Risks and side effects of laser tattoo removal

Important points, that you should know! 

As with all other removal methods, the application of a laser system is a medical procedure that is associated with risks. The differences between the various types of lasers and systems vary greatly and might not be apparent to laymen at first glance. Moreover, the number of cheap imports is increasing rapidly, so please alway keep in mind that it's your biggest and most beautiful organ: your skin. Tattoo removal is only to be performed by trained laser therapists!


A YAG-Laser is used in business and medicine. Its great advantage is that it works with a high energy density in the nano-second range and can treat targeted areas of the skin without any intrusive medical instruments. This protects your skin, decreases the side effects and speeds up the healing process.


But keep in mind that the highly focused laser beam has the risk of causing the unwanted pigment to explode, sometimes can also produce pain. However, the exceptions are very different, according to experience. In general, the treatment of pain is comparable to tattooing itself or the flick of a rubber band on the skin. By cooling the area to be treated the pain is even more limited. People who are particularly sensitive to pain mar feel slight dizziness and nausea after the treatment. Here, a local anesthetic can be applied if the doctor recommends it. During or after the treatment, the area may be swollen and/or red. With a very strong reaction, it also can lead to bleeding and/or blistering. Such things usually disappear after a few days by itself. Important for the prevention of scarring is not to puncture the bubbles and let all scabbing fully heal itself. Only then the area of skin optimally regenerated. Unfortunately, itching is part of the healing process.


Infections can be caused by herpes viruses (can be activated by the laser) and bacteria often involved in unprofessional treatment and lack of hygiene. Avoid saunas and full baths for the next 3 - 7 days. Showering is possible, wherein the treated skin should be dried by dabbing. Light or dark coloring of the lasered area is rare. If it does change color, the hyper-or hypopigmentation of the skin disappears within 5 - 6 months. This effect is triggered by the colored skin cells that are also treated by laser therapy. Therefore, please protect the treated skin area from UV radiation. Sun tanning should be entirely avoided until the end of the therapy. The more tanned the skin is, the more likely an unwanted whitening of the site will appear after laser treatment. In addition, there may be a color change within the area of treated tattoos after laser therapy (even darker colors). A free trial treatment of a small border area should always be included in the consultation because no therapist knows which color composition  your tattoo is made of just by looking. Blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin should be discontinued approximately 1 week before the start of treatment in order to avoid bruising.


Can tattoos cause cancer?

Regular examinations performed on Tattoo Ink demonstrates that serious and dangerous ingredients are in them. Crucial for the answer to the question of carcinogens, among other things, considering the contained azo dyes and / or azo pigments and possible heavy metals in some tattoo inks, can cause allergic reactions.

Azo-dyes are, for example, used much more for coloring paper, textiles, and oils because of their color properties are very good and include high luminosity. Azo dyes that may produce toxic or include and release carcinogenic amines, are banned in Germany for tattooing but many foreign tattoo colors still may contain such dyes.

Even so-called azo-pigments are found in a number of tattoo inks. They differ from the azo dyes in that they are practically insoluble, strong staining, non-toxic powder that cannot be decomposed by the body.

The difference of the two dye groups consists in the fact that azo dyes can be split again into the source material by the body itself. Azo pigments, however, are split only by UV, X-Rays, Gamma, or laser irradiation.  Aromatic amines released cause concern (so-called reductive cleavage of aromatic amines), because they can cause cancer - but do not have to! You know the topic certainly in relation to the consumption of chips, crisp bread and grilled meats. There is not unfortunately not a precise and detailed scientific investigation. The fact is that the risk of cancer is greatly increased and you need to educate the customer about it! The important question here is, are the tattoo pigments completely removed from the body via the lymphatic system or are the substances stored somewhere in the body?

In many cases, especially with foreign engraved tattoos, as a future tattoo carriers rarely are educated about the contained ingredients used there tattoo inks. Heavy metals and industrial waste products are often used to give the inks more color or luminosity. These ingredients may be included, but lead to massive allergic reactions. Dr. Landthaler of the University of Regensburg was involved with the subject of tattoo colors on the most extensive study to date, and relevant and reported symptoms such as swelling, redness, itching and allergic reactions are experienced by some participants, even years after the tattoo was applied.


Please research the facts about tattoo ink using the information provided by the German Tätowiermittelverordnung (TätoV) and the German Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR)

On the topic of tattoo colors, we are in collaboration with physicians, tattoo artists and scientists, as well as the German Tattoo Regulations in the coming months and will report extensively about it! Please understand that we approach in this recent Blog-Post on this topic only very superficially. More will follow soon!


Please see your treating physician for any more questions.

Crucial for a first-class treatment outcome is the responsible behavior of the therapist and accurate information given by the patient in the follow-up! The success of laser therapy therefore also depends on your contribution! 

However, based on current knowledge, there is no guarantee for a 100% tattoo removal!

Jedoch: Eine Garantie für eine 100-%ige Tattooentfernung gibt es nach derzeitigem Kenntnisstand nicht!


What you should do:

- avoid sun exposure before and after treatment

- avoid full baths and saunas for up to 5 - 7 days after

- clean the skin area with antibacterial, alcohol-free solutions

- let scabs and sores heal on their own

- avoid scratching or scrubbing and dab the skin only

In order to stimulate the metabolism and help the lymphatic system, the color pigments degrade rapidly, drink pineapple juice. This stimulates the metabolism.

The most important for you to know is:

For a successful tattoo removal by laser, you need patience!

Each tattoo is, just like every human body, very customizable!

This information is general in nature and not comprehensive. Do not ever replace consultations with your laser therapist. If you have questions, then you should make an appointment with your dermatologist in person. For more questions and a more detailed explanation on risks and side effects, ask your doctor or pharmacist!

We have answered some frequently asked questions in a separate menu on our website.