Can Laser Tattoo Removal Cause Cancer?

By on September 16, 2020 under Tattoo Removal

Laser tattoo removal is one of the most effective ways to remove a tattoo with the right package of treatments. It’s normal to be hesitant about it, though, especially when you might not know how it works. It’s important to know that laser tattoo removal does not carry a risk of cancer, so here’s what to know about it and how it can help.

How Do Dermatologists Remove Tattoos?

There are several ways to get rid of a tattoo, the safest and most effective options using laser technology. Dermatologists usually use a Q-switch laser, which produces powerful energy pulses and can break up the pigment in the skin into small enough pieces that the body can dispose of it. On the surface, the process makes the ink gradually disappear. Different colors may require other lasers or wavelengths for best results.

Does Lase Tattoo Removal Hurt?

Laser tattoo removal usually requires local anesthesia like a topical numbing cream. You may feel something similar to a rubber band snap during the treatment, but most patients find this tolerable. Afterward, you can apply ice packs to the area to manage any discomfort.

Laser Tattoo Removal Side Effects

Getting a tattoo removed can come with some side effects like scarring or hypopigmentation, or a whitish area on the skin. Hyperpigmentation is also a risk, or a darkened area on the skin. Selecting a board-certified dermatologist is one of the best ways to cut down on your risks and manage any side effects.

Laser Tattoo Removal and Cancer

The Skin Cancer Foundation has reliable findings that laser tattoo removal does not directly cause skin cancer. However, laser tattoo removal can make the skin more photosensitive after treatment, leading to an increased risk of sun damage. However, avoiding direct sunlight and applying sunscreen can greatly reduce this risk. It’s also worth noting that tattoo pigments have no known relation to cancer. Someone with a tattoo has no higher risk of skin cancer than a person who doesn’t have one.

Caring for Your Skin After Laser Tattoo Removal

It’s important to take good care of your skin after laser tattoo removal. This includes:
• Following a good skincare routine to keep your skin healthy and moisturized according to your dermatologist’s instructions.
• Protecting your skin with sunscreen after laser tattoo removal. Doing so can help avoid scars and reduce cancer risk.
• Apply Aquaphor or Vaseline to the treated area to prevent scarring and dryness.

Schedule a Consultation

The best way to learn more about laser tattoo removal and how it can help is by meeting with a board-certified dermatologist. To meet with Dr. Baird and our laser tattoo removal team, we invite you to contact our Farmington office by calling or filling out our online form.