How The Immune System Affects Laser Tattoo Removal Results

Immune system tattoo removalHow the immune system affects tattoo removal results and ways to increase effective laser tattoo removal.

Laser tattoo removal has been around for over 10 years now and the technology is more advanced than ever. Laser tattoo removal has now become a mainstream solution for a problem that once was considered permanent. This is a great example of medical advancement improving the life of the people that needed it.

It is important to understand that as good as science is, there are factors that influence the effectiveness of this technology. The industry leading standard is the picosecond laser, which works by shattering the ink particles, with the laser firing at picosecond (trillionth of a second) speeds. Then the immune system takes over and removes the ink particles from the area. We explain how the immune system works in tattoo removal and the factors that decrease and increase the effectiveness.



The immune system is a network of cells, tissue and organs that work together to prevent germs, infection and microorganisms. When a foreign invader (pathogen) is detected, the immune response kicks in and a series of actions take place to attack and remove the pathogen.

The white blood cells (leukocytes) are responsible for doing the majority of the attack and removal step of the process. Leukocytes are produced and stored in the lymphoid organs around the body. There are also lymphoid glands that store the leukocytes, ready for action. Leukocytes travel throughout the body via lymphatic vessels and blood vessels to target the areas where they are needed.


There are 2 types of leukocytes called phagocytes and lymphocytes.

Phagocytes are responsible for attacking and removing the pathogen. It essentially engulfs and destroys, and removes the pathogen. The type of phagocytes that are responsible in tattoo removal are called macrophages. They act like little Pacmen and travel around the body eating up anything that doesn’t belong in the body.

Lymphocytes are 2 types of cells – B and T. B lymphocytes roam the lymphatic system to detect pathogens then they remember the past threats and form antibodies. The antibodies attach to the pathogen so the body knows to attack this invader. T lymphocytes go and destroy the pathogen that the B lymphocytes have detected. They also recruit phagocytes to help destroy the invader. This group of leukocytes are mainly responsible for protecting from previous threats.



Ink particles sit in the dermis where collagen scar cells have encapsulated the ink. As the ink is large, the body’s immune system cannot remove it. That is why tattoos can be visible for a lifetime. Whenever your tattoo gets itchy or gets raised it means your immune system is trying to do what is natural and attempts to remove the ink.

Laser tattoo removal, the industry leading standard is picosecond laser, works by shattering the ink particles with the laser fired at picosecond (trillionth of a second) speeds. This fragments the ink particles into microscopic size. This is the function of the laser. Then the person’s complex immune system takes over the tattoo removal process. In fact, the immune system does the heavy lifting from here. The laser breaks up the ink to a size that can travel through tissue and vascular network. The immune system, in particular the macrophages, comes along and engulfs the ink particle and carries it through the tissue and out the waste system.

The smaller the ink particle, the more chance the ink will be removed from the dermis. This is the reason why picosecond laser like the PicoWay is more effective than nanosecond q-switched Nd:YAG lasers. To book your free tattoo removal analysis with Sydney’s tattoo removal specialist, simply click the button below.



The immune system’s team of leukocytes, in particular the macrophages, are like soldiers in an army. Like soldiers in an army, the number of macrophages are limited. There are only so many that can go around doing a job. If the leukocytes are needed to perform a task, the leukocytes can only do one job at a time. So if your immune system is preoccupied by dealing with another threat it will have less leukocytes to perform tattoo ink removal. Depending on the state of your body at that specific period of time will determine how effective the tattoo ink is removed from your body.


Factors that will reduce the effectiveness of tattoo removal:Bad diet: A diet that is high in saturated fats, sugars and salt impairs the immune system. Being overweight or obese can reduce the number of leukocytes.

Stress: Long periods of extreme stress increases the production of the cortisol hormone. Cortisol inhibits the function of the T lymphocytes.

Lack of sleep: Prolonged lack of sleep also increases the production of cortisol.

Lack of exercise: Lack of exercise is widely reported and accepted to result in an impaired immune system. A sedentary lifestyle leads to a weakening of all the other body’s systems like circulatory system, metabolism and muscular repair.

Excessive exercise: Overtraining also can stress your immune system. When you are overtraining, your body is in repair mode all the time which overloads your immune system. It will struggle to cope with the additional load when the system is trying to repair muscle.

Drinking alcohol: Alcohol reduces the number of leukocytes and also impairs your ability to absorb nutrients. Reduced nutrients further weakens your immune system.

Smoking: Smoking damages and destroys leukocytes and antioxidants in your body. Antioxidants also help your body regenerate. Smoking also increases the chances of infection in the lungs.

Sickness: Any sickness like cold or flu means your leukocytes are busy fighting off the bacteria and virus.

Drugs & Medication: Prescription medication and recreational drugs inhibit the function of leukocytes and also reduce the number of leukocytes.


Boost your immune system to increase effectiveness of laser tattoo removal

The good news is that there are also things you can do increase the effectiveness of laser tattoo removal.

Healthy diet: There are a number of foods that increase your immune system. Citrus fruits, ginger, garlic, broccoli, spinach, nuts, seeds and the list goes on. Eat more of these instead of processed foods to boost your immune system. Also drink at least 2 litres of water per day. This helps your circulatory system function.

Sleep: Getting the recommended 7-8 hours sleep will help reduce stress and also allow your body to be fully rested and repair your tissue. This will also reduce the stress hormone cortisol.

Moderate exercise: Regular exercise helps to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Exercise strengthens your body to avoid sickness and also increases blood flow and moves the leukocytes through the circulatory system to fight pathogens.

Stop drinking and smoking: Stop drinking and smoking to allow your body to repair all the damage and increase the leukocytes.

Sun exposure: 15 minutes exposure of direct sunlight will increase your production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is known to boost your immune system.

Avoid treatment if you are sick: All of the above will help you avoid being sick. However, if you are sick with the cold or flu, you should delay getting the laser treatment until you recover.



Our expert clinicians will be able to give honest advice on laser tattoo removal and the after care. They will also explain the factors that affect the effectiveness of laser tattoo removal. We have performed thousands of treatments and will be able to answer all your questions.

Call (02) 8020 5819 or click on the button to book your free consultation or ask a question.