Are Chemical Peels Effective in Removing Tattoos

Chemical Peels, as the words suggest, are usually used to peel the outer layers of the skin. They are also called exfoliates and are commonly used when dealing with acne on the skin, mild sun damage, wrinkles as well as other such things. The tattoo pigment is located below these layers of skin so it is almost impossible to remove it by using chemical peels.

How do they work?

The active ingredient in chemical peels used for tattoo removal purposes is TCA (TriChloroacetic Acid). So in essence the TCA will burn away the outer layers of the skin in order to allow the skin to form new layers in their place. Depending on the amount of time the chemical peel is left on the skin will determine how many layers have been peeled off. They range from a superficial peel to a deep peel, all of which have different healing times and aftercare treatments.

What are they most commonly used as?

The main 2 reasons why people will use chemical peels will be acne and aging. Uses include:

  • Removing Acne Scars
  • Removing Unwanted Wrinkles
  • Repairing Sun Damaged Skin
  • Repairing Pigment Changes in the Skin

WebMD as well as other such medical websites do not mention anything about using chemical peels as a tattoo removal method because they will simply not work. The guidelines state that:

Deep peels are not done on darker skin types, because they bleach the skin.

This is how a chemical peel masquerades as a tattoo removal method as it bleaches the skin and thus makes it seem like the tattoo has been removed when in fact it is the skin that has been lightened and gives off a “fading” effect on the tattoo.

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Doctors’ Opinions?

“TCA Peel is not the better option for tattoo removal

With class IV medical lasers comes technology that is very effective in treating tattoos.  If it requires high powered lasers to fragment (very selectively) ink particles, one can imagine that a TCA peel would not be able to perform anything comparable to what a laser can do.  Lasers will offer a more consistent, predictable result versus peels.”

By Doctor Harold J Kaplan.

“Tattoo treatment using chemicals is unsafe

You will risk scarring and incomplete removal of the tattoo if you opt to “burn” it off. A TCA peel will only remove the superficial layer of the skin, and tattoos penetrate deep into the dermis…that’s why they are permanent.”

By Doctor John LoMonaco.


Here at Tattoo Removal Manchester we DO NOT recommend using a chemical peel when wanting to remove any unwanted tattoos from your skin. We recommend using a specialist clinic that deals in painless tattoo removal. Please fill out the form and we will be in touch with you as soon as possible to arrange a consultation.

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