Injecting Acid Into Your Skin is a Dumb Idea
We are aware that a local tattoo shop is promoting the use of “Eliminink” to remove tattoos. This is a product that is tattooed into the existing tattoo to attempt to effect removal. The product works by injecting glycolic acid into the skin (yikes!) as well as plant materials (Centella Extract; a product associated with causing contact dermatitis) as well as parabens (which are mostly vilified for association with breast cancer as well as causing allergic reactions).
The company also reports the process works by:
Magnesium oxides and other ingredients in EliminInk™ “bind” to the iron oxides in the tattoo inks or color pigments in permanent makeup and safely lift them to the surface through oxidation. A scab will form over the treated area that must be kept dry until it falls off naturally.
So they basically claim that they are using an oxide to oxidize an oxide. At least I guess that is what they are trying to say. After all, they put the word “bind” in quotes as if to say “wink wink” to whatever they really mean to say, if anything. Iron oxide, by the way, is rust, and its already oxidized. Very few (if any) tattoo inks these days contain metal salts as their main ingredient and rusty tattoos really aren’t a problem. This is just a bunch of pseudoscientific nonsense predicated on assuming the general public will be dazzled by some linguistic slight of hand. Really this product’s active ingredient is glycolic acid which burns and damages the skin. Also, creating a scab that “must be kept dry until it falls off” goes against more than a century worth of knowledge regarding best wound healing practices. We’ve seen people use various acids to damage their skin and burn their tattoos off in the past. Both glycolic acid and trichloracetic acids have been used. The company may claim that you don’t need to do this in a doctor’s office, but injecting glycolic acid directly into the skin certainly sounds like a risky thing to do in an unsupervised environment.
Bottom line: deliberately injecting your tattoo with acid and causing an open wound is just a really dumb idea.
Clinical Impact Upon Wound Healing and Inflammation in Moist, Wet, and Dry Environments, Junker, 2013