Tattoo removal products risk scars, skin irritation, Health Canada warns

Tattoo removal gels and creams are linked to a risk of scarring and skin irritation, Health Canada warns.

Products available at specialized tattoo or esthetic service providers or directly from retailers

Tattoo removal gels and creams are linked to a risk of scarring and skin irritation, Health Canada warns.

The regulator said Tuesday it received four separate reports of reactions related to tattoo removal products in the fall of 2014.

Products include gels, creams or solutions applied on the skin or injected with a tattoo needle.

Tattoo removal products work to fade or lighten tattoo ink or draw the ink to the surface of the skin, causing a scab that eventually falls away, Health Canada said.

Before consumers use the products or undergo a procedure to remove a tattoo, they're advised to:

  • Be aware of potential risks such as skin irritation and scarring.
  • Familiarize themselves with any risks associated with the products and method used.
  • Read any warnings or directions on the label.

Health Canada says if any potential adverse reactions occur, people should consult a health professional, report it to the regulator and to the establishment where the product or service was purchased.

The products are available at specialized tattoo or esthetic service providers. Consumers may also buy the products directly from specialized retailers, in store and online.

The regulator department said it is looking for more information about the products implicated.

In November 2014, Quebec’s College of Physicians formed a committee to regulate tattoo removal in the province after  an investigation by Radio-Canada uncovered 18 women who had their tattoos removed at one tattoo shop and suffered second-degree burns.


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