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Laser Tattoo Removal on Dark Skin

Home News Laser Tattoo Removal on Dark Skin

Dark skin present some problems

As you have probably heard, laser tattoo removal on dark skin is a real challenge.  The process takes longer, is frequently more expensive (because you have to go more often), and can be more plagued by less perfect outcomes. The modern lasers that are used work best when there is a significant contrast between the ink color and the skin color.  By definition, “colored skin” with an ink color on top represents less contrast.  In short, there is less “difference.”  The less difference presents a challenge for the laser.

Because African Americans have a “keloid” skin reaction much more easily than white Americans, a tattoo treatment laser result can (and frequently does) show this ‘build-up’ of skin.  A keloid is a build-up of scar tissue that frequently doesn’t go away. In the picture shown, the keloids are on his biceps.

Laser Tattoo Removal on Dark SkinIn deciding whether to have laser tattoo treatments, you will have to decide if you would be “okay” with a scarred outcome rather than a tattoo.  The current lasers on the market are not ideal for darker skin colors and the outcomes are frequently not what people expected.

The key is to treat skin of color differently than white skin. Not better or worse, simply different.  In these cases, laser tattoo removal on dark skin has to be approached delicately and with great care.  Slow and steady is always the best approach and wait 6 weeks at least between sessions to allow your skin to heal.

The laser technician should generally use a lower setting (or lower power level) initially to see how your particular skin turns out.  If significant scarring occurs, use adjust appropriately.  Many scars that initially occur after a laser treatment, will fade with time . . as all scars do.  Allow that healing to occur between sessions.

Once people finally decide to try to remove a tattoo, they are usually in a hurry and want to rush the process, but “slow and steady” always wins the race. And doing proper research is the key.  Take your time, choose and laser treatment facility that is used to skin of color, and wait a little extra time between treatments.

About Dr Greg Hall

Greg Hall, MD is a physician, author, speaker, inventor, professor, and public health professional. Dr. Hall specializes in urban health and the clinical care of African Americans. He strives to improve the quality of medical care through improved health education and awareness. As an expert in the healthcare of African Americans, Dr. Greg Hall strives for health equity in all patient care.