Consumer Product Update: Health Canada warns of potential risks of tattoo removal products

In Fall 2014, Health Canada received four separate incident reports concerning adverse reactions related to the use of tattoo removal products. Reported adverse reactions have included skin irritation and scarring.

Tattoo removal products can include gels, creams or solutions applied topically or injected through the skin using a tattoo needle. These types of products are available through specialized tattoo or esthetic service providers, or may be purchased directly by consumers from specialized retailers, in store and online. The products work by fading/lightening the tattoo ink, or by drawing the ink to the surface of the skin, causing a scab that eventually falls away.

What you should do
Consumers should be aware that there are potential risks associated with the use of all tattoo removal products, such as skin irritation and scarring.

Before undergoing any procedure to remove a tattoo, consumers should familiarize themselves with any risks associated with the products and method used, and read any warnings or directions on the label. Consumers should consult a health professional about potential adverse reactions.

Report health or safety concerns
If you experience an adverse reaction related to a tattoo removal product or any other consumer product, report it to Health Canada as well as to the establishment where the product or service was purchased.

What Health Canada is doing
Health Canada is seeking further information about the products implicated in the reported incidents. In addition, department officials are carefully monitoring the marketplace for information about safety-related incidents involving tattoo removal products. Health Canada will follow up with companies where products are implicated in an incident and, where appropriate, take compliance and enforcement actions.