Wednesday, April 10, 2013
McKinney spa will soon offer rare laser-free tattoo removal
They use the same gun that tattoo artists use to deposit a molecule that works ink back to the surface of the skin.
MCKINNEY Spa Esoteric will soon offer a service available at few, if any, businesses in the Dallas area.
Starting the first week in May, tattoo owners can have their body ink removed at downtown McKinney's only full-service spa -- minus the laser, surgery and higher cost associated with more common removal procedures.
"It will take out any kind of ink," said Monika Norman, Spa Esoteric owner certified in permanent cosmetics and medical aesthetics. "It doesn't matter if it's a prison tattoo or a professional tattoo, and it doesn't matter how old it is."
Removal comes through EliminInk, a patented process out of Canada that Norman says isn't used anywhere in the area and is used at only a handful of places in Texas. Users employ the same appliance, or hand gun, used for tattooing and other permanent cosmetics, but instead use it to dispense a solution that draws tattoo ink to the skin's surface.
"It deposits a very large white molecule - the color or pigment - and the molecule is too large to stay in the skin, so while working on it you can see the ink coming out because the pigment turns grey or green or whatever color the ink is," Norman said. "Unlike a laser, which goes in and shatters the ink into tiny pieces, this draws it out."
Laser removal methods use highly concentrated light to break the ink into fragments that are cleared away by one's immune system. But the more treatments one has, the more damage to the skin that causes blisters and scabs, according to Karen Hudson's About.com report on tattoo removal options.
"On top of being physically painful (it has been described as feeling like being splattered with hot grease), laser removal can be painful to your wallet as well," Hudson states in the report, adding that each treatment ranges in price from about $250 to $850. "A large, professional tattoo in color could cost thousands of dollars to remove, and the effectiveness of the removal still isn't guaranteed."
Depending on clients' skin thickness, anywhere from two to three coats of EliminInk are necessary. A treatment takes around 30-45 minutes to cover a 4-square-inch area, Norman said, so clients with larger tattoos must be treated multiple times but not as many as with laser removal
Skin treated with EliminInk does scab and must heal for at least three weeks before the same area is treated. Clients wear a waterproof bandage over the treated area for about five days.
"You can't do it all at once; your skin won't take it," Norman said. "You're breaking the skin, so there is going to be blood."
Base pricing for EliminInk removal is about $100 per square inch of ink. Total price clearly depends on the size and kind of tattoo, but is still significantly cheaper than the more common laser removal, Norman said.
As in tattooing, sanitation is paramount when removing the ink creations. Spa Esoteric already does oncology, thus is well-versed in sanitary protocol, she said. She will use each needle once and keep on hand a cluster of five.
Only an EliminInk-certified tattoo artist, a permanent makeup artist, a physician, a nurse or a medical aesthetician is trained to perform the treatment, she said. Norman started in permanent cosmetics about six years ago at another woman's office that also did non-laser tattoo removal, with a different but similar product.
"Our average clients were people in their 30s or 40s who either were tired of their tattoos or wanted a better job and couldn't have ink showing," Norman said. "Sometimes I would just look at a tattoo and say, 'Oh, spring break, Mexico, tequila.' They'd say, 'Yeah, it's got to go.'"
Other common clients were men who wanted their ink gone before their kids decided to imitate daddy, she said. Some states offer government programs that pay for former prison inmates' tattoo removals so they can more easily mainstream into the workforce.
Norman said one former client she worked on came in for non-laser removal after having had 11 laser treatments to no avail. Some clients simply want their tattoo modified, like taking off a name or figure they no longer want permanently on their body, she said.
"It isn't any more painful than getting a tattoo, and laser removal can be horrendously painful," she said. "You're going to have an easier recovery period and quicker and better results."
Similar products on the market, including those available at Walmart, typically contain heavy glycolic acid content that attempts to fade the tattoo, Norman said, adding that such a method is "just taking layers off your skin, not really extracting it."
The treatment doesn't require incisions, scarring or creams, and it works with all permanent makeup pigments and tattoo ink. Unlike with lasers, the EliminInk procedure isn't color-dependent, thus increasing the potential for successful removal while decreasing the required number of treatments, Norman said.
Pregnant and nursing women, anyone with blood pressure issues and those on blood thinners cannot have the procedure done because they won't clot properly and are more prone to infection, she said, but otherwise the service will be available to anybody who will be diligent in after-care efforts.
Norman already has clients waiting for the service, she said, and expects it to "really take off" in coming months. She'll offer complimentary consultations for potential clients, and will ensure removals coincide with, not contradict, the relaxing spa atmosphere.
Spa Esoteric is simply adding to its full-service selection.
"This just goes with part of a client's psyche," Norman said. "When you have ink, it puts you back to a place in time, and maybe you don't want to be in that place anymore; it's the last vestiges. For a lot of people, it's like completing that circle."
Spa Esoteric is at 105 S. Church St. in downtown McKinney. For more information, call 972-540-2278.
Pegasus News Content partner - Star Local News
- Mellow Mushroom is bringing its hippie vibe to downtown McKinney
- McKinney police arrest alleged child predator
- McKinney's Old Red Lumber Yard doubles as antique haven once a month
- Blue Goose's newest McKinney location resounding success
- McKinney's Old Cotton Mill welcomes new businesses into rich history