Had a Tattoo Removed? Help your body detox the ink!
Continuing on in my discussion of what tattoo ink is made of, what happens to it when it is “removed” with a laser, and what the possible health ramifications are, I now turn to the subject of detoxification.Why should you consider undergoing a detoxification program while you’re getting laser tattoo removal treatments? What can you do to support your body’s circulation, immune, and detoxification systems in order to optimize the tattoo removal while protecting your health?
We are all exposed to hundreds of chemicals, pollutants, and cellular waste products daily. Our systems are designed to process and eliminate these substances from our bodies so that nothing adverse damages or is stored in our tissues. But unfortunately sometimes the body gets overburdened – too much ‘stuff’ is coming in and the detoxification systems can’t keep up with the demand. This is when damage or disease can happen to us at the cellular level, oftentimes with the damage not being noticeable for years afterwards. Tattoo ink is an example of an additional ‘toxin’ that the body needs to rid itself of.
There’s huge individual variation in each person’s ability to adequately process and eliminate toxins, including tattoo ink, based on genetics, totality of environmental toxin exposure, overall health, nutrition, etc. Furthermore if a person’s body is hindered by poor circulation, excess toxicity, liver dysfunction, lack of nutrients, or poor hydration, the complete removal of tattoo ink may be much less efficient.
If you wish to enhance and support your system of detoxification and minimize your risk of possible tissue damage when getting tattoos removed, there are many simple things that you can do with certain foods, behavioral practices, and nutritional supplements throughout the treatment period.
- FOODS TO EAT – In general a wide variety of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables and adequate daily protein will provide lots of essential nutrients for detox support. Some key liver and colon supporting foods are:
- Artichoke and beets
- Onions and garlic
- Cruciferous vegetables – cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Bok Choy, kale, radishes, horseradish, arugula, and turnips
- Protein from animal or plant source including protein powders (e.g. whey, rice, pea, etc.)
- Bitter vegetables such as bitter gourd, dandelion greens, mustard greens and chicory
- High fiber foods such as whole grains, psyllium, flax seeds, fruit and vegetables – fiber binds toxins and eliminates them through the GI tract
- Apples contain pectin, a fiber known to bind and excrete heavy metals from the intestines.
- Parsley, cilantro, spirulina, leafy greens (high in chorophyll)
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER – Water dilutes the chemical metabolites coming from the liver and allows them to be excreted appropriately through the kidneys (in the form of urine). How many ounces of water to drink daily? A good goal is to take your body weight in pounds and divide it by 2, e.g. a 150 pound woman should drink 75 ounces of water daily.
EXERCISE – Movement of all kinds increases circulation of blood which brings nutrients to organs and tissues and carries waste products away from cells. Muscle contractions during exercise also manually pump the lymph through the vessels, thereby more effectively cleaning the tissues. In addition, sweating eliminates toxins through the skin.
DRY SKIN BRUSHING – Very effective at stimulating the flow of the lymphatic system. Do not brush over the area of a new tattoo or a tattoo being removed, but everywhere else! How to do it:
- Use a natural bristle brush (dry) with a long handle.
- Perform once a day before showering or when changing clothes after work, before a workout, or before bed.
- Always brush toward your heart. Start with the soles of your feet and work your way up your legs to your arms, chest, back, and stomach. Avoid brushing your face, your genitals, over the area of new or recently removed tattoos, or any areas with irritations or abrasions (including varicose veins).
- The pressure you apply while brushing your skin should be firm but not painful (avoid “scrubbing”). Your skin should be pink after a session (not red or irritated) and you can brush for as long (or as little) as you’d like (e.g. 2-10 minutes).
QUIT SMOKING – Smoking damages every cell in the body and impedes detox pathways. Smoking uses up your vital nutrients and ages your tissues. Regular smoking will significantly impair your ability to detoxify and heal effectively.
MASSAGE – Helps to move toxins through tissues, especially lymphatic massage.
SUPPLEMENTS TO TAKE – Support your liver function with nutrients specific to detoxification work. These nutrients provide antioxidant protection to tissues as well cofactors to toxin metabolism. Nutritional supplements to consider:
- Probiotics (beneficial gut bacteria)
- Essential Fatty Acids (e.g. fish oil, flaxseed oil)
A combination detox formula supplies invaluable nutrients needed by the liver to break down and eliminate the toxins in tattoo inks. We have a great comprehensive formula available for purchase at RediMedi Clinic.The above practices are extremely helpful in supporting the process of successful tattoo removal. As a bonus, they are also good practices to employ on an ongoing basis to help your body deal with the multitude of ‘stuff’ that it has to process and remove daily. The goal with detoxification is to improve your overall health and get you feeling great!