Posts Tagged ‘FDA’
How To Learn About Tattoo Removal
Thanks to Angelina Jolie, we all are more familiar with the concept of tattoo removal than we might be otherwise. Although the images of Angelina Jolie’s tattoos were removed from Tomb Raider frame by frame by frame, chances are that you don’t have that same option available to you for say, your upcoming wedding video. Here are a few tips on how to get your own personal “Billy Bob” removed:
Laser. In laser tattoo removal, pulses of laser break up the tattoo pigment in the skin. There are three lasers used for tattoo removal, called the Q switched Nd: Yag, Q switched Alexandrite, and the Q switched Ruby. The “Q switching” term refers to the pulses of the laser which are short, high intensity pulses. The laser used depends upon the colors of the tattoo. Several treatments are usually necessary to remove the entire tattoo. The laser fragments the tattoo pigment, which your own immune system then removes. While the laser does break up the pigment, it also does some damage to your skin, sometimes causing blisters and possibly scarring. Follow a photojournalistic account of one woman’s laser tattoo removal journey at Cockeyed.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy. (IPL) uses pulses of light (not laser) with a wavelength between 400 1200 nanometers to target the tattoo pigment in your skin. Your body’s own immune system removes the pigment once it’s been dislodged. People who are naturally dark skinned or have dark skinned relatives are more likely to experience hypo or hyperpigmentation as a result of intense pulsed light therapy.
Excision. You’ve probably had teeth excised. Tattoo excision is a similar process. Anesthetic is used to numb the area, and the tattoo is removed via surgery. The skin is then stitched together, or in some cases involving large areas, a skin graft is used. With large tattoos, however, the tattoo is sometimes taken out in parts, beginning with the center and then removing the sides during a later surgery or surgeries.
Dermabrasion. Dermabrasion is just what it sounds like abrasion of the skin (or derm). The top layer of your skin is abraded away. Ouch! After the procedure, the skin is red and raw and takes several months to heal.
Cover Up. Some people choose to cover up an existing tattoo with a new tattoo. You’ll have to choose a design that works with your existing tattoo. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, take a look at an example here at TattooArtists. You’ll want to choose your tattoo artist carefully for this procedure; ask to see examples of his previous cover up work.
Tattoo Removal Creams. Tattoo removal creams claim to fade the colors of your tattoo. Most of the companies advertising tattoo removal creams seem sketchy at best, and some products may include unsafe chemicals.
BEWARE. If the Food and Drug Administration can’t put the fear of injury into you, I don’t know who can. Check out the FDA web site and type “tattoo removal” into its search function. Be sure that whoever removes your tattoo is up to date on the latest health warnings issued by the FDA.
Remember that, no matter the tattoo removal procedure, you’ll likely have some scarring or variations in color that remain even after your tattoo has been removed. The newer the tattoo, the better your chances of removal A tattoo that has been on your skin for a very long time will likely be more difficult to remove. Still, we’re sure the new hubby will appreciate it!
Tattoos and Tattooing
Tattooing has been around since ancient times. Today, the Mayo Clinic reports that as many as 20 million Americans are tattooed.
Permanent tattoos are applied by injecting color pigments (the same color additives used in cosmetics which are monitored by the FDA) into the skin using a solid, round tip needle attached to a motorized instrument that holds up to 14 needles attached to the pigments. Most tattoo artists use an electrically powered, vertical, vibrating instrument to inject the tattoo pigment. The pigments are injected into the middle layer of the skin at a rate of 15 to 3,000 times per minute.
A tattoo is forever. If you decide that you want a tattoo, know exactly what you want before you find a studio. After you have decided, you will need to find the right artist to do the work. Choose someone with a good reputation or someone whose work you have seen on your friends or other people.
Remember, just because a tattoo parlor is in business doesn’t mean it is maintaining safety and sterility precautions. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that gangrene, syphilis, tuberculosis and HIV are just a few diseases you could contract from contaminated instruments. To avoid these risks, ask to see a state license and accreditation from The Alliance of Professional Tattooing (or a similar organization). Look for basic equipment like germicidal soap, needle buckets, proper disposal containers, packaged gauze with the sterility intact and disposable gloves. The studio should also be equipped with an autoclave, a device that pressurizes instruments and kills viruses or bacteria. Finally, look for single use or disposable needles (single use are preferred).
Do not get a tattoo if you are sick or not feeling well. Also, make sure you’ve had food and rest. Getting tattooed on an empty stomach may cause you to feel faint, nauseated or dizzy. Do NOT take pain killers like aspirin, ibuprofen and anesthetics, which may possibly cause cause problems like increased bleeding.
Do not get tattooed under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is extremely dangerous for your health and tattoo.
If not properly cared for during the first two weeks, the area has the potential for infection and scarring. Follow these steps to promote a healthy tattoo:
Remove the bandage after 4 to 12 hours, depending upon the size and location of the tattoo. Do NOT re bandage. Wash your tattoo with warm water and an antibacterial, unscented soap. Gently pat dry with a clean towel. Apply a thin layer of triple antibiotic ointment or a product designed specifically for tattoo aftercare (Tattoo Goo, H2Ocean and Tat Wax are just a few).
Use the same ointment three or four times per day during the first two days after cleaning the area. Also apply a thin layer of unscented water based lotion each time (oil based lotions like Vaseline will burn). Make sure your hands are completely clean before touching the tattoo. Apply the ointment and lotion three to four times daily for the next two to three weeks.
The normal healing time for a tattoo is two to four weeks. Do NOT pick or scratch your tattoo. Flaking or peeling is a natural part of the healing process.
Do not soak your tattoo during healing. That means no baths, hot tubs or pools.
Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight while it’s healing.
Tattoos do fade over time, so moisturize your skin with lotion to keep the colors fresh.
If you have a tattoo but would like to get rid of it, there are various methods of tattoo removal. The removal method depends upon the pigment used, the amount of time the tattoo was on the skin, size, location and whether or not it was done professionally. It is important to remember that it costs more to remove a tattoo than to apply one and is not covered by most health insurance companies. Finally, total removal of a tattoo is not always possible. Your options for removal include surgical removal, dermabrasion, salabrasion or laser treatment.
Ask Your Physician
Please consult a physician at any sign of infection or allergic reaction, and report any infection or allergic reaction to the tattooist and your State Department of Health.
5 Most Common Tattoo Health Risks
Getting a tattoo is not only a personal decision, but a permanent decision and there are many tattoo health risks to consider before getting a tattoo. Before looking into getting a tattoo, take a moment to understand tattoo health risks. Although there are many tattoo shops claiming to perform sterile tattooing, make sure you know the risks. Allergic Reactions
Tattoo dyes and ink are considered cosmetics and are therefore not FDA approved. Many tattoo dyes can have allergens in them, especially red dyes. If you have an allergic reaction to the ink, you can easily develop an itchy rash on or around the tattoo. Like scar tissues, this itching rash can come back at anytime in your life, even years after you have had the tattoo. Although an allergic reaction to tattoo dyes is not extremely common, it is best to check with your doctor for skin tests before getting your tattoo. Tattoos are permanent and if you end up having an allergic reaction to the dye it could turn into a serious tattoo health risk you will have forever. This is commonly found when tattoo shops do not use new, clean supplies with every new tattoo. This tattoo health risk can be easily avoided by making sure everything an artist uses in his tattoo process is a new, sterile, unopened package. Many people contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tetanus and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) because they have not put forth the effort to find a clean shop. This is most common with minors trying to get tattoos from tattoo artists outside of a shop. The easiest way to avoid this tattoo health risk is to thoroughly research the tattoo shop you go to. There are a few rare cases in which a bodily tattoo can interfere the quality of an image due to the pigments in your tattoo. However, this tattoo health risk is more common in people with permanent makeup. Those who have had permanent eyeliner tattooed on them, for example, might not get a clear result with an MRI of the eye because the tattoo pigments will disrupt the quality of the MRI image. Although this is only in rare cases, this tattoo health risk can interfere when needed to diagnose a serious problem with an MRI. Skin infections can also manifest after an allergic reaction to the dyes in tattoo ink if the allergic reaction is irritated. Not keeping up with proper tattoo aftercare can result in bacterial skin infections with symptoms such as swelling of the tattoo site and area, redness and pain. On occasion, this tattoo health risk can also be characterized by pus like draining from the pores of the tattoo site and area. The best way to avoid having a skin infection is to follow the guidelines the tattoo artist gives you about proper aftercare. If you were not given information on tattoo after care there are sources online you can use.
Other Skin Problems
In addition to the previous tattoo health risks, there are also many other skin problems that can crop up after a tattoo other than infections and allergic reactions. Red tattoo ink is the primary cause for bumps on the tattoo area and site called granulomas. Other color inks can result in granulomas, but red ink is the most common. Scar tissue is also very common with tattooing, especially if the artist uses the same needle for too long. Using a needle for too long can create a barb on the end of the tattoo needle, creating an overgrowth of scar tissue and occasionally forming permanent keloids. Unless you develop keloids, scar tissue usually will not effect the appearance of the tattoo but the tattoo area will become extremely itchy. In order to keep your body healthy, make sure you do as much research as possible before getting your tattoo!
Published by Victoria Crossman
Victoria is a student at the University of Cincinnati, pursuing a degree in English. She is a classically trained musician and also enjoys backpacking and hiking. Victoria sees life as an adventure and attem. View profile