The healing process following tattoo removal can be relatively easy with little to mild side effects for most. As with every medical procedure, tattoo removal has it own set of possible side effects and a post treatment itch is one. We have found that those clients who are more susceptible to allergies in our general environment are unfortunately more susceptible to a tattoo removal itch, and it is an itch that can’t be scratched! A client’s individual makeup can therefore be one reason for a greater reaction.
Itchy skin is a common occurrence in the healing process for many skin condition recoveries. It simply implies that your immune system is working well to repair and recover.
Laser treatments often cause dehydration of the skin which can also contribute to an itch. In fact, any dry skin can produce itchy skin. It is important to apply a natural skin balm preferably with Vitamin E daily following treatment to help prevent this. The epidermis, our top layer of skin, has a lovely blood supply that we want to keep healthy. When the skin is too dry, these vessels can collapse and thereby become less effective for helping with cell renewal, thereby impeding recovery.
For some people, the immune system can be over reactive and this itch may become quite intense. If moisturizing the area has not been able to provide relief, then consider oral antihistamines from a pharmacist. Anti-histamines usually improve the symptoms very quickly. Over the many years of providing tattoo removal treatments, we have also seen swelling and sometimes redness occurring not immediately but after many days following treatment. It indicated to us that the ink is starting to move away but the immune system is over responding in this person. Anti-histamines work very quickly for both of these side effects too.
Follow after care instructions as discussed in your consultation. It is also important to notify your technician/clinician if you had a reaction to the tattooing process itself. This could indicate that you might have a high histamine response to the components of the ink itself. Hot drinks and hot water can be dehydrating too, so try and limit this for a few days.
Areas of decreased blood flow, notably the hands and feet might require greater moisturizing. If the skin becomes really dry then applying a thick moisturizing balm twice a day would be preferable as remember, dry skin itself can cause an itch. We do find that balms containing Vitamin E are more healing than many others. When the skin has healed sufficiently following the removal treatment, a gentle massage of the cream will penetrate the skin and also improve blood flow to the area.
Post Care Treatment for Itching Skin
We strive to help you through the tattoo removal process as best as we can se here are the important post care instructions to remember.
- Do not scratch – this can open the healing skin and has a potential to create a scar or predispose to infection
- Avoid hot water showers at least for a few days
- Moisturize the lasered site with a non-fragrant chemical free cream or balm once or twice daily
- Consider an oral anti-histamine for unabating itching, swelling and redness. e.g: Zyrtec, Claritin, Benadryl
- Ice if you must for a few minutes only. Ice does cause blood vessels to constrict and thus limit their flow (vasoconstriction). Blood flow is important to the healing process.
- Consider an air humidifier during the colder months if you suffer with dry skin in winter.