Smoking makes tattoo removal less successful

 
By Shayna Brouker • Published: December 28th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Smokers might want to think twice not only before lighting up, but before getting inked, too. Having a cigarette habit might make it doubly painful if or when you ever want to get that embarrassing butterfly tattoo removed. The latest in tattoo removal research shows that smokers tend to have a tough time when it comes to getting tattoos erased. Smoking chopped the chance of a fruitful tattoo removal in 10 sessions by nearly 70 percent.

The study from Italy also revealed that certain dyes like yellow, blue and green leave a more permanent stain in the skin than black or red. As suspected, large and older tattoos are harder to remove than small and new ones, and yellow, blue and green dyes resist removal more readily than black and red dyes.

Interestingly, tats on feet and legs were more permanent than other parts of the body. Results were better when laser removal sessions were spaced at least eight weeks apart. The study, published in the Archives of Dermatology, found that almost 50 percent of people had their tattoos successfully removed after 10 laser treatments. The total percentage of people whose tattoos were successfully removed jumped to 75 percent after 15 treatments.

Laser tattoo removal works by breaking up tattoo dye from the skin, releasing it into the bloodstream to be flushed out. But smoking can slow down this process because it inhibits the immune system. And the longer a tattoo stays on skin, the deeper the pigments sink into flesh and fat, making them harder for lasers to reach.

Yet 36 percent of young’ins age 18 to 25 report having a tattoo, and 40 percent of people between 26 and 40 are inked. If you’re thinking about joining their ranks, keep in mind these results and choose wisely.