Smoking Can Impede Removal of Tattoos

Smoking can reduce the chance of successfully removing a tattoo by 70 percent, a new study finds.

The tattoo’s colors and size also influence the success of removal, The Wall Street Journal reports. Those that contain blue or yellow, or are larger than 12 inches, are more difficult to remove.

The study was conducted at a laser surgery center in Italy, and included 352 people. The findings about smoking’s impact on tattoo removal are new, the article notes. The researchers say almost one-quarter of U.S. college students have at least one tattoo, and about half of people with tattoos later try to get them removed.

Smoking is believed to impede tattoo removal by interfering with wound healing.

The findings appear in the Archives of Dermatology.

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    November 13, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Wow, I have not even thought that smoking effects tattoo removal. Personally, I have removed my tattoo with laser a few years ago.

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    Chris Evans

    July 2, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Today, lasers are the most common method of tattoo removal. They work by targeting the ink with pulses of highly concentrated light that break the ink into tiny fragments, which are then cleared away the your own immune system. However, this isn’t all done with just one treatment. The more treatments you have, the more the laser can penetrate to destroy the ink. But, the more treatments you have, the more damage you do to your skin, causing painful blisters and scabs that can eventually lead to scarring. Experts in removal therapy say that technology has advanced to the point where scarring is minimal, sometimes non-existant, but this can vary depending on the situation.

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