The practice of tattooing is nothing new, having originated centuries ago and used by many cultures for religious and status marking, among other uses. The process has evolved over time to become more of a hobby or means of self expression. With the increased popularity of tattoos has come a lucrative new removal market for those experiencing “tattoo regret.
While there are many costly surgical procedures available for the removal of unwanted body art, such as laser and Intense Pulsed Light treatment, the latest phenomenon in ink removal is the do-it-yourself at home cream tattoo removal. Currently, several tattoo removal balm products dominate the market, including the popular products Wrecking Balm, Tattoo Erase and TatBGone. Tattoo removal balms often differ in active ingredients, but the dominant chemical in the skin ink removal industry is hydroquinone, which disrupts the formation of melanin in the skin and is often used for cosmetic skin bleaching and to reduce the appearance of freckles and age spots. Tattoo removal creams usually contain a two percent concentration of the chemical. A ban on hydroquinone was proposed by the FDA in 2006 under suspicion that the chemical may cause cancer, and it has already been banned in many counties worldwide.
Minor differences between many of the products exist, including method, frequency and duration of use, but tattoo removal balm manufacturers all make the same basic guarantee: to lighten the tattoo over a gradual period of time without causing much pain. Consumer reviews for these body art removal creams provide a general consensus that when used as directed, the creams caused very little or no discomfort.
The most recent “it” product, Doc Wilson’s Wrecking Balm No. 3, takes tattoo removal one step further by incorporating a medical dermal device to help move the process along. This device was recently approved by the FDA for home use in tattoo removal. The three-step process claims to work by breaking down ink injected skin and taking advantage of the body’s natural skin regeneration process. Salicylic acid and phyllanthus emblica fruit, commonly referred to as Indian Gooseberry, are the two main active ingredients in the cream.
Prices on home tattoo removal products vary greatly, and consumers can expect to shell out as little as $50 or as much as $300. Most can easily be purchased online or by phone.