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Skin color matters…

Will laser tattoo removal actually work for my skin tone?

Some believe that tattoos on darker skin types are harder to remove, while others have think that it will result in a higher rate of pigmentation problems and scaring. These issues can all occur, but they can also be avoided and eliminated by having an experienced technician that is familiar with these skin types and the necessary protocol. With the right type of laser and the right specialist, research has concluded that laser tattoo removal on Fitzpatrick 5/6 skin types is safe and can be very effective, and by using the right laser settings the chances of scarring or pigmentation problems are between 1-5%.

Dark & Light Skin Tones

Skin Type 1

Highly sensitive to sun exposure

Approved Laser

PicoSure 755 / RevLite SI 1064-532

Ink Colors

All Colors

Skin Type 2

Highly sensitive to sun exposure, but tans

Approved Laser

PicoSure 755 / RevLite SI 1064-532

Ink Colors

All Colors

Skin Type 3

Sensitive to sun exposure, tans gradually

Approved Laser

PicoSure 755 / RevLite SI 1064-532

Ink Colors

All Colors

Skin Type 4

Moderately sensitive to sun, always tan

Approved Laser

RevLite SI preferred / Pico, Winter Months

Ink Colors

All Colors

Skin Type 5

Minimal sensitive to sun exposure

Approved Laser

RevLite SI 1064 Only

Ink Colors

Black Ink

Skin Type 6

Least sensitive to sun exposure

Approved Laser

RevLite SI 1064 Only

Ink Colors

Black Ink Only

What are the risks associated with laser tattoo removal on dark skin?

Regardless of whether you have dark or fair skin, the risks and side effects associated with laser tattoo removal are much the same. Things like blistering, scabbing, swelling and itching are quite normal, as they are often an indication that your immune system has started the healing process. Skin color does not have any bearing on pain levels, infection or muscle soreness either.

During the removal process, pulses of light/wavelengths are used to attract to the ink in-order to crystalize and break up the large ink molecules. This process uses a thermal pulse, which can affect the skin’s natural pigment or melanin, if used improperly. A client may experience Hyper/Hypopigmentation issues if they are not following the appropriate after care instructions, being exposed to the sun or heat for an extended period of time.

Clients with darker skin types are commonly prone to keloid scarring. Keloid scars can manifest themselves as a raised and thickened overgrowth of scar tissue that develops around the original wound. You will know if you are prone to Keloids if your tattoo is raised or scarred from the initial application of ink. Although keloid scars sometimes appear three to six months after a traumatic injury, there are several treatments that are available to help flatten them.

Will the removal process require more treatments on darker skin types then lighter skin types?

With most clients the removal process is an individual experience that depends on a variety of variables. With that being said it is our practice to be very cautions and precise when treating darker skin. This means that we have to be less aggressive then we are on a skin types that have a less concentration of melanin. Our experienced protocol is to use lower laser energy settings and wait longer between treatments to minimize the possibility of unwanted side effects. So with that being said yes, it takes a longer amount of time to remove a tattoo, but we often keep most of our darker skin clients around the same amount of visits and cost.

Will the new PicoSure laser treat darker skin types?

No, mostly because the wavelength of light that the PicoSure produces (755nm Alexandrite) does not react well with high concentrations of melanin. When it comes to tattoo removal the only type wavelength that should be used on darker skin types is a Q-Switched 1064nm Yag Laser. Here at Tataway we use the Cynosure RevLite SI, which in our experience is the only laser that should and can be successfully used to remove ink from darker skin types. The RevLite SI delivers rapid, short pulse widths of energy, which successfully limits the skin’s exposure to heat, thus making the process very safe on all skin types.