Remember when I told you that smoking and plastic surgery don’t mix? Well, it turns out that smoking and laser tattoo removal don’t, either.
The results of a recent study conducted by a team of medical researchers in Milan, Italy suggest that smokers have a harder time getting rid of unwanted tattoos than nonsmokers do. Though it’s too early to know for sure why this is the case, the study’s co-author, Dr. Luigi Naldi, thinks that it has to do with the fact that smoking inhibits/weakens the immune system.
Naldi and his colleagues also found that older tattoos tended to be harder to remove than newer ones This is because the ink sinks deeper into the skin and fat as the years go by, making it more difficult for the laser to reach the particles. The study also revealed that tattoos on the feet and legs are harder to remove than tattoos on other parts of the body; that large tattoos are more resistant to removal than small ones; and that the removal of tattoos containing yellow, blue, and green dyes is 80 percent less effective than the removal of tattoos containing only black and red inks.
What we can learn from this study? For one, if you’re playing with the idea of getting one of your tattoos removed, don’t wait—the longer it’s on your skin, the harder it will be for the laser to do its job! As for the effect of cigarettes upon tattoo removal success rates: If you’re a smoker, consider laying off the nicotine for at least a little bit before and after your treatments. Let your immune system do its job. This will increase your chances of erasing that unwanted ink once and for all.
If you’re interested in learning more about laser tattoo removal, give us a call!