Laser Tattoo Removal: What Happens to the Ink?

 Question: What does the former Vegan shamelessly eating at In and Out, the straightedge kidturned-frat boy, and the client that wants you to cover up a huge Bill Cosby portrait on their upper arm have in common?

Answer: Some questionable decision making and four to ten sessions under a laser.

Laser Tattoo Removal has only grown in popularity since it was made available in the 90’s due to its technological advancements, increased affordability, and an abundance of shitty tattoos being made in kitchens.

The next time that you point a client to the laser clinic, they might ask you a simple question for which you may not know the answer: where does the ink go?

"The focus of the laser treatment is to disintegrate the ink particles of the tattoo," cosmetic dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank told Allure. "A high-intensity light beam is targeted at the pigmentation, causing it to break apart, become absorbed into the body, and be excreted through the body's natural immune system."

So, the ink doesn’t just vanish; it’s broken down by the laser and recognized as waste by the cells in the body. From there, the ink exits the body in three different ways: sweat, urine, and fecal matter.

But, unlike beets, kale and green beer, you won’t end up with a discolored surprise from laser tattoo removal after using the bathroom.

"Yes, sometimes if you eat a food like beets, your pee could have a reddish tint to it, or if you ate kale your excrement could be green," Roenigk said. "But in this case, it's such a small amount of ink pigment that it's not going to change the color of your sweat, pee, or poop."