Light Therapy and Tattoos

Don't Get Burned

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Recently concerns have been raised over the use of light therapy on patients with tattoos. As tattoos become more popular among all segments of society, including professional athletes, health care providers frequently find themselves needing to apply light treatment over tattooed skin. Light therapy applied with LEDs or Lasers is commonly used to decrease pain and facilitate tissue healing. However, excessive heating can occur with Class III B and IV Lasers due to their high irradiance (mW/cm2). A recent case report documented blistering of the skin over a black tattoo. The blisters were most likely caused by the inadvertent heating of the iron oxides and/or the metal salts in the tattoo's black pigment.  Read More   

In addition to treatment concerns, using light therapy on patients with tattoos has raised liability concerns. A 2016 Claim Report Update on Physical Therapy Professional Liability Exposure identified skin burns as the second most common injury claim with an average paid indemnity of $51,354.  Read More

A safer and more convenient way to apply light therapy is with CareWear’s wearable light patches that have low average irradiance (<3mW/cm2) and a maximum tissue temperature elevation of 6° C. The lower levels of fluence, irradiance and temperature change provided by CareWear patches will not cause localized heating of red, blue or black tattoos.  Read More