laser tattoo removal being performed on ladys shoulder area

The Link Between Tattoos, Lymphoma, and the Heightened Risk of Laser Tattoo Removal

Tattoos and Newly Confirmed Health Risks

Recent research has found tattooed individuals have a 21% higher risk of lymphoma relative to non-tattooed individuals. In addition, laser removal of tattoos may drastically increase this risk to a more than 150% higher risk (although this portion of study had a very small sample size and is therefore not conclusive). This highlights ongoing concerns about ink particles accumulating in the lymph nodes. Risks increase because the laser fragments the ink particles into smaller pieces forming new chemical species, some dangerous. The smaller ink fragments move out of the dermal layer and into the lymphatic, filtering, system clogging it with these dangerous toxic and carcinogenic bi-products. This raises important questions about the safety of not only tattoo inks but also the safety of different types of tattoo removal. In this blog article, we’ll explore various tattoo removal options and discuss why an alternative like Tatt2Away is a much safer option.

Understanding Tattoos and the Lymphatic System

a person getting their arm tattoo finished

Tattoos have become increasingly popular in today’s world, but even still, some people might not know how they are applied. Tattoos are created by placing ink into the dermal layer of the skin. Larger ink particles remain trapped within and between skin cells while smaller particles continually move into the lymphatic system. The body’s natural immune response is to try to remove the ink from the skin and process it out through the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of tubes throughout the body that is part of the circulatory and immune systems. It is responsible for removing excess water and potential antigens from the body and forming antibodies to fight viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. Most tattoo ink particles are too big to remove naturally through the body, but over time, as the ink naturally breaks down, which is when you would see fading in a tattoo, the lymphatic system naturally transports these ink particles to the lymph nodes.

Can Tattoos Cause Cancer?

man's full arm sleeve tattoo of different color inks

Research Findings on Tattoos and Lymphoma

Do tattoos cause cancer? Recent studies have identified a potential link between tattoos and lymphoma, particularly focusing on how ink particles can migrate to the lymphatic system. Research conducted by Lund University revealed that tattoo ink particles can accumulate in the lymph nodes, raising concerns about long-term health implications, including a 21% increased risk of lymphoma for tattooed individuals relative to non-tattooed individuals.

Christel Nielsen reports on their research findings, saying, “We found that the risk of developing lymphoma was 21 percent higher among those who were tattooed…. We already know that when tattoo ink is injected into the skin, the body interprets this as something foreign that should not be there, and the immune system is activated. A large part of the ink is transported away from the skin, to the lymph nodes where it is deposited”

For a further look into Christel’s research, the findings show a strong link between the risk of lymphoma in individuals with less than two years between their first tattoo and the year they were diagnosed with lymphoma.

To learn more about toxic tattoo ink ingredients, read our blog article Is Tattoo Ink Toxic And Can It Cause Organ Damage?

The Laser Removal Process and Its Risks

laser tattoo removal being performed on an arm tattoo

When understanding why tattoos are linked to lymphoma and how tattoo removal may play a part in this, it is important to understand how laser tattoo removal works. Laser tattoo removal technology breaks down the ink into smaller particles and photodissociates pigment molecules into new and potentially harmful species, making it easier for these fragments to enter the lymphatic system. Each treatment gradually fades the tattoo over multiple sessions. This method is popular and not well-studied when it comes to long-term health effects. This is especially relevant when it comes to ingredients in tattoo ink.

The European Union recently placed a ban on certain kinds of tattoo inks. This ban was created to monitor and reduce the number of unhealthy chemicals and toxins that are often seen in tattoo inks. The United States currently has no regulations or restrictions for tattoo inks. The harmful chemicals in tattoo inks, when further broken down by laser tattoo removal, can penetrate deeper into the lymphatic system, raising concerns about the potential link between laser tattoo removal and lymphatic cancer (lymphoma).

A study from Analytical Chemistry tested popular tattoo inks from nine brands commonly used in the US, including both major and small manufacturers. Out of 54 inks tested, 45 were found to contain unlisted additives and pigments, such as poly(ethylene glycol), propylene glycol, and higher alkanes. These additives could potentially cause allergic reactions or other, more dangerous health issues. The findings underscore a major concern regarding the accuracy of tattoo ink labeling in the US as well as lack of regulation for safe tattoo ink ingredients.

Comparing Laser Removal with Tatt2Away

before and after non laser tattoo removal

Image: Tatt2Away Non-Laser Tattoo Removal - Before and After

While Lund University’s research has sparked a need for further investigation into why tattoos can cause lymphoma, these findings are especially worrisome when considering laser tattoo removal. However, all of this research does not mean all forms of tattoo removal are potentially harmful. Tatt2Away is a natural, non-laser tattoo removal method that expels the tattoo ink out of the skin through a dot pattern. Unlike laser removal, which uses concentrated light beams to break down ink particles that are then absorbed by the body. This method is effective and potentially much safer, as it avoids the risks associated with laser removal, such as releasing toxic ink particles into the lymphatic system.

Tatt2Away was designed to provide safe, effective, natural tattoo removal that works with your body’s natural healing process instead of against it. Due to its health-conscious design, the risk for lymphoma as a result of tattoo removal is substantially lower.


woman getting non laser tattoo removal on side of her neck

Image: A person's journey of Non-Laser Tattoo Removal With Tatt2Away

Due to the latest research and the potential link between tattoos and lymphoma, it is more important than ever to consider safer tattoo removal methods. Laser tattoo removal, while popular, may increase health risks by breaking down ink into smaller particles that can enter the lymphatic system. Tatt2Away offers a safer, non-laser alternative that removes ink without these risks. As we continue to learn more about the long-term implications of tattoo inks and removal processes, choosing safer options like Tatt2Away can help protect your health while achieving your tattoo removal goals.

Learn more about Tatt2Away’s natural and effective non-laser tattoo removal method, and how it works. To learn more about the association of tattoos, tattoo removal, and cancer, visit our tattoo removal blog.

To start your tattoo removal journey, book a no-cost consultation (valued at $100!).

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