize any discomfort during treatment.

Is PicoSure Tattoo Removal Worth It?

The PicoSure laser is more effective than traditional tattoo removal and in most cases,  requires fewer treatments. Most tattoo removal lasers use nanosecond pulses, making PicoSure’s picosecond pulses a more efficient solution for erasing past mistakes. PicoSure works best with green, blue, purple, and black inks that were previously difficult to treat.

While older laser removal systems simply heat the ink in the skin, PicoSure both heats and fractures the tattoo’s ink into tiny particles, allowing for better absorption and eventual elimination by the body. This cutting-edge technology has vastly improved the tattoo removal process.

The Untattoo Parlor is your premier source for PicoSure tattoo removal in Portland. Our team is professional, experienced, and trained in getting your skin back to the way it was. We’re the most experienced laser tattoo removal service in the Pacific Northwest that offers PicoSure’s picosecond wavelength tattoo removal lasers and are prepared to get any ink removal job done. Contact us today to learn more about pricing on PicoSure tattoo removal or to book a consultation with one of our PicoSure experts.

5 Promising Laser Tattoo Removal Results After First Treatment

Laser tattoo removal takes time. It’s a hard truth, especially if you’re stuck with a tattoo on your body that you hate and you’re ready to get rid of it…yesterday. Removing tattoos is potentially very painful (unless the clinic you are at uses lidocaine) and most tattoos take 3-6 sessions for a complete removal, but some promising laser tattoo removal results can be seen after the first treatment. If you’re just looking for your tattoo to be lightened enough for a cover-up, then, depending on the depth, age and color of your tattoo, you may be happy with the laser tattoo removal results after your first treatment.

At The Untattoo Parlor, we specialize in laser tattoo removal, using advanced Picosecond laser technology for the fastest and most effective laser removal possible. This laser technology fades tattoos quickly for some of the best laser tattoo removal results after first treatment.

Here is some example of our work:

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Before Starting Laser Tattoo Removal

tattoo removal after one session

Laser Tattoo Removal Results After First Treatment

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before after tattoo removal

Before Starting Laser Tattoo Removal

tattoo removal after one session

Laser Tattoo Removal Results After First Treatment

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before after tattoo removal

Before Starting Laser Tattoo Removal

tattoo removal after one session

Laser Tattoo Removal Results After First Treatment

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laser tattoo removal before and after

Before Starting Laser Tattoo Removal

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Laser Tattoo Removal Results After First Treatment

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laser tattoo removal before and after

Before Starting Laser Tattoo Removal

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Laser Tattoo Removal Results After First Treatment

 

Check out our full gallery of tattoo removal before and after images to see the complete journey from first session to a complete tattoo removal.

Can Permanent Makeup Be Removed?

Every few years there seems to be a resurgence of permanent makeup tattoos. While it seems like a great idea on the surface (who doesn’t want to look their best all the time), permanent makeup comes with a very real commitment and some very serious consequences for those with a change of heart. Like other tattoos, cosmetic tattoos are a permanent body modification. Ink inserted under the skin can only be removed through a few methods and not all of them are great options, especially when it comes to the delicate skin on your lips, eyes, eyebrows and face. Many of the options available for tattoo removal simply aren’t suitable for permanent makeup removal, and, as a result, many people opt to get cover-up tattoos, which can result in even further issues resulting from poor application and fading.

Hate Your Permanent Makeup? There’s Hope!

If you have tattooed eyebrows, permanent lip-liner or any other cosmetic tattoo that you hate, you may be asking the question, “Can permanent makeup be removed?”. The answer is yes. There’s hope to get your beautiful natural face back!

The best method for removing permanent makeup is modern laser tattoo removal technology. Choosing a clinic which specializes in permanent and cosmetic makeup removal is important. While the processes of both tattoo removal and permanent makeup removal are very similar, special care and technology must be used in order to protect the delicate area around your eyes and mouth.

Now that you have hope that, yes, permanent makeup can be removed, you may be eager and very ready to jump right in. Before you do that, there are some questions you should ask before deciding to get a permanent makeup removal procedure:

  • Are you a board-certified dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or ophthalmologist with laser tattoo removal experience?
  • Do you have a large number of cosmetic tattoo removal procedures in your bank of experience already?
  • Can you connect me to previous patients who have undergone the treatment who would be willing to speak to me?

The Untattoo Parlor has extensive experience working with patients to remove all forms of cosmetic makeup. Dr. Garrett Vangelisti is a board-certified plastic surgeon and specializes in tattoo removal in Portland Oregon.

Offering A Pain-Free Option For Laser Tattoo Removal

It’s true, tattoo removal is painful. According to many, it’s even more painful than getting a tattoo in the first place, which is why most tattoo artists insist that customers are both sober and confident about their commitment before getting inked. After all, it’s supposed to be permanent. Luckily, advancements in laser tattoo removal technology have made complete removal possible. But it still hurts.

So what can you do about the pain? Some tattoo removal shops recommend applying a topical lidocaine before tattoo removal, to numb the pain. While this can help to dull some of the sharpest pinching sensations, it doesn’t take away the pain entirely. It also takes up to 40 minutes to work effectively, so patients are encouraged to apply any lidocaine cream at home before their tattoo removal appointment. Any clinic can offer topical lidocaine before tattoo removal, since you don’t need to be a licensed professional, but it doesn’t really offer the same level of pain-free tattoo removal experience that lidocaine shots do. For the most pain-free option, shots of lidocaine before tattoo removal can offer full numbing to the tattoo area.

As a clinic that prides itself on being pain-free, The Untattoo Parlor offers full lidocaine injections before performing tattoo removal. Our registered nurses and doctor on staff provide helpful and safe injections at the beginning of your appointment to help you have the most comfortable, least painful tattoo removal experience possible.

Improve Your Recovery Period: Laser Tattoo Removal Aftercare

After your first tattoo removal appointment at The Untattoo Parlor we will explain all of the necessary laser tattoo removal aftercare steps that you can take to help your skin heal most effectively.

Following the proper laser tattoo removal aftercare is important for more than just a quick healing process. Remember, laser tattoo removal creates a superficial wound in the skin, very similar to a burn wound. There are a few normal side effects that you should expect, such as immediate whitening of the skin, some bruising, swelling, blistering, and scabbing. All of those are fairly normal and should subside within a few weeks. However, the proper after laser tattoo removal care can prevent additional unwanted side effects that come from poor wound healing, such as skin discoloration, texture changes, and infection.

Laser Tattoo Removal Aftercare Suggestions

Just like when your tattoo was fresh, there are some major things you’ll need to avoid after laser tattoo removal in order to heal effectively such as sun exposure, pool water, salt water, and hot tubs. It’s normal for your treated tattoo to scab over and possibly blister. If you experience blistering, just continue to apply ointment until the blister has popped naturally and scabbed over. Do not pick at the scabs or pop any of the blisters on your own, and avoid shaving or any activities which could scrape the area until it’s completely healed. Many people also experience itching during the healing process. Applying an ointment such as Aquaphor, Vitamin E ointment, or hydrocortisone cream usually provides the necessary relief.

For 24 Hours After:

If necessary, you can shower with indirect low-pressure water 2 hours after your laser tattoo removal treatment, but avoid soaking your treated tattoo (baths, hot tubs, saunas, and swimming). Be sure to elevate and treat the area with cold compresses to help with pain relief and reduce inflammation. If you need additional pain relief use Tylenol but avoid taking ibuprofen, Aspirin and naproxens which can cause additional bruising and other unwanted side effects.

3 Days After:

For the first 3 days of laser tattoo removal aftercare, keep the tattoo removal area covered with a fresh sterile bandage daily and apply a thin layer of ointment such as Aquaphor, Elta MD Post Balm, Neosporin, Polysporin or A&D Ointment. If you feel it is necessary, you can use mild soap and water and pat the area dry. Avoid all makeup for at least three days after laser tattoo removal treatment.

5-10 Days After:

You should start to see some improvement of the treated area after about 5-10 days, but the right laser tattoo removal aftercare is important to continue the healing process with maximum results. Gentle daily massage of the treated tattoo will help your body’s absorption of the broken up ink and speed up fading. Keep your treated tattoo covered, and avoid direct sun exposure for at least 5-10 days after treatment. You should continue to protect your tattoo with SPF 25 or higher for 3 months or more for the most effective after laser tattoo removal care.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about how your treated tattoo is healing, and the best laser tattoo removal aftercare, please feel free to contact our office. Our staff is made up of registered nurses and plastic surgeons, to give you the most professional treatment available.

What Is The Best Tattoo Removal Method?

In this modern era of information overload, you can find DIY and at-home solutions for everything. From treating health symptoms, to sewing your own clothes, even removing your tattoos at home. While there does exist a wide variety of alternative tattoo removal processes, we highly recommend seeking the help of a professional tattoo removal shop for the best tattoo removal results.

Unlike other methods which remove tattoos by destroying or removing the skin, tattoo removal lasers remove tattoos by breaking up the pigment particles into smaller pieces that can be processed and easily eliminated by the body. This process targets tattoo pigments specifically, and leaves the rest of the skin alone which prevents scarring and unnecessary damage.

Laser tattoo removal really is the best tattoo removal process currently available, and with advancements in laser technology designed to target the full range of pigment colors and remove tattoos at a faster rate, we honestly don’t see the need to look elsewhere. At UnTattoo, we offer the highest quality Oregon tattoo removal services at our comfortable and professional office located in the Pearl District of Portland. Our trained staff of registered nurses and Board Certified Plastic Surgeon offers local anesthetic to ease your body through the process of removing your unwanted ink, giving you a clean canvas with minimal pain.

What Are The Typical Results From Laser Tattoo Removal After One Treatment?

Once you complete your first session, you may be wondering what you can expect from laser tattoo removal after one treatment. We know that people are usually eager to see significant results as soon as possible. After all, once you finally make the decision to start the removal process, you’ve already been fed up with your tattoo for awhile, possibly even for decades.

Unfortunately, unlike getting a tattoo which shows up pretty much immediately, laser tattoo removal is a process often requiring between 3-6 treatments for complete removal. Because of this, we always warn people that you may not see huge changes to your tattoo right away. But don’t be discouraged! Every time you sit under the laser, you are making progress. And while it might be difficult to notice significant changes at first, a comparison between photographs taken during previous visits can reveal the true extent of progress.

The typical results from laser tattoo removal after one treatment vary. Things like ink color, concentration, age and the depth of the actual tattoo, all factor into the responsiveness of the tattoo to laser treatment. And, while your first session should show at least some results, there are a few things that might affect the upfront visual significance of your laser tattoo removal after one treatment.

Tattoos don’t always fade consistently across the entire image.

This is due to the differences between colors, thickness and depth that can exist in a single tattoo. Tattoos which include both black lines and colors (especially green or blue) may require different treatments, so you might see fading in one portion of your tattoo but no results in another. That’s why we tackle your particular tattoo’s laser tattoo removal with a review and consultation at the beginning of every session. Choosing the best action for that session to create the most results.

Some kinds of tattoos are more difficult to remove than others.

This has more to do with density than darkness, since the ink layers are broken up by the laser and removed from the top down. The thicker and more dense the tattoo, the longer it will take. Thick tattoos and black lines are especially stubborn in showing immediate results, often appearing fuzzy before they really show fading.

Different colors often require different lasers to effectively remove.

Through our research and experience, we know that reds, oranges, yellows and browns are best treated with wavelengths of 532nm, whereas dark colors like black are best removed with wavelengths of 1064nm. For this, we use our Cutera laser, which operates in those two wavelengths. Green and blue tattoo inks require a 755nm wavelength to remove, for which we use our PicoSure laser.

The location of your tattoo matters.

The closer to your heart that the tattoo is, the faster it will fade. This is due to increased blood pressure and immune cells present in areas closer to your heart. As a result, chest and back tattoos will fade faster than hand and foot tattoos.

Smoking will significantly increase your tattoo removal time.

The American Medical Association’s Archives of Dermatology found that smoking can reduce the chance of successfully removing a tattoo after 10 treatment sessions by 70%. As a smoker, the body’s immune system is already dealing with the removal of foreign objects, removing smoke and other particles from the lungs which significantly reduces its ability to tackle the additional foreign objects caused by broken up ink particles. That’s not to say that we can’t remove your tattoo as a smoker, but be prepared for a longer recovery time and quite a few more sessions to achieve a complete removal.

Everyone’s body processes ink removal differently. It takes time for the body to process broken up ink particles and remove it from the tattoo site. So the results from one person’s laser tattoo removal after one treatment, may vary drastically from another person’s. We can give you our best estimate when you come in for a free consultation during your first visit, but your results will be specific for your body and particular tattoo.

What Is The Most Effective Tattoo Removal Method?

There are a few different options out there for removing your unwanted tattoos, ranging from the cringe-worthy to the clinical. The internet is full of at-home tattoo removal techniques, and tips to make your tattoos fade. And while some of these techniques may provide results, the honest truth is that not all of them are equally as effective.

Processes such as dermabrasion and salabrasion, remove tattoos by sanding down or removing the top layer of tattooed skin. This is somewhat effective in that it literally removes the tattoo along with the skin, but it also takes quite a few repeated sessions (more than necessary for effective laser tattoo removal) and often leaves a scar behind after the skin heals. Other potential at home tattoo removal options include tattoo removal creams and natural topical applications, which provide varied results, but are often more effective at fading rather than eliminating the tattoo altogether.

So, what is the most effective tattoo removal method?

If you want the most effective tattoo removal experience, we highly recommend going to a professional clinic that uses a tattoo removal laser for your tattoo removal needs. We have to mention that not all tattoo removal lasers are made equal, however. Older-style Q-Switch lasers function in nanoseconds, whereas picosecond lasers function at picosecond speeds and are faster and more effective, delivering pulses of light at a trillionth of a second. This difference in speed is what makes the picosecond laser the most effective tattoo removal method, by breaking up the pigment in the tattooed skin faster and into smaller particles that can be removed by the body more quickly.

At The UnTattoo Parlor, we use two different picosecond lasers, the Enlighten Cutera and a PicoSure laser, to eliminate all ink colors from your tattoo. This is the most comprehensive combination of lasers, tools and talent for tattoo removal in Oregon.

Does Pain-Free Tattoo Removal Exist?

There’s a lot of unnecessary fear surrounding laser tattoo removal. One of the biggest deterrents people hear before getting a new tattoo is how much it will hurt to get it removed if you ever decide you don’t like it anymore. While that fear is valid, it’s based on traditional tattoo removal methods that don’t take advantage of modern forms of pain reduction. Isn’t it a relief to know that, if pain is your main deterrent for finally getting that tattoo removed, there are actually pain free tattoo removal options?

The UnTattoo Parlor is staffed with trained, licensed and registered nurses and a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. This allows us to provide nothing but the best and least painful tattoo removal treatment in Portland, OR. We offer lidocaine shots before the application of the tattoo removal laser, which numbs the skin and allows for a nearly pain free tattoo removal process. So, if that tattoo isn’t right for you anymore, don’t let the fear of pain be a deterrent from changing your ink.