Laser Tattoo Removal & Functional Medicine

Laser Tattoo Removal & Functional Medicine

A question often asked is, “How did laser tattoo removal and Functional Medicine end up under the same roof?”

When an unwanted tattoo is on the skin, what goes along with it is repeated stories: How stupid was I? This is not who I am now. If only I could remove this harbinger of times past… All of these sentiments translate to dis-ease in the body and mind. Helping people become their best selves includes removing old patterns and ways of thinking. Tattoos qualify.

PicoSure Laser Tattoo Removal

PicoSure is to date the most powerful laser to get the job done. It is has the fastest clearance rate with tattoos clearing in about half the number of treatments as with the laser machines that came before. It removes the full spectrum of color using two wavelengths 755 nm and 532 nm (ruby laser). PicoSure also has a boost setting for difficult to remove tattoos and those slow to respond.

Upon impact of the laser beam, the tattoo ink is fragmented into smaller particles. The PicoSure laser breaks down the ink into particles tinier than other lasers (sand versus pebbles). This is important because the way the ink particles are removed is by a process called phagocytosis. White blood cells called macrophages engulf the particles and clear them from the body just like any foreign virus, bacteria or other substance. The smaller, the better the clearance. The lymph channels are one of the avenues to clear ink (the other is transdermal transport). Lymph nodes in the region of the tattoo can store the old ink. For this reason I recommend daily lymph massage before getting into the shower while in the process of removing a tattoo. The practice of lymph massage is so invigorating that it may become a permanent habit!

Supplements to support tattoo removal

To help the body metabolize (break down and clear out) the ink I also recommend a supplement called N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) 500 mg by mouth twice daily. This supplement is an inexpensive substance that is converted into glutathione in the mitochondriae. Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant and with stress and unhealthy lifestyle habits it’s easy to run low. By giving the body a boost with NAC, the tattoo ink can be cleared more efficiently and rapidly. People often notice a slight boost in mood while taking it because it is helping to clear the toxins that can make us cranky.

Many factors influence how quickly a tattoo will clear. These include age, type of ink used, proximity to the trunk (The further out the longer it takes.), whether the tattoo was placed professionally or by an amateur, density of the ink, age of the person and overall health, and pretreatment skin conditions. Some inks actually darken before lightening secondary to oxidization of metals in the ink itself.

Talk to your provider about tattoo removal

The provider removing your tattoo will discuss other variables before treatment. There will be a pretreatment questionnaire as well to better educate us about important health history that could influence the treatment process. If there is a history of zoster or other herpes virus in the area of the tattoo a pre-treatment antiviral medication may be prescribed. A spot test may be performed at the initial consultation so a prediction can be made about response to treatment. Please write down any questions and bring them to the consultation appointment.

For more information about Laser Tattoo Removal or to schedule a consultation with Beth Claxton, M.D., please call 928.714.7600.

Beth Claxton, M.D.
[email protected]

Beth Claxton, M.D. is a functional medicine physician and board-certified gynecologist based in Flagstaff, Arizona. She believes there are everyday habits that lead to a life where you can be stronger, thinner, more calm, and pain-free.