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Curr Probl Dermatol. 2011;42:97-110. doi: 10.1159/000328269. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

Tattoo removal.

Author information

1
Skinpulse Dermatology, Laser and Beauty Centers, Geneva, Switzerland. madatto@skinpulse.ch

Abstract

Over 50,000 new tattoos are placed each year in the United States. Studies estimate that 24% of American college students have tattoos and 10% of male American adults have a tattoo. The rising popularity of tattoos has spurred a corresponding increase in tattoo removal. Not all tattoos are placed intentionally or for aesthetic reasons though. Traumatic tattoos due to unintentional penetration of exogenous pigments can also occur, as well as the placement of medical tattoos to mark treatment boundaries, for example in radiation therapy. Protocols for tattoo removal have evolved over history. The first evidence of tattoo removal attempts was found in Egyptian mummies, dated to have lived 4,000 years BC. Ancient Greek writings describe tattoo removal with salt abrasion or with a paste containing cloves of white garlic mixed with Alexandrian cantharidin. With the advent of Q-switched lasers in the late 1960s, the outcomes of tattoo removal changed radically. In addition to their selective absorption by the pigment, the extremely short pulse duration of Q-switched lasers has made them the gold standard for tattoo removal.

PMID:
21865802
DOI:
10.1159/000328269
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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