Tag Archives: Dermatology

February Specials at Lakeview Dermatology

50% OFF Aesthetic Surgery Consultations at LVD  Hyde Park Office.

aesthetic surgery consultations are 50% OFF with our Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Benjamin T. Lemelman
Throughout the month of February aesthetic surgery consultations are 50% off with our Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Benjamin T. Lemelman. The consultation is an important step when considering plastic surgery. Our goal is to provide you with all the information you need to make an educated and informed decision in your cosmetic surgery journey. Offer valid only in the Hyde Park location.

Hyde Park Office is located at 1304 E 47th St, Ste 200, Chicago Hyde Park, IL60653.

Coolsculpting raffle: enter today to win a Coolsculpting cycle

Lakeview Dermatology Park Ridge CoolSculpting Event
This February, we want to show our patients how much we LOVE them with a Coolsculpting raffle. Any patient that comes in for a treatment throughout the month of February in our practice will be eligible to be entered to win a Coolsculpting cycle. Please ask your Coolsculpting specialist for more details on how you can win!
One winner will be picked at the end of February. Offer valid in our Park Ridge and Lakeview locations.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) — FREE 3 Month Supply of Viviscal Professional

REE 3 month supply of Viviscal Professional with every PRP hair loss treatment
Get the most out of your Platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment for hair loss with a FREE 3 month supply of Viviscal Professional with every PRP hair loss treatment during the month of February. Viviscal Professional supplements are scientifically formulated to nourish thinning hair and promote existing growth. Ask your healthcare provider about this amazing offer!
Offer valid at our Park Ridge, Palos Heights and Lakeview locations.

LVD Radiance Pads 15% off

 LVD Radiance Pads 15% off
Gift yourself a little YOU time this February with Lakeview Dermatology Radiance Pads this Valentine’s Day. Radiance pads are great for reducing the appearance of fine lines, pores, and smoothing the skin’s texture. During the month of February Radiance Pads are 15% off.
Offer valid at all Lakeview Dermatology locations.

Dysport $5/unit (reg. $7/unit) in our Lakeview Office while supplies last.

During the last two weeks of February (2/17-2/28), Dysport is $5/unit (reg. $7/unit) in our Lakeview Dermatology’s Lakeview location. Dysport™ is a new alternative to BOTOX that is injected into the expression making muscles of the face. Dysport™ causes a relaxation of the muscles making your facial expressions softer as deeper lines begin to disappear over the course of several treatments.

Call 773-281-9200 to book you Dysport treatment with a Board Certified Dermatologist or a Licensed Healthcare Professional.

Black Friday Specials at Lakeview Dermatology

Forget the Black Friday Madness and Pamper Yourself with Botox!
BOTOX® Cosmetic is a short and minimally invasive treatment that requires no downtime. During treatment, very low doses of botox are administered by way of small injections directly into the muscles that cause the frown lines between the brows and above the brows as well as the crow’s feet around the eyes. It can also reduce some lines on the lower lids, the bunny lines on the nose and the downward pull of the angles of the mouth.

BOTOX $12/unit  (reg. $15/unit) with
Jang Mi Johnson, PA-C in Chicago Lakeview Location

Botox Special with Jang Mi Johnson at Lakeview Dermatology, Lakeview Location this Black Friday
Jang Mi Johnson, PA-C graduated from the Cook County Hospital/ Malcolm X College Physician Assistant Program in 2002, the oldest and one of the most competitive programs in Illinois. She is nationally certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and licensed by the state of Illinois. Her interests include Multicultural hair and skin, pediatric dermatology, psoriasis, acne, cosmetic skin treatments, and many other common skin conditions.
Please call 773-281-9200 to book your BOTOX treatment with Jang Mi Johnson, PA-C.

BOTOX $12/unit  (reg. $15/unit) with
Tracee Blackburn, PA-C in Palos Heights Location
Tracee Blackburn, PA-C is a Board-Certified Physician Assistant, nationally certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and licensed by the state of Illinois. She has specialized as a PA in Dermatology since 2005. Tracee graduated from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois in 2005. She has worked in several entities of healthcare, but found her passion in Dermatology where she has extensive experience in general, surgical, and aesthetic dermatology. She diagnoses and treats common dermatologic conditions, is proficient in detecting and treating skin cancers, performs basic and intermediate surgical procedures, and performs cosmetic and laser services. Her special interests are acne, eczema, psoriasis, benign skin lesions, and skin cancer. Tracee likes to focus her attention on patient education, as she believes it is a vital part to every patient’s recovery.
Please call 708-671-1374 to book your BOTOX treatment with Tracee Blackburn, PA-C.

BOTOX $12/unit  (reg. $15/unit) with
Susan Heemstra, RN in Palos Heights

Susan Heemstra, RN has been in dermatology for over 35 years, working side by side with Dr. Eugene Mandrea, and performing lasers for more than 13 years. She has attended numerous laser training events, including Harvard University’s laser convention. Sue provides laser treatments for many conditions including acne and acne scars, rosacea, wrinkles, age spots, skin laxity, tattoo removal, spider veins, and hair removal. She enjoys working with our medical staff to develop laser plans that address medical as well as cosmetic concerns. In addition to laser treatments, Sue is also experienced at Botox injections, Coolsculpting, tumescent liposuction anesthesia and assisting with skin cancer surgery.
Please call 708-671-1374 to book your BOTOX treatment with Sue Heemstra, RN.

BOTOX $12/unit  (reg. $15/unit) with
Brittany Scurto in LVD Park Ridge Location

Brittany Scurto, PA-C is a board-certified Physician Assistant, nationally certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and licensed by the state of Illinois. She graduated from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2003 and from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science with a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 2006. She has practiced medicine in a number of different fields as a Physician Assistant since 2006 and has specialized in dermatology since 2015. Brittany’s goal is to provide the highest quality care while still maintaining a compassionate and caring demeanor. She strives to help patients understand their medical conditions and improve their well-being through partnership and education. She states, “It is important that my patients are not only healthy on the inside but confident about their outside as well.“ Her interests include: General Dermatology, Pediatric Dermatology, Acne, Eczema and performing surgical and cosmetic procedures. She also speaks fluent conversational and medical Spanish.
Please call 847-298-1831 to book your BOTOX treatment with Brittany Scurto, PA-C.

All Cosmeceutical Products 25% Off

Please call 773-281-9200 for more information or visit our Skin Store.

How Much Sweat Is Too Much?

miraDry at Lakeview Dermatology

Article published in SELF Magazine | November 1, 2019 | By Angela Ballard, R.N.

What experts want you to know about sweat and when to see a doctor.

This article was created in collaboration with the International Hyperhidrosis Society.

Embarrassingly clammy handshakes, feet that slip-slide off even the tackiest of yoga mats, cute shoes ruined, smeared makeup, damped-down hair, and armpits that soak shirts like a leaky faucet. Sometimes there’s too much of a good thing.

And, yes, sweating is actually a good thing…usually.

Like it or not, sweating is human, necessary, and natural. Sweating helps the body to maintain a healthy internal temperature so we can function and survive. Think of sweating as a personal air conditioning system; it kicks in when you need it most—like on hot, humid days or when you’re in the midst of a butt-kicking workout (and, uh, yeah, butt sweat is a thing). There’s also, of course, the stress sweat that emerges during job interviews, presentations, and other now-I’m-in-the-hot-seat situations.

So, sweat is normal. But yes, it can be annoying at times.

But what if you sweat a lot. Like a lot, a lot? Like, four or five times more than your friends are sweating, regardless of stress, exercise, or the weather? Such extreme, uncontrollable sweating is actually a medical condition called hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis can soak, drip on, smear, saturate, and ruin many things in a person’s life—from clothing, shoes, makeup, hair, and technology tools to self-confidence and well-being. Living with excessive sweating can take a hefty toll. In fact, one study published in 2016 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology looked at the rates of anxiety and depression in a sample of dermatology patients and found that both mental health conditions were much more common in patients with hyperhidrosis than in patients without it.

But if you’ve never heard of hyperhidrosis before, you’re not alone. Even though it’s a relatively common health condition (affecting approximately 4.8% of the population and 8.8% of people ages 18 to 39) many people—even doctors—still don’t know much about it, nor its life-damaging impacts, how it’s diagnosed, and the many ways to treat it.

It’s time to change that.

An important thing to understand is that there are actually two different types of hyperhidrosis: primary hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis.

  • Primary hyperhidrosis is a medical condition unto itself. It’s sometimes called idiopathic hyperhidrosis because it’s excessive sweating with no discernible cause. It is its own thing.
  • Secondary hyperhidrosis is extreme, unwanted sweating that’s being caused by another medical condition or by a medication that a person is taking. Some common causes of secondary hyperhidrosis include serious medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, and even pregnancy. So, yeah, you want to get your sweating problem checked out. Medications that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis include: certain antidepressants, some beta blockers (used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems), some treatments for schizophrenia, cancer treatments, and many more (the International Hyperhidrosis Society lists at least 240 meds that can cause excessive sweating along with more than 70 medical conditions.)

Key takeaway? Before you start trying to manage your sweating so that it’s less embarrassing and debilitating, please see a knowledgeable health care provider for a thorough checkup and review of your medical history and any medications you’re taking to rule out other potentially more serious conditions and to figure out whether adjusting any medications you’re on may be able to help. Of course, never stop taking any of your medications or change their dosages without talking to your prescriber first.

Okay, so your doctor has ruled out other medical problems and you’re not taking any medications that can cause extreme sweating as a side effect. What else might be considered before making a primary hyperhidrosis (often just called hyperhidrosis) diagnosis? Here are some things that providers typically look for (which can also be thought of as the ABCDEFG’s of hyperhidrosis):

  • Age of onset: 55% of people with hyperhidrosis say their condition started at or before the age of 10 years.
  • Bilateral. Hyperhidrosis sufferers often experience symmetric symptoms on both sides of their body, centered around hands, feet, and/or underarms (or other specific body areas or body area combinations—think face, scalp, groin, and under the breasts).
  • Cessation during sleeping. Primary hyperhidrosis typically doesn’t bring on episodes during sleep. Oddly enough, night sweats aren’t considered a symptom of primary hyperhidrosis.
  • Duration. Your health care provider will likely look for symptoms that have been going on for more than six months.
  • Episodes. Extreme, uncontrollable sweating isn’t usually constant. Most people with hyperhidrosis will experience episodes of varying length and degree. Your doctor may ask about the number of episodes per week and the effects those episodes have on your daily life and mental well-being.
  • Family history. Nearly two thirds of hyperhidrosis sufferers say they have other family members with the problem too.
  • Gets in the way. Hyperhidrosis gets in the way of sufferers’ ability to function, work, have fun, pursue dreams, develop relationships, and more. Tell your doctor about what excessive sweating means to your life.

You might be thinking, Okay, yeah, sometimes I get really sweaty and it’s super embarrassing and inconvenient. Could I have hyperhidrosis? Great question. Here are some examples of what we mean by hyperhidrosis that gets in the way of your life:

  • You can’t use your smartphone because of your sweaty hands.
  • You’re afraid to be touched because of your sweat.
  • You seem prone to skin infections.
  • You find yourself constantly worrying about your next sweating episode.
  • You’ve had to choose a different career path because your sweating would have made your real dream impossible.
  • You’ve had sweat-related slips, falls, or other accidents.

If any of this sounds like you, it’s a great idea to talk to a health provider about your symptoms.

Hyperhidrosis is treatable. Your doctor can tell you about all the various options, like stronger antiperspirants (and how to apply them for maximum benefit), a medical device that uses electricity to address sweating called iontophoresis, injections, electromagnetic treatment, prescription skin wipes, oral medications, and individualized combinations of these treatments. A drier life is possible, but it can take some patience to get it right.

Just remember that if you’re consistently dealing with excessive sweat, you have options. And if your sweat attacks are mostly relegated to your high-intensity workouts, just know that as annoying as that is, it’s totally normal.

September is Healthy Aging Month

September is Healthy Aging Month!
Our own senior physician assistant Jang Mi Johnson is going to introduce you to a Healthy Aging Skin Care Regimen.

Always start with a clean face – in the morning and at night. You can use a gentle cleanser like LVD Gentle Foaming Cleanser or LVD Clarifying Scrub.

Serums can be used in combination to address multiple causes of aging. Neo-Cutis BIO-GEL has growth factors. Growth factors help your skin “remember” how to be young whereas antioxidant rich products like skinbetter science Alto can help you combat environmental causes of aging such as free radicals, pollution and UV radiation.

Skin laxity is a common telltale sign of aging especially around the eyes. Peptide rich eye creams and serums like Revision D-E-J Eye help to tighten the thin skin around the eye at the layer where wrinkles began.

Sunscreen should always be worn every day and reapplied often. Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush is a versatile option because it can be worn over makeup or a non-makeup day.

Lastly retinoids help you reproduce collagen which in turn help you diminish fine lines and wrinkles. skinbetter science AlphaRet has a unique combination of retinoids and antioxidants that work relentlessly as you sleep.

Always remember that aging takes time and so does turning back the clock!

Video featuring Jang Mi Johnson, PA-C at Lakeview Dermatology.
Call us at 773-281-9200 when you need skin care advice from a Licensed Healthcare Professional!

Your Guide to Treating Body Acne, According to Dermatologists

You probably already have go-to products for treating facial acne, but the best way to handle body breakouts is less clear. So we asked dermatologists for their best advice on how to achieve amazing skin on every inch of your body (it’s easier than you think).

Read on for three surefire ways to beat body acne.

Practice good hygiene

To prevent pores from getting clogged on your body, make sure to wear loose-fitting clothing, wipe gym equipment before using it, wear clothes made of materials like wicking fabric that keep sweat off your skin when you work out, shower after exercise, and exfoliate several times a week, says dermatologist Jennifer Trent. If you use moisturizer or sunscreen on your body, use ones that are oil-free or non-comedogenic, says Steven Mandrea, the co-founder of Lakeview Dermatology in Chicago.

Use acne washes

Mandrea and Trent both recommend washes with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. In terms of specific products, Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Oxy Deep Pore Medicated Acne Pads, Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment, and PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash should all work, according to Trent. “Remember to completely rinse off the benzoyl peroxide so it doesn’t bleach your clothing, towels, or linens,” says Mandrea.

See a dermatologist

For stubborn body acne, you may want to talk to a dermatologist about more heavy-duty options. These can include prescription medications like topical antibiotics, topical retinoids derived from vitamin A, oral antibiotics, or even isotretinoin (Accutane), according to Mandrea. “If over-the-counter products aren’t helping, you need to seek treatment from a dermatologist,” says Trent.

4 Must-Follow Sun Protection Tips You May Not Have Heard Before

by Wendy Rose Gould in TotalBeauty
Image via Imaxtree

We’re laying down some lesser-known sun protection rules.

Throw on Some UPF Clothing

Though we all know we’re supposed to slather on a broad-spectrum SPF 30 and reapply every two hours, the truth is that we’re not all as good at this as we’d like to be.”Enter the age of sun protective clothing,” says Dr. Steven Mandrea, a board-certified dermatologist and the co-founder of Lakeview Dermatology in Chicago. “Mainstream brands such as Athleta, Lily Pulitzer, Land’s End, and J. Crew have entered the market with stylish bathing suits, cover-ups, swim shirts, hats, and more that offer added sun protection. The best fabrics have an ultraviolet protective factor (UPF) of 50 and are a great supplement to sunscreen.”

Protect Your Scalp from the Sun

Another area of the body that’s prone to sunscreen but often gets overlooked is our scalp. And think about it — it’s just a sitting duck for the sun’s harmful rays.”The scalp is as susceptible to sun damage as the rest of your skin, and because it’s covered by your hair, you’re less likely to notice any suspicious moles,” recommends Dr. Sobel. “If you part your hair or you’re wearing any hair style that exposes your scalp, use a spray sunscreen to protect your scalp.” You can also wear hats (UPF hats are ideal for extended outdoor exposure), use a sun umbrella, and try to spend as much time in the shade as possible.

6 Sneaky Signs a Skincare Product Isn’t Worth the Money

6 Sneaky Signs a Skincare Product Isn’t Worth the Moneyby Krissy Brady in Parade Magazine

You work hard for your money (so hard for it, honey), and when you invest in pricey skincare products, you understandably want them to work as hard as you do. But as we all know, some of those high-end potions in the beauty aisle are straight-up imposters—and considering the mind-blowing number of beauty products on the market, sussing them out can feel impossible.

“A higher-priced product doesn’t necessarily mean high quality because many of the skincare products we use are actually made in the same facilities,” says Caroline A. Chang, MD, board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. What you often end up paying extra for are luxury details, such as a signature scent, or added ingredients that make the product glide more easily, like dimethicone.

Still, how can you tell if a pricier skincare product is worth it—or, more importantly, isn’t? There are six sneaky signs that you should watch out for, according to dermatologists:

1. The active ingredient is last on the ingredients list. “The best way to tell if a product isn’t worth the hefty price tag is to see how much of the active ingredient is in the product,” says Chang. Ingredient lists always list ingredients in order from the highest to lowest concentrations, so make sure the active ingredient you’re interested in is listed fairly early on. If it’s not, then that product may put more of a dent in your wallet than your skincare goals.

2. The product contains collagen. Our skin is composed largely of collagen, which degrades and thins as we age—but don’t be fooled by beauty products that contain it. “Although studies are showing that ingesting a collagen supplement can have beneficial effects on the collagen of the skin, applying actual collagen to the surface of the skin won’t do anything,” says Anthony Youn, MD, anti-aging expert and author of The Age Fix. This is because the actual collagen molecules are too large to pass through the skin, so they end up sitting on the surface.

3. The product contains trendy ingredients. When shopping for skincare products, always focus on active ingredients, not trendy ones. Ingredients like snake venom and stem cells might sound groundbreaking, but until they have legit scientific studies to back them, you may be wasting your hard-earned cash. The same goes for products sans active ingredients—there might be a ton of hype around the product, but if its active ingredient count is, well, zero, it’s basically the equivalent of a basic scented lotion, says Chang.
What active ingredients should you be looking for? Retinol or peptides are great for anti-aging. For exfoliating, look for products that contain alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, salicylic). Moisturizing products should contain ingredients like ceramides or hyaluronic acid, while skin lightening is best taken care of with licorice root extract, kojic acid, and hydroquinone.

4. The product contains unnecessary active ingredients. Facial cleansers that contain pricey ingredients aren’t worth the investment, since the cleanser doesn’t stay on your skin long enough for them to do their thing. “Many lower-priced cleansers accomplish the same goals as their more expensive counterparts,” says Chicago-based board-certified dermatologist Steven Mandrea, MD. Ditto for moisturizers.
Your best bet? Invest in a serum instead, which has higher concentrations of active ingredients that are designed to penetrate and absorb into the skin, says Mandrea, such as antioxidants. Finish things off with your moisturizer, which acts as a protective layer—that way, your serum can get down to business without interference.

5. The active ingredients are packaged incorrectly. When a product contains a fragile active ingredient, such as vitamin C or retinol, it’s best to avoid those that are packaged in clear containers. “Sunlight will deactivate the ingredients by causing them to oxidize,” says Youn. “This turns the serum or cream brown, the obvious sign that it’s no longer effective.” Instead, look for brands that sell these ingredients in dark amber bottles, or something else that prevents light from entering.

6. The product promises to cure your skin issues. Beware of skincare products that over-promise results. “Over-the-counter products are best for enhancing your regimen, but they can’t ‘cure’ wrinkles or get rid of acne for good,” says Chang. Rather than giving in to fear-based marketing or a trendy brand, look for products with transparent labeling of ingredients. Go into your shopping trip knowing the specific concerns you’d like to tackle (say, lightening brown spots), and shop based on the ingredients that have been shown to legitimately help (kojic acid, hydroquinone, tranexamic acid, vitamin C).

FREE SkinCeuticals Biocellulose Mask*

February 2019 Offer: FREE SkinCeuticals Biocellulose Mask with your Dermaplaning Treatment

Love your skin and get it ready for your Valentine’s Day Date Night!
*Purchase a Dermaplaning treatment and receive a FREE SkinCeuticals Biocellulose mask (reg. $60) throughout February! Dermaplaning manually exfoliates, removing soft facial hair that traps dirt and oil, promoting smoother, softer skin.

Offer valid in our Park Ridge and Palos Heights locations while supplies last.
Call 773-281-9200 to book your Dermaplaning Treatment with a Licensed Healthcare Professional.

Lakeview Dermatology Hyde Park Location

We are thrilled to announce that Lakeview Dermatology’s 4th location is coming to Hyde Park, Chicago, IL in March 2019!

Location: 1304 East 47th St, Ste 200 Chicago, IL 60653
Lakeview Dermatology Hyde Park Location

From rebellious to routine: A path to tattoo regret

By Randy Dotinga – Dermatology Times


A modern tattoo sensibility

In the beginning, there were bodies and there was art. Early humans mixed the two and declared them to be a fine match. Now, tattoos are finally gaining widespread respectability.

In just a matter of decades, body art has shed much — but not all — of its tawdry reputation as an emblem of sailors, outcasts and criminals. In 2014, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 40% of respondents live with someone with a tattoo, almost twice the number as 15 years earlier. And in 2010, a Pew Research Center study found that almost 40% of millennials — adults born after 1980 — had tattoos. About 7% reported having six or more.

The new prime minister of Canada has a “badass tattoo,” as the magazine GQ puts it, on his upper arm. Across the pond, the wife of the U.K. prime minister has one on her foot.

According to news reports, Carolyn Kennedy, the presidential daughter and ambassador to Japan, got a tattoo in the 1980s. Helen Mirren, Jennifer Anniston, Ben Affleck and Brad Pitt are all tattooed. Even the Barbie doll — briefly — sported a butterfly tattoo of her own.

Along with the dramatic rise in acceptability of tattoos has come a dramatic rise in tattoo regrets. But thanks to dermatologists and technological advances, people have more power to remove unwanted tattoos.

But before we get to tattoos (and tattoo removal) in the present day, let’s start with an unfortunate prehistoric body-art enthusiast known as Ötzi the Iceman.

Dawn of the tattoo

Tattoos and related body modifications like intentional scars “have been documented in almost all known cultures and on all inhabited continents,” says Matt Lodder, Ph.D., a tattoo researcher, very tattooed person and lecturer in contemporary art and visual culture at the University of Essex in the U.K. According to him, some evidence suggests that tattoos date back to at least the Upper Paleolithic era, also known as the Stone Age, some 10,000-50,000 years ago before humans figured out how to farm.

The earliest firm evidence of human tattoos dates back more recently, to about 5,000 years ago. That’s when Ötzi the Iceman — as he’s known — lived in the mountains that now split Austria and Italy.

Hikers discovered Ötzi’s mummified body in 1991. Preserved in snow and ice after his apparent murder, he survived for millennia along with his clothes, his tools and a stunning 61 tattoos.

Italy’s South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, which displays the mummy, says the tattoos look like lines and crosses and were created by rubbing charcoal into fine incisions. The museum thinks the tattoos may have been designed to relieve pain, perhaps as part of an early form of acupuncture, although there’s debate about this.

When the upper crust embraced the tat

Ötzi the Iceman’s tattoos are unusual because they appear to be health-related. It’s more common in Western culture for people to use tattoos to stand apart. Like fashion, “they distinguish our identities and create distinctive bodies,” says Dave C. Lane, Ph.D., an assistant professor of sociology at the University of South Dakota who studies tattoos and is heavily tattooed himself.

Aaron Deter-Wolf, a tattoo researcher and Tennessee archaeologist, and colleagues put it this way in a 2016 report in the Journal of Archaeological Science: “Depending on the culture and time period, indigenous tattoo traditions have functioned to signal entry into adulthood, reflect social status, document martial achievement, demonstrate lineage and group affiliation, and to channel and direct preternatural forces.” And, of course, some tattoos simply serve as decoration.

For a while, just over a century ago, tattoos were actually a craze among the British upper crust.

“Elites and military officers would travel to Japan to get tattoos as marks of their aristocratic status,” Dr. Lane says. “For some reason, we have constructed the idea that tattoos were the property of sailors and criminals and outlaws. Tattoo researchers are just beginning to challenge and explore that narrative. One of the arguments is that elites moved away from tattooing around the time the tattoo machine appeared and made tattooing cheap and accessible at all.”

A modern tattoo sensibility

In the 20th century, tattoos dipped in public acceptance as they became emblems of the rough and rebellious even as they began to be used in new ways.

“Since at least the First World War, there’s also been some uptake of tattooing by cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists to re-pigment skin affected by conditions which leave skin patches, to simulate hair in bald patients or those with alopecia, to simulate nipples on women with mastectomies, and to reduce the appearance of scars and marks,” the U.K.’s Dr. Lodder says.

Over the past 50 years, a “tattoo renaissance” has resulted in massive growth in tattoos. “You had a number of people who entered the world of tattooing with an art school background,” the University of South Dakota’s Dr. Lane says. “They also were able to incorporate the aesthetics of the art world, and they were key in terms of changing attitudes regarding sterility.”

Improved safety arrived along with streamlined tattoo inks. “I’m sure plenty of dermatologists today would be horrified by some of the ingredients of early tattoo inks, particularly as tattooers experimented with color,” Dr. Lodder says. “Many early red inks were made from mercury-derived vermillion. And sailors in the 18th century would often use gunpowder mixed with urine as their ink.”

Tattoo regret

No one knows when a first human regretted a tattoo and tried to do something about it, but Dr. Lodder thinks it happened early. “I do not doubt that removing permanent tattoo marks has been attempted, by abrasion and excision, for millennia,” Dr. Lodder says.

Indeed, tattoo artists have offered “home remedies” for tattoo removal since at least the late 19th century, he says. Up until the 1980s, some artists used chemicals like tannin to diminish tattoos by tattooing over the original artwork. “Reports suggest that these were moderately successful,” he says, “particularly when the goal was to lighten the tattoo so that it could be covered with new work rather than removed entirely.”

Why get rid of tattoos? “People often regret bad decisions, like offensive tattoos, jail house tattoos, gang tattoos, and just plain ugly tattoos. Or they get the name of a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife and, after the love affair is over, they may seek removal,” says Melbourne, Fla., dermatologist Terrence A. Cronin Jr., M.D. As a result, “professional tattoo artists are resistant to tattooing names other than your mother’s or your children’s.”

The tattooed may also worry about stigma and their ability to find work.

“I have an example of a waiter seeking removal of a tattoo on his hand in the 1880s due to it affecting his career choices,” Dr. Lodder says.

A 2008 study in Archives of Dermatology of 196 patients seeking tattoo removal found that more than half were embarrassed by their tattoos. The research turned up a startling statistic: More than two-thirds of those seeking tattoo removal were women.

“Society hasn’t caught up with women having all these tattoos,” says study author Myrna L. Armstrong, Ed.D., RN, who’s now a professor emerita at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. “Women are the ones who show up at tattoo removal clinics and tend to go through with it. Men may not like their tattoos either, but a lot of them don’t follow through with the decision-making to have it done.”

As Americans’ taste for tattoos has grown, experts say, so have many tattoo wearers’ regrets.

Nationally, says Eric F. Bernstein, M.D., M.S.E., “There’s a total epidemic of people wanting their tattoos removed.” He is clinical professor, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

George Hruza, M.D., M.B.A., says he commonly sees parents who want tattoos removed from children – who got them without permission – as young as 16. He is a Chesterfield, Missouri-based dermatologist in private practice. Dr. Bernstein adds that he’s removed recent tattoos from patients from 14 years old to senior citizens.

Regarding tattoo locations, Dr. Hruza says that as tattoos have grown more mainstream, he increasingly zaps them from highly visible areas such as the neck, once the wearers rethink their ink.

Roy Geronemus, M.D., adds that as people become more aware that lasers can safely and effectively remove tattoos, he sees growing numbers of patients with lip and eyeliner tattoos they want removed.

Treating tattooed-on cosmetics can be tricky, however. Frequently, explains Dr. Hruza, they contain iron oxide (for tan and rust tones) or titanium dioxide (for pastels and flesh tones). Immediately after Q-switched or picosecond laser treatment, he says, both materials often irreversibly darken to gray or pitch-black tones as refractory as genuine black ink. Dr. Bernstein says the darkened pigment can take double or triple the usual number of Q-switched laser treatments.

At Lakeview Dermatology tattoo removal with the Q switch laser can be done in the Palos Heights office for black inked tattoo.  Tattoo removal with the Q switch laser may require multiple treatments; usually about 8-12 are recommended.

To discuss your tattoos removal treatment with a Board Certified Dermatologist or a Licensed Healthcare Professional please make an online appointment or call 773-281-9200 today.