Does It Work: Wrecking Balm Tattoo Remover

(KFVS) - There are so many lotions and potions that promise to get rid of tattoos, but can you really rub off something that's inked into your skin? The Wrecking Balm Tattoo Remover says it can, but does it work?

"I got my tattoos 10 years ago, and now I want them gone," April Lutes said, adding she regrets getting them on her chest and ankle.

When she saw the Wrecking Balm Tattoo Removal commercial enough times, she bought the $170 product hoping it would help.

Using a gel, cream and buffer three minutes a day, three days a week, and the Wrecking Balm says it removes the tattoo.

"It's really easy," Lutes said. "You just put the cream on and buff away."

No doctor appointment and no pain from laser treatment is OK with Lutes, a busy mom.

Initially, Lutes noticed the Wrecking Balm buffer seemed to blur the edges of the tattoo.

"Just a vibration feeling. It does feel gritty because the substance is gritty," Lutes said of the buffer, which seems like a microdermabrasion kit. "Like sandpaper on your skin and doesn't really hurt or anything."

Lutes hopes the tattoos will clear up in time for a ceremony where she and her husband will renew their wedding vows. She's noticed the included Wrecking Balm waterproof concealer seems to help in the meantime. She hopes in time she won't even have anything to cover up at all.

"It shows it fading, almost completely gone," Lutes explained. "If you continue to use it, they said it will completely fade it."

The timeline the company puts out is two months, but three months later: "It looks like it might have faded on one little strip," Lutes said. "I can't tell any difference at all."

There is a difference: added redness from the irritation caused after Lutes used it the required amount of times for three months. The tattoos are still completely there.

"I've used it three times a week; I've done it every other day, but it gives me irritation," she said.

Now Lutes is considering the more expensive laser treatments.

Dr. Troy Major of ENT Consultants says the rotating head of the buffer may take away the top layer of a tattoo, but professional-grade tattoos usually go much further than that, making it harder to remove.

Lasers help by breaking down the dyes, sending them out through your immune system where white blood cells push it out.

"Lasers have to recognize over 100 dyes and colors, and those can be mixed," he explained.

Major noted green dye is the hardest to remove, while black is the easiest. But the treatments can hurt, they're expensive and it may take several sessions before you see results. Even then, some tattoos might not fully go away. Major says though, lasers work much, much better than a product like this, among other options.

"For the money I paid, I would have rather done laser treatments," Lutes admitted. "But the concealer is the plus out of this."

The positive response from the concealer keeps her from completely failing this product, despite the bad customer service she says she also received from the company.

"I think it's a gimmick," she concluded. "The concealer is the only thing out of it, at least a D-minus if not a grade 'F.'"

The Wrecking Balm crashes and burns, failing this Does it Work test.

©2009 KFVS. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.