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By VanishingInk, Oct 26 2017 08:44PM

From Pointless to Dangerous

We're not talking about surgical excision – which does undoubtedly work for removing tattoos when performed by an experienced plastic surgeon (but always leaves a scar and is costly). We're talking about the miracle creams and injected solutions that are marketed as a low-cost alternative to laser tattoo removal.

It's unfortunate that these scams are sold on the market today, as they mislead patients and don't deliver on their promises. Their false advertising drives patients to waste time and money, and their products don't provide results for ink removal. Yet, they are still sold to patients that are looking to erase their tattoo without the cost associated with laser treatments.

As a laser tattoo removal provider, you'll want to know the basics about these other methods on the market and how to respond to patients that ask questions about them.

This article explores the different tattoo removal alternatives that are marketed today and the science explaining why they are scams.


Tattoo Removal Creams

Tattoo removal creams, sold under various brand names, are a common scam sold online and in some retail stores, including Walmart. If you do a Google search for "tattoo removal," you likely will see advertisements for various tattoo removal creams in the sidebar.

These creams or gels come in different "proprietary" formulations, often using TCA, hydroquinone, or various acids as the primary active ingredient. They promise that with repeated application, you'll see your tattoo gradually fade. The marketing typically shows convincing results photos despite being vague about how the cream actually works. Some are even sold as a kit with either multiple steps involved or an exfoliating brush.

Most tattoo removal cream products are sold for about $50 per bottle, which is much more affordable than even a single session of laser tattoo removal.

What They Claim

• "3 Step suffusion microdermabrasion process"

• "fades black and colored inks"

• "formulated for all skin types"

• "a chemical serum penetrates deep into the ink-stained layers of skin, breaking up the ink at a cellular level"

• "supports the skin’s natural regeneration process, pushing the inked skin layers to the surface where they can be exfoliated"

• "special combination of natural ingredients such as aloe leaf juice, eucalyptus globules, orange peel, rosemary leaf and sage leaf"

• "incorporates a soothing agent, topical solution, and protective gel"

• "controlled inflammation is generated on the surface of the skin above the tattoo. This inflammation causes the pigment (ink) to naturally break apart and migrate to the surface with new skin growth."

Why They Can't Work

Tattoo removal ink is trapped in the dermal layer of skin. Any safe topical cream will not be able to penetrate through the epidermis into the dermis to reach the tattoo ink. If a topical substance was able to penetrate into the dermis and destroy the tattoo ink, it would cause indescriminate damage to the surrounding skin tissue, resulting in scarring.

Tattoo removal creams aren't notorious for causing scarring or damage to the skin – they're known to simply not work.

One of the more popular tattoo removal creams that is no longer being sold was merely a repackaged bulk bleaching cream – low-concentrated hydroquinone.

Patient Reviews

• "I used this for about a year. I bought 2 boxes of this stuff and nothing, zilch, nada happened. My tattoo still looks brand new. I researched more into microdermabrasion and turns out that the process does NOTHING for tattoos. It simply doesn't penetrate down into enough layers of skin to do anything. It's regular dermabrasion not microdermabrasion that works. So I am out about $130 and a year of my life. The commercials are totally fake about how it works."

• "Their salesperson told me that a 60 day package would eradicate my old, small, lightly colored tattoo. 6 months later, no progress. This product has not worked at all. Not even a little bit."

"Non-Laser" Tattoo Removal

In many markets across the US and abroad, you can find places advertising "non-laser" tattoo removal.

For businesses such as tattoo shops and permanent makeup artists that regularly encounter patients with tattoo regret, many want to offer a removal solution to their clients.

The problem is that professional lasers for tattoo removal require a capital equipment investment, which is a barrier to entry for many businesses. For this reason, "alternative"methods for tattoo removal are promoted to tattoo shops and permanent makeup artists as a way to add additional revenue.

If the main obstacle for tattoo removal creams is penetrating through the epidermis into the dermis – why not use a tattoo machine to puncture the skin? That's the concept behind "non-laser" tattoo removal, which combines the tattooing process with a proprietary liquid or gel that promises to lift tattoo ink out of the dermis.

During the procedure, the provider typically numbs the skin with lidocaine cream, perforates the unwanted tattoo with a tattoo needle, and applies the formula to the tattoo for a set amount of time. Some variant methods inject the solution directly into the tattoo rather than applying it topically over the broken skin. Regardless of the application method, the treated area will form a scab after the procedure. Once the scab falls off after a few weeks, it is supposed to reveal faded ink beneath.

Non-laser tattoo removal methods claim that patients will see complete results in 4 or fewer sessions. Prices per treatment vary depending on the size of the tattoo, but often cost about $100 and last about 30 - 45 minutes.

What They Claim

• "specially-formulated solution bonds with the original tattoo and then draws the ink to the skin’s surface"

• "an innovative proven technique for removing tattoo pigment that works with the body’s natural healing process to form a scab containing the pigment, which then drops off, revealing the eliminated pigment underneath the scab"

• " also contains the scar-inhibiting product... which helps to minimize or prevent scarring"

• "is less painful, more cost-effective as it requires up to 75% fewer treatments for complete removal"

• "implanted into tissue the same way tattoo inks and permanent makeup pigments are implanted in tissue using a tattoo or permanent make-up machine"

• "highly respected and known world-wide to be the number one tattoo and permanent cosmetic removal system"

• "non-toxic and completely removes the ink through the skin externally and not throughout the body"

Why They Can't Work

Here's one of the patents for a non-laser tattoo removal procedure. You can see that the main ingredients are: sea salt, purified water, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) extract, lidocaine hydrochloride (an anesthetic), and hydroxyethylcellulose (a thickening agent). There also are small amounts of essential oils and extracts.

Because the procedure involves opening the skin with the tattoo needle and applying the solution, the method is simply applying salt to a wound. It is painful for patients, and comparable to salabrasion, an out-dated technique that is widely known to cause permanent scarring to the skin.

Other solutions have ingredients such as zinc oxide, magnesium oxide, calcium oxide, isopropanol, triethanolamine, and benzoic acid.

If patients see fading from these methods, it is primarily due to a immune response to the trauma inflicted on the skin. Considering that there are many ways to inflict trauma on the skin and illicit an immune response, the non-laser tattoo removal approach is comparable in effectiveness to abrading the skin with sandpaper, injecting acid into the skin, or any other aggressive method.

There may be some ink fading or removal from the scabs that form, but because the trauma is inflicted to all of the skin's tissue – not solely targeted to the ink – scarring and skin texture change are to be expected.

In all of the cases that we've seen of patients that have previously been treated with non-laser tattoo removal, their skin was raised and thickened as a result. The sad reality is that scar tissue forms in the dermis around the remaining ink, making it more difficult to remove pigment in the future, even with proper equipment.

For further reading, here is a published scholarly article in Dermatologic Surgery about scarring from non-laser tattoo removal:

Patient Reviews

• "They said it would be gone in 1-3 sessions and it was not. It was very painful, they go into your skin with a tattoo needle every session, and I was left with scarring identical to my tattoo even after the extent I took to take care of it after the treatments. I have a permanent scar where my tattoo should be removed."

• "And in the little amount of ink it did pull off, it pulled it off in "chunks", like all of it was there one minute and then nothing was there the next minute. It didn't fade it at all like it says it does, and the way it was coming off like this was concerning. It even left a scar."

• "Worst experience ever. Not only is it extremely painful but I have horrible scarring two years later. Their before and afters are photo shopped and these people are con-artists."

• "I (like we all did) paid a lot of money to be left with this horrible scar and half a tattoo. The tattooist who did the procedure didn't stick with it for long. When I went in about it some time after to complain, they shrugged their shoulders and said that it had been nothing but problematic for them – hence they stopped offering it."

First Published by : Amelia Smith / Nov 11, 2015 11:51:11 AM Through Astanza web site

By VanishingInk, Aug 30 2017 04:15PM

Vanishing Ink Laser Aesthetics is pleased to introducing the new Discovery Pico Laser by Quanta Aesthetic Lasers. This is the new state-of-the-art laser system for removal of all types of tattoos. In addition, it can be used for treatment of benign skin lesions. Vanishing Ink was the first in the Midwest and one of the first in the country to bring this technology to patients.

How does it work?

Q-switched lasers have traditionally been the gold standard method used for removing tattoos, and still are. With the advent of picosecond technology, however, we are now able to remove tattoos faster depending on the tattoo type. The Discovery Laser takes advantage of both picosecond and nanosecond laser pulse durations, in combination, to more effectively remove your tattoos.

Q-switched laser treatments break the tattoo ink particles into smaller pieces, which the body’s immune system can then remove more easily. Picosecond lasers use ultra-short laser pulses that bombard the ink particles at very high pressure – something called a photoacoustic affect. This breaks down the ink into even smaller particles. The particles are then absorbed much more quickly and easily, and eventually get eliminated by the body.

The Discovery Pico’s unique capability of producing picosecond and nanosecond pulses, as well as three different wavelengths, allows us to treat different tattoo colors across differing skin types better than ever before. We can control the type and combination of pulses necessary to give you the ideal treatment. The same is true when targeting lesions that contain pigment, such as age spots, or for skin rejuvenation applications.

How long should it take to remove my tattoo?

The size of the ink particles in your tattoo, the ink colors used and the type of tattoo (that is, whether it’s a professional or amateur one), all are factors affecting the number of treatments sessions you will need to clear the tattoo. At Vanishing Ink Laser Aesthetics Center, we will be able to evaluate your tattoo and its response to treatment in order to recommend the realistic number of treatments you will need. The combination of picosecond and nanosecond pulse delivery means that an optimal number of sessions can be used, likely to be fewer than with traditional Q-switched nanosecond laser removal techniques alone. While individual results can vary, the results of this innovative new technology are that tattoos can be treated and leave virtually no trace in a much shorter time.

Cost of treatment

The cost of Discovery Pico tattoo removal depends on the number of treatment sessions needed and the size and type of the tattoo. Prices start at about $80 dollars a session and increase depending on the size of the tattoo.

By VanishingInk, Jun 12 2017 07:49PM

If you have additional questions, please give us a call to discuss, or schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Gibson.

Millions of men and women undergo removal of unwanted hair every year. Excessive hair growth may be from endocrine abnormalities, medication, or more commonly just from genetic predisposition.

There are several ways today for reducing unwanted hair. These include shaving, plucking, waxing and electrolysis. As anyone who has undergone these procedures knows, the results are most often only temporary. Long-term hair reduction requires more than destroying the hair — you must destroy the follicle itself. The only way to do that is by heating the follicle to a high temperature for a short amount of time.

The way to achieve this is through the use of light energy, which is absorbed by the melanin within hair. Melanin is a pigment that absorbs light to give your skin or hair its color. The type of machine used at Vanishing Ink Laser Aesthetics is specific for the melanin in hair, and is safe and painless, while also being highly effective at eliminating hair follicles.

Treatments work best with brown or black hair, which has a certain type of melanin. Red and blond hair are slightly more difficult, but are still treatable. White, light grey and very light blond hair do not generally respond well to light therapy.

Although individual results may vary, overall the permanency of hair removal should be greater than 80%. This means you may still have some fine hair growth, and may need an occasional touch-up perhaps every one to two years.

Dr. Gibson at Vanishing ink Laser Aesthetics Center recommends that if you are considering permanent hair reduction, you should continue to shave the area but avoid plucking, waxing or electrolysis, as we need the hair within the shaft in order to destroy the follicle.

By VanishingInk, Mar 17 2017 05:50PM

Once considered a cosmetic enhancer for women, Botox Cosmetic has now become much more popular with men as a nonsurgical way to help alleviate wrinkles and look younger. In fact, Botox use in men of all ages has increased by over 300% since 2000 – even more than it has for women during that time!

Botox is used to help with moderate to severe wrinkles, particularly frown lines and crow’s feet. It was approved in the US in 2002 and is now approved in 79 countries. There are more than 400 articles published in scientific journals related to the use of Botox, and it has been used now by millions of people, demonstrating the benefits and longevity of this cosmetic enhancer.

As we age, several things happen. Our faces lose subcutaneous fat over time, and we lose elasticity in our skin. The repeated creasing of our skin becomes more prominent. Botox works by immobilizing the muscle, allowing a smoothing of the skin.

Results may vary for you – you may see results after several days, with peak effects coming at around two weeks. Typically, the results will last three to four months, in all. Having more procedures may allow you to go longer between procedures.

*Individual results may vary

For men, the results should be subtle – with family and friends noticing a difference without knowing exactly why.

As with any medical procedure, the results are only as good as the practitioner’s ability. At Vanishing Ink, we advise that you always seek the services of a medical doctor, trained and certified in the practice of injectables. With proper care, Botox is a safe and highly effective treatment. Even so, there are several myths associated with the use of Botox.

Myth #1: Botox will make you look “like you’ve had work done.”

Truth: Administered properly, Botox subtly smooths the moderate to severe lines around your eyes and forehead.

Myth #2: Botox takes too much time.

Truth: Botox Cosmetic can work with busy schedules. The treatment takes about 30 minutes per session, and requires minimal downtime or recovery. At Vanishing Ink, we will customize appointments to work around your schedule.

Myth #3: Botox Cosmetic is only for women.

Truth: Not at all. Botox Cosmetic is FDA approved to treat all adults, pending a doctor’s approval. In clinical studies for moderate to severe frown lines and crow’s feet, 12 to 17.5% (depending upon the specific treatment provided) of patients treated with Botox Cosmetic were men.

At Vanishing Ink Laser Aesthetics Center, Dr. Mark Gibson is on hand to perform evaluations and answer any questions you have as you consider your options with Botox. Give us a call to make an appointment for your free consultation!

By VanishingInk, Feb 20 2017 04:48PM

We are excited to announce the addition of services to help our patients become the best version of themselves! As of 2017, we are now offering Botox Cosmetic® and Juvederm® injectables. For those who may not be familiar with these products, they are used to help smooth wrinkles on the face and neck.

Even those who are familiar with Botox might be interested in a bit of history about it. Botox is Botulism toxin A, and is FDA approved for use in areas of the face to help smooth out medium-to-deep wrinkles. Botulism toxin A was first studied in the 1960’s and first used in humans in 1978. It was FDA approved in 1989, and since then has been used in a multitude of procedures. There are three brands of the medication, including Botox, which has been on the market the longest. Dysport® has been on the market since 2009, and Xeomin® since 2011. They all work basically the same way.

Juvederm is hyaluronic acid, which can be used to fill in defects in the skin, such as wrinkles or scars. Hyaluronic acid is normally found widely throughout the skin, nerves and connective tissue. Think of it as the stuff that surrounds the cells in your skin.

Now that you know what it can do, you are probably wondering what it costs. Botox is commonly priced per unit. The number of units required varies depending on what results the patient is looking to achieve. By contrast, Juvederm is priced by the syringe. Usually one syringe is needed to enhance the lips. At Vanishing Ink, we work within your budget to maximize results. And we are offering an introductory rate for both Botox and Juvederm through March 15, 2017.

Who should not use Botox or Juvederm? Anyone who may be allergic to the medication. Patients with a history of muscular diseases – including multiple sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and myasthenia gravis. If you are unsure whether Botox or Juvederm are suitable for you, consult with your physician.

If you have ever considered injectables, or would like to learn more, please make your appointment for a free consultation with Dr. Gibson to discuss your options.

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