Although lasers are approved by the FDA and the medical community for safe and effective tattoo removal, their job is simply to break down the ink pigment. The actual clearing is conducted by the scavenging phagocytic cells that are part of your immune system. Therefore, the question of how to boost one’s immune functioning is often asked by patients who wish to expedite the results of their laser tattoo removal treatments.

Long Term Lifestyle Habits

Improving one’s immune system is not a goal that should only be considered while undergoing laser sessions to clear away an unwanted tattoo. According to Dr. U and other medical experts, there is no quick and easy way to achieve this.  According to a publication by the Harvard Medical School the immune system does not work in isolation. It constantly interacts with numerous other systems within the human body. And these exact mechanisms are not yet completely understood by scientists.

Although the notion of adopting a healthier lifestyle may sound like simple common sense advice, it is always worthwhile for individuals to take consistent measures that would benefit their long term health. And this involves adopting new habits and attitudes towards these adjustments.

Harvard’ Advice On Lifestyle and Immune Health 

Harvard Medical School acknowledges that there is no scientific proof that links healthy lifestyle choices with enhanced immune functioning. However, their experts endorse the general objective of keeping the body protected from “environmental assaults” and ensuring an ideal state of balance. Their article, entitled, “How to Boost Your Immune System gives the following tips

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • keeping blood pressure under control
  • getting regular checkups for conditions that are likely to affect your age group and any other risk categories you might fall into
  • washing hands frequently and regularly to help prevent the entrance of germs and pathogens
  • making sure that meat is fully cooked
  • exercising consistently
  • consuming diets low in saturated fats while consuming ample amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • avoiding smoking
  • drinking alcohol moderately, if at all

 Laser Tattoo Removal And Phagocytes

The immune system is designed to protect the body from diseases by identifying and attempting to destroy foreign bodies such as viruses, parasites and bacteria. It works to distinguish between protein structures that are native or to the individual’s tissues or completely different.

Basic components of the immune system include:

  • bone marrow which produces white blood cells
  • thymus
  • spleen
  • thymus
  • lymph nodes

There are many different types of white blood cells which are contained and dispatched by the different constituents listed above. One group includes the phagocytes (also part of the leukocyte family of cells). These include:

  • neutrophils
  • macrophages
  • dendritic cells

The phagocytes identify and eliminate foreign invaders by engulfing them. Lasers will shatter tattoo ink pigment into particles as small as one hundredth of the original size. These fragments are consumed by phagocytes and carried away by the circulatory system.

Smoking and Lasers For Tattoo Removal

Smoking compromises the health of the immune system by weakening the functioning and activity level of antibodies and white blood cells which recognize and dispose of foreign matter/organisms.

Luigi Naldi, an Italian dermatologist, conducted a study on how smoking affects the results of laser tattoo removal. This research involved 352 subjects. 201 of these individuals were men over 30 years old. The study found that chronic smoking reduced the success of laser treatments by as as much as 70% after ten sessions.

Can Drugs and Other Methods Boost the Immune System For Better Laser Tattoo Clearing Results?

The medical journal Dermatologic Surgery  published a 2007 study that investigated whether topically applied Imiquimod cream (5%) could enhance the results of laser tattoo removal.

Imiquimod is designed to stimulate phagocytes. Initially, it was thought to possibly boost the rate at which these cells could ingest the tattoo ink fragments.

The research study not only found that the drug increased the risk of adverse side effects, but also its performance lacked statistical significance, compared to a placebo. Therefore, it was concluded that Imiquimod is not a helpful agent for improving the success of removing tattoos with laser.

There are some attempts to actually boost the number of immune or blood cells in the body. “Blood doping,” is a dangerous practice that some athletes will try in order to increase their blood cell count and improve their performance. But this can incur the risk of strokes.

The immune system is quite intricate and complicated. It includes many different types of cells. And each of them has a different response to different microbes. So the concept of increasing cells is too general of an objective to improve immune performance. If this were to actually be done, a person would need to know which cells to increase, and exactly how many to add. Extra cells are eliminated through apoptosis (cell death) if they contribute to an imbalance in the body.

Based on the above information, avoiding smoking and adopting beneficial long term lifestyle habits are measures that should be considered for one’s overall health, not just during a laser tattoo removal treatments.

 Laser Tattoo Removal | Improving Results| increasing Effectiveness

(Image: Flickr Creative Commons) Large and multi-colored tattoos can be challenging to remove. But good results are possible with a healthy immune system and the use of the right laser.*