Expert techniques are crucial for successful laser treatments, but it turns out it's not the only deciding factor in effective tattoo removal. The lymphatic system is a network responsible for carrying, filtering, and metabolizing waste, including tattoo ink. Undergoing a detox can improve the results of your laser treatments.
So, how do you detox in preparation for a laser tattoo removal? Drinking more water, working up a sweat, getting a massage, and reducing the consumption of processed foods are all great ways to prepare for a treatment.
In this article, we share all the different ways you can detoxify. By helping your body eliminate waste in the form of tattoo ink, you can make the most out of every session and get ink-free skin in no time.
What Happens to the Tattoo When It Is Removed
Tattoo removal might look like a breeze compared to getting inked in the first place, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The body’s natural reaction to foreign bodies, including tattoo ink, is removal. Ever notice that new tattoos seem to “fade”? That’s because white blood cells called lymphocytes eat away at pigment particles and process them as waste.
The reason why tattoos are permanent is because even though lymphocytes try to chip away at the pigment, pigments are typically composed of heavy metals like copper, lead, and manganese. These pigments are hard to dispose of, rendering the white blood cells’ continuous effort moot.
Tattoos may fade overtime but the only thing that can really remove them for good is a laser treatment. Microscopic evidence shows that pigment particles are physically larger than lymphocytes. The only way lymphocytes can “engulf” ink and process it out of your body is if the ink particles were broken down into smaller mass.
That’s precisely what laser tattoo removal does. It breaks down the ink into smaller particles, allowing lymphocytes to surround the ink, usher them through the skin’s lymphatic channels, and is then removed in the form of waste.
Why Detox In the First Place?
Foreign material is expelled through the lymphatic system. Because the ink is considered as a foreign material, it’s processed and expelled in the same way as waste. By treating tattoo removal as part of a biological process, this means that there are things you can do to improve your results.
Just like any system in your body, the lymphatic channel is constantly at work and needs to remain optimal in order to prevent immune and detoxification issues. The lymph flow can become congested, leading to toxin and waste build-up in the body. Undergoing a detox will unclog the lymphatic flow and improve your overall well-being.
Why do we need a well-functioning lymphatic system for tattoo removal?
How optimal your lymphatic system is will determine how successful your tattoo removal will be. By targeting your lymphatic system, you’re able to influence the tattoo removal process and produce the outcome you want.
A well-functioning lymphatic system gives you two benefits:
- Better results: With better lymphatic flow, more tattoo pigments are carried out of the skin. The risk of inflammation and allergic reactions due to the laser removal are reduced. More pigment is flushed out of your system, improving your chances of completely removing all traces of ink on your skin.
- Faster removal: Healthy, fast-acting lymphocytes mean a more optimal lymphatic flow. Every time the laser breaks down the ink, more lymphocytes can act on the pigment and zoom past the lymphatic channels. This means less sessions needed to get the results you want.
Tattoo Removal Detox: 12 Things You Can Do
Luckily, detoxifying your body isn’t as complicated as it sounds. There are different ways to improve your body’s lymphatic flow - from getting a massage to working up a sweat.
Listed below are 12 things you can do to detoxify your system and speed up the tattoo removal process:
When you’re dehydrated, your body will take this as a sign of stress, and as a result will not work optimally. Improve blood circulation, hydration levels, and lymphatic flow by increasing your water intake.
Skip the soda and juice; water is the best liquid for hydration. Drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day (or more) will surely improve your body’s detoxification processes.
2. Limit Alcohol Consumption
The liver is responsible for processing about 90% of your alcohol intake. The liver metabolizes alcohol into a toxin called acetaldehyde before further converting it into a harmless chemical called acetate.
A never-ending cycle of metabolization can affect liver function. Continuous alcohol consumption can damage the liver, leading to inflammation and toxin build-up. As such, the liver can no longer properly process alcohol or other toxins, including tattoo ink.
By limiting alcohol intake, you’re allowing the liver to work on a steady pace and clean out your body more efficiently. Because it’s not focused on metabolizing alcohol, it can prioritize cleaning tasks and improve the results of your tattoo removal.
3. Get Enough Rest
Chronic sleep deprivation can make you feel sluggish and fatigued. It turns out that long periods of poor sleep can also affect your body’s detoxification processes.
Sleep is the body’s cue to reset. Without proper sleep, the little “sweeping” tasks the body does to rid itself of waste and toxins are left unfinished, or worse, undone. Getting the standard seven to nine hours a night will not only improve cognitive function, but also improve your general health.
If getting a full night’s sleep is a challenge, consider natural sleeping aids like herbal tea or melatonin. Limit your exposure to blue light screens (TV, computer, phone) at least an hour before bed.
4. Rethink Your Sugar Intake
The body relies on the lymphatic organs for proper detoxification. Unfortunately, today’s diet is filled with high amounts of sugar. Over time, the overconsumption of sugary beverages and foods can cause impaired liver and kidney function.
Keep your body’s detoxification system healthy by regulating your sugar intake. Weed out any foods with an unnecessarily high amount of sugar such as junk food and desserts. Instead, incorporate healthier sources of sugar into your diet.
5. Eat Healthy Foods
Restricting “bad” sugars is just the tip of the iceberg. To really improve your detoxification system, you have to prioritize healthy foods, specifically foods rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are fighting cells that protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. Although free radicals are naturally-occuring in the body, their production can be sped up with a poor lifestyle. An excessive amount of free radicals have damaging effects to the body and have been associated with major conditions such as heart disease and even cancer.
A diet rich in antioxidants will help your body combat free radicals. After making dietary restrictions, eating healthy foods will help with the “clean-up” and improve your digestive and lymphatic functions.
Foods rich in antioxidants include:
- Lean meat such as chicken, fish, and turkey
- Spices such as thyme, oregano, turmeric, ginger, parsley
- Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage
- Vegetables such as garlic, onions, sweet potatoes, and carrots
- Sources of vitamin C including oranges, mangoes, and strawberries
6. Mind Your Digestion
A healthy digestive system means having a more effective waste disposal system. This translates to improved metabolism and a better response to the laser treatments.
Improve your gut healthy by increasing fiber intake and eating foods with prebiotics. Foster good bacteria in your gut to increase your defenses against contaminated food and reduce your overall risk of inflammation and disease.
It’s no secret that an active lifestyle makes a healthier individual. Improving your blood flow will also improve lymphatic flow. Engaging in physical activities is one of the best ways to get a good heart pump.
Choose exercises that increase the heart rate such as cardiovascular activities like running, jogging, jump roping, and swimming.
Pressed for time? Try out HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercises which are designed to increase your heart rate in a short amount of time. When done right, 20 minutes of HIIT will give you the same benefits as doing 45 minutes of steady state cardio.
8. Schedule a Massage
Not a fan of cardio? Schedule a massage instead. It also gets your blood flowing, minus the exhaustion. A specialized technique called the lymphatic drainage massage specifically targets the lymphatic system.
This technique involves rhythmic strokes to help the lymph fluid move throughout the body. Light pressure is needed to complete this massage, and is reliant on continuous stimulation of the target area in order to get the proper flow.
9. Step Into a Steam Room
Sweat is one of the avenues of waste expulsion. Going to a sauna will open up your pores and remove toxins on your skin. About 15 to 20 a day should give you the boost you need.
10. Go Natural
Swap out chemical-ridden household and hygienic items with their more natural counterparts. Using chemical-free alternatives means less exposure to toxins. As a result, your lymphatic system can focus on cleaning out the rest of the body, and work on removing tattoo pigments more effectively.
11. Don’t Stress Out
Lymph congestion and inflammation can slow down the lymphatic flow. Limiting your exposure to stress doesn’t have to mean eliminating the source. It just means you have to be better at coping with stress, and reduce its burden on your mind and body.
Discover coping mechanisms you can do on a daily basis. Write in a journal, talk to a therapist, or take a walk - all three things are useful in alleviating stress and anxiety. Maintaining a positive disposition, fostering a healthy self-image, and surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals are other ways to improve your mental health and reduce stress.
12. Wear Loose Clothing
Lymph obstruction can occur as a result of wearing tight-fitting clothes. Prevent this altogether by wearing loose clothing on most days. You can still wear skinny jeans and athletic wear - just don’t make it the bulk of your outfits.
How Can I Speed Up Tattoo Removal
A successful tattoo removal relies on a healthy lymphatic system. In order to get the best out of your laser treatment, consider detoxifying your body to increase lymphatic flow and improve your body’s response to the pigment.
At Ethos Spa, Skin and Laser, we help patients get the blank slate they’re looking for. By using state-of-the-art laser equipment coupled with advanced removal techniques, we’re here to make sure every inch of your tattoo ink is removed.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help with your tattoo. Book a laser removal session or an appointment today.
Read more: Why is my Tattoo Darker After Laser Removal?