The connection between effective laser treatment and the immune system is a crucial component in maximising the results of your sessions.
Tattoo needles pierce the epidermis and transfer ink to the dermis, a deeper layer of the skin, abundant with various cells. When these cells experience damage by injecting pigment (ink), they identify newly injected ink particles as harmful foreign bodies, and trigger a natural immune response to expel them from the body.
Due to the density of ink particles and difïculty in breaking them down, the ink particles become trapped cells known as macrophages – a variety of innate immune cells. Without the ability or correct enzymes to break down ink particles, they trap the ink within a tiny cell cavity called a vacuole, leaving it within the skin as a visible tattoo.
The laser removal process uses a laser to break down tattoo ink into particles small enough to be broken down by immune cells and transported out of the body.
Other Laser Treatments
Your immune system doesn’t have an unlimited resource, meaning that the less it has to deal with at the time of your session, the more effective each treatment will be.
Stressors, such as poor nutrition, lack of sleep, a sedentary (or excessively active) lifestyle, exposure to pathogens and even a demanding work or personal life, can down-regulate your immune system, leading to immunocompromise and lowered immunity.
Before and during the process of your treatment, there are three things you can do to achieve optimal results:
The term inﬂammation is often overused and misunderstood. Whilst commonly associated with negative effects on health, inﬂammation is a fundamental (and natural) healing mechanism that promotes cell repair and recovery. When we refer to inﬂammation, we’re also considering the immune system because the two work in harmony.
When inﬂammation goes beyond its optimal threshold, you may experience adverse effects on recovery and overall health, leading to slower healing and unwanted symptoms.
In advance of your laser treatment, ensuring that your levels of inﬂammation are within a healthy range will positively impact your results. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you could beneﬁt from taking action in advance of your next session.
The above are all signs of chronic inflammation.
If your answers suggest that levels of inflammation may be elevated, immune system dysfunction is likely in varying degrees. The most common causes of excessive or chronic inflammation stem from your nutritional choices, namely excess sugar and refined carbohydrate intake.
Lack of exercise, elevated cortisol (stress), environmental toxins and sleep deprivation are all highly inflammatory to the body. Additionally, you could be experiencing a condition known as leaky gut, which often arises from a bacterial imbalance and (or) underlying food intolerances.
A nutrient-dense diet supports your body with the building blocks for defence, renewal and repair.
What you can do:
Manage blood glucose by eating more frequently. Ensure to include a complex carbohydrate source and quality protein source at each main meal. Foods high in sugar can weaken the ability of immune cells (namely white blood cells and lymphocytes).
Focus on immune-boosting ingredients when planning your meals, especially in the weeks before and after your laser treatments. Eating anti-inﬂammatory fats can inﬂuence recovery and buffer inﬂammation. In addition, naturally occurring omega-3 from oily ﬁsh, ﬂaxseed, chia seeds, and hemp seeds will support immunity and moderate inﬂammation.
Consider Food Intolerance Testing to rule out any ingredients that may be causing unnecessary inﬂammation, digestive impairment, and pulling vital resource from the immune system.
Any form of stress causes your adrenal glands to release a hormone called cortisol, the body’s natural pain reliever. However, too much can suppress your immune response, leading to an increased risk of inflammation and infection.
What you can do:
Engage in frequent, moderate exercise, stretching and mobility work. Exercise is a form of stress; however, it does promote immunity due to increased and more efficient circulation of immune cells through the body. Beyond a certain point, exercise can have the opposite effect on immunity, suppressing it and making you more susceptible to illness. We recommend 3-5 x 30-minute workouts per week throughout the course of your treatment to encourage detoxification, relieve emotional tension and increase immune cell function. Mobility work and stretching help aid lymphatic drainage, promote relaxation, reduce anxiety and ease tension from commonly tight areas, such as the shoulders, traps and lower back.
Your gut is responsible for 70% of your immune system, and frequent use of antibiotics disrupts the delicate balance of gut bacteria that keeps immunity functioning optimally.
What you can do:
Replete beneficial gut bacteria with the use of probiotics, specifically lactobacillus acidophilus. For probiotics to colonise the gut, they need to ‘feed’ off specific molecules, commonly known as probiotics. Probiotics are naturally contained within foods such as; oats, lentils, bananas, garlic, asparagus, leeks and beans.
Toxins from the environment, the food we eat and products we use can burden the body by diverting energy to their elimination, subsequently hindering immunity.
What you can do:
Opt for organic foods, and ensure to wash fruits and vegetables before use. Review your cosmetic products for toxic and artificial ingredients that can put extra pressure on your system. 100% natural products are the most appropriate option during treatment. If you find that you’re sensitive to perfumes and environmental products such as dust and pollen, it could be a sign that you need additional detoxification support via specific supplementation.
While you sleep, immune cells work especially hard to fight infection and break down foreign bodies – making sleep a crucial component of successful laser treatment. Conversely, with inadequate sleep, innate immune cell levels decrease, and inflammation increases, meaning you’ll be more likely to experience infection and poor healing.
What you can do:
Introduce magnesium-rich and calming foods into your diet, such as cacao, oats, whole grains, chickpeas, lentils, cinnamon, flaxseed and avocado. Introducing supplementation to support winding-down and entering into a deeper sleep can also aid recovery and prevention of infection. Magnesium, known as ‘nature’s tranquilliser’ is a simple addition to your evening routine via supplementation. Opt for a magnesium glycinate supplement, as this is the most easily absorbed by the body. Combinations including tryptophan, lemon balm and/or theanine can offer advanced support if you have insomnia or frequent sleep disturbance.
Supplementation for the weeks before, during and after treatment could help support more effective results and healing. Quick tip: fat soluble vitamins; A, D, E and K, can be stored within the body’s fat cells and consequently build up over time. However, water-soluble vitamins (such as C and B) cannot be stored, so frequent repletion is highly recommended for optimal immune function and healing.
(always check for medical interactions)
Omega 3 increases the action of phagocytes (immune cells that engulf foreign bodies) and acts as a potent anti-inflammatory. Protocol: 352 – 1000mg of Omega 3 daily, containing both EPA and DHA.
Vitamin A supports early inflammation for enhanced healing, reversing post-injury immunosuppression, and boosts collagen formation. Protocol: a high-quality multivitamin containing vitamin A can be consumed for 2-4 weeks pre and post-treatment.
Vitamin C is a dominant antioxidant and immune system influencer, enhancing immune cell activity (specifically neutrophil and lymphocyte) following treatment and is required collagen synthesis. A Vitamin C deficiency can result in abnormal or weak formation of collagen fibres, so supplementing daily is especially important in the week leading up to and following treatment. Protocol: 1000-2000 mg/day for2- 4 weeks post-injury.
Zinc deficiency is strongly correlated to poor wound healing and is one of the most frequent micronutrient deficiencies. Required for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and operating as a co-factor in DNA synthesis, cell division, and protein synthesis, sufficient Zinc levels are crucial for tissue regeneration and repair. Protocol: 15-30 mg per day for 2-4 weeks post-treatment.
B vitamins are used to produce antibodies and are required for the correct functioning of lymphocytes. Protocol: A B-Complex supplement containing at least 25mg of each B vitamin, once daily. Take in the morning, as B Vitamins can cause insomnia.
Branch Chain Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein and vital for cell repair. Whilst acquiring protein from natural food sources is preferential, your body may benefit from increased support in the form of a high-quality BCAA supplement or readily absorbed plant-based protein powder. It’s important to note that protein supplementation should be in addition to what you’re already consuming, not instead of, and in the case of powders – artificial flavours, sweeteners and stimulants should be avoided at all costs.
Probiotics re-balance bacteria in your gut by supplying live microorganisms (good bacteria) in various forms. Different strains of probiotics are recommended depending on your particular health focus. For example, Lactobacillus Gasseri is the most beneficial when considering body composition, whereas Saccharomyces Boulardii would be the most appropriate for intestinal permeability. Supplementing with an appropriate probiotic strain for a minimum of 4 weeks, daily, in advance of your laser treatment will encourage a reduction in C-reactive protein (the primary blood marker for inflammation), encouraging more effective healing.
Vitamin D3 is heavily involved in immunity, in particular by inhibiting the growth of inflammatory cells. Deficiency is a leading cause of suppressed immunity and infection, particularly through the Winter months. On average, most of us consume less than 10% of our required Vitamin D3 through food, so supplementation may be essential for optimal immune function. As Vitamin D is fat-soluble, it can build up in your system over time, so cycling supplement intake is a valuable method of repletion, whilst diminishing the risk of toxicity. Protocol: 1000iu (25 µg) of Vitamin D3 per day, ideally in liquid form within a medium-chain triglyceride oil for faster and more effective absorption.
On the day of your treatment, try to ensure that you’ve had plenty of sleep the night before (even one night of compromised sleep can suppress the immune system and elevate cortisol). In addition, ensure that you’re hydrated and relaxed for a more comfortable experience. Any unnecessary stress or anxiety on the day of your treatment could result in a slower healing process during the days that follow. Try to limit stress by arriving for your treatment with plenty of time to spare, ensure you’ve eaten a high-quality meal with both protein and complex carbohydrates, and potentially limit caffeine intake within the hours before to avoid a highly acidic internal environment.
Whilst there are many things that you can do yourself to improve the results of your laser tattoo removal, having extra support can help you ensure that you’re in the best possible place for effective healing. Remedy Kitchen are offering our clients 10% off their Luxury Meal Prep Plans, supporting the natural healing process and uplifting immunity through high-quality nutrition. Book in for a complimentary 15-minute nutrition consultation, or click here to contact Remedy Kitchen directly.
Written by Katie McIntosh, @theremedykitchenuk
Nutritional Therapist, Detoxification Specialist & Food Intolerance Practitioner
Founder of Remedy Kitchen