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Interested customers, beauticians, tattoo artists and doctors receive treatment know-how and well-researched background information about the important topics in our industry. We choose our sources carefully. Information on other, partly scientific, sources can be found at the end of the article.
Experiences – side effects – complaints after tattoo removal
Anyone who experiences side effects and discomfort after a tattoo removal is understandably very disappointed. You ask yourself “why did this happen to me”, who is to blame and what can you do.
Without a doubt, every scar that develops after a treatment is one too many. In the consultation that precedes every treatment, the client is explained in detail which reactions of the skin are possible and which side effects can occur.
Why do scars develop
Introducing artificial pigments into the skin is the same as dirt for the body. Under normal circumstances, an infection would develop immediately. To prevent this, the Macrophages simply encapsulate the large piles of pigment so that they become invisible to the immune system. Small pigment particles are immediately transported via the lymphatic channels, into the lymph nodes and remain there forever. Nanoscale particles can also enter the bloodstream and even the brain. The more pigment color is deposited in the lymph nodes, the greater the risk of disturbances in immune reactions, for example the production of antibodies. Unfortunately, there are hardly any long-term studies on this, but increasing numbers of allergies and general clinical pictures without obvious causes are constantly on the rise. The “pollution” of the immune system is increasingly suspected as a cause, which can lead to false alarms and disturbances of the system.
The most common side effects of removal are redness, itching or temporary pain, or burn blisters with the laser, which, however, subside after a short time. Dirt infections hardly ever occur and can be quickly combated with appropriate products.
In rare cases, the immune system can overreact. It then produces more collagen at the treatment site(s) to protect against the aggression on the skin. This creates a dense barrier that protects but is aesthetically undesirable. This protective layer is not normal skin, which contains hair or glands. In 90% of cases, the immune system regresses these hypertrophic scars when it realizes that they are not (no longer) needed for protection.
A special form is the keloid. It proliferates beyond the treatment site. In more than half of the cases, keloids are triggered by genetic predisposition and are therefore recognized as a skin disease. In dark-skinned people, the occurrence is more frequent and possible completely without cause.
How the body reacts to the pigments
If the immune system detects the foreign bodies (pigments) during the original pigmentation and discovers substances it is not familiar with, the defense process begins, which can be recognized by the reddening of the treatment area. The production of antibodies can take several weeks. Only in the case of highly toxic substances does an immediate reaction occur, e.g., through inflammation. Usually, however, the pigments are either transported via the lymphatic channels into the lymph nodes or encapsulated by macrophages after a short time. The ink molecules and molecular clusters are much too large for the macrophages to decompose or “eat” them. Therefore, they remain encased in place and form the tattoo. After only a few weeks, up to 40% of the pigments, especially the small parts, have migrated into the lymph nodes and UV light breaks down the large clumps and makes them transportable over time.
Why does a skin reaction often only occur during removal
The pigments are still liquid and encapsulated in the upper dermis even after years. Thermal (laser) or chemical (cosmetic methods) triggers loosen the adhesion to the pigments and thus the “stealth cap” of the macrophages and the immune system recognizes the substances again and begins to react to them. If antibodies have formed against suspect substances in the past, they now massively kick in and can lead to immune reactions that we perceive as side effects. The extreme heat of the laser or incorrect cosmetic handling can also lead to said side effects.
Why does every person react differently?
Due to different genes, the immune system differs from person to person. Whether a body is young or old, whether it has previous damage, whether there are genetic imprints that amplify reactions, or whether the person is temporarily under stress, can make a big difference in terms of reaction to wounds or external aggression. In the rarest of cases, immune reactions can be predicted. Many pigments contain minute traces of toxic substances, even if they are officially “approved”, because an immune system does not follow legal limits, which can also differ from country to country and are also constantly changing.
Who is responsible for treatment errors?
Side effects can have many causes. Some doctors lack experience in using laser equipment because they perform removals far too infrequently and the equipment and settings are complex. Some laser devices are not suitable for tattoo removal, are outdated or cannot remove certain colors or color mixtures. But even with cosmetic methods, there can be treatment errors if methods are not applied cleanly.
If you have sought out established companies and brands for your treatment, or doctors who specialize in laser removal, the risk of equipment being used incorrectly or methods being used poorly or unsuitable products being used is small, but not fundamentally excluded. Today, most of the methods and products used in Europe are recognized. The companies usually comply with the legal requirements. Individual errors on the part of the practitioner are always very difficult for clients to prove. This applies to doctor’s errors as well as to cosmetician’s errors.
What can the client contribute?
Many clients underestimate their own contribution to the regeneration and healing of the treatment area. Those who do not allow UV radiation, refrain from friction, greater humidity and stronger physical exertion, and use the recommended caring substances can contribute significantly to ensuring that the regeneration of the treatment site takes place optimally. Unfortunately, we see time and again that carelessness causes wound healing disorders, which are the cause of side effects and unsatisfactory results.
Correlation and causality
Anyone undergoing correction or removal treatment should be aware of the risk of side effects. Anyone who wants to eliminate this risk should not have any correction or removal treatment done, or even better, should not have any artificial pigments placed under the skin. There is no tattoo removal without risk, regardless of the method used, just as there is no pigmentation without risk.
In retrospect, it is rarely possible to determine exactly why this or that side effect occurred. This is often due to the complex interrelationships that underlie scarring. A connection between scarring and treatment is often obvious, but it is difficult to provide sufficient proof of the actual cause.
Nevertheless, good results are achieved today, and no one has to live with an unwanted tattoo or PMU. However, for those who have had the misfortune to suffer a side effect, there are many options available from the medical profession and from cosmetics to improve the appearance of scars or to make them disappear visually or at least appear less visible.
This topic is often instrumentalized. Therefore, we explain the scientific-medical basics in simple terms. The laser method works with strong radiation and the cosmetic method with mechanical skin treatment. Both
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Über hypertrophe Narben und Keloide kursieren in den Medien viele Falschinformationen. An vielen Fragen zu dem Thema wird noch geforscht. Die folgende wissenschaftliche Abhandlung zeigt den heutigen Stand des Wissens
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