Risky Tattoo Removal

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

Currently, tattoos are widely accepted in North America, but what many people don’t think about it, is the other side of getting tattoos – removing them. An article done by the Canadian broadcaster CBC in 2015 stated that there aren’t many regulations regarding tattoo removal. Quebec’s College of Physicians formed a committee to better regulate the process after an investigation by Radio-Canada revealed that 18 women in the province suffered second-degree burns after having their tattoos removed.

There are many ways to “get rid of” an unwanted tattoo and a removal isn’t always the best option. Getting a removal done doesn’t necessarily mean the tattoo will no longer exist. It can strip the color or make it less noticeable. Tattoo cover-ups are also an option when a person doesn’t like their existing tattoo.

This issue is timely and important because after this story was released, there hasn’t been much talk surrounding the topic, even though tattoos are so popular, especially among youth. There are many risks involved in tattoo removal that can really irritate some people’s skin. It’s a question as to why tattoo shops are even allowed to use these tattoo removal products if there has been such a negative reaction to them.

The debate has mainly been discussed in blogs rather than the mainstream media, with some arguing tattoo removal is just as safe as laser hair removal, and other arguing for increased safety standards and improved regulation.


CBCNews. “Tattoo removal products risk scars, skin irritation, Health Canada warns.” February 24, 2015.http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/tattoo-removal-products-risk-scars-skin-irritation-health-canada-warns-1.2969699

Additional Background Sources:

Matt Kwong, “Tattoo culture making its mark on millennial.” CBCNews, September 19, 2012. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/tattoo-culture-making-its-mark-on-millennials-1.1149528

Health Alberta, “Health Standards and Guidelines for Tattooing.” June 2002. http://www.health.alberta.ca/documents/Standards-Tattooing.pdf

MedicineNet. “Laser Tattoo Removal.” 2016. http://www.medicinenet.com/tattoo_removal/page2.htm

Just Answer, “What are the licensing requirements for laser tattoo removal,” 2012. http://www.justanswer.com/canada-law/68zkg-licensing-requirements-laser-tattoo-removal.html

Student Researcher: Richelle Peace (University of Regina)

Faculty Evaluator: Patricia W. Elliott (University of Regina)