Laser Tattoo Removal on Dark or Black Skin is possible; however, there is important information you should know when when talking to tattoo removal clinics to determine if they have the right laser for you.
Using the Right Laser for Tattoo Removal on Dark or Black Skin
Not all lasers in doctors offices are created equally. Some are best used for toe nails others are best for tattoo removal. There are many types of lasers for tattoo removal, too. Lasers in a doctors office, tattoo removal clinic, or medical spa may have 1 to 4 wavelengths. Some places may even have more than one laser for tattoo removal! Caution: Some tattoo removal providers just have 1 wavelength!
The 4 main wavelengths you will generally find in a tattoo removal service provider’s office are:
- Nd:Yag (1064 wavelength)
- Q-switched Ruby (694 wavelength)
- Alexandrite (755 wavelength)
- Frequency-doubled (532 wavelength)
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Why is this important?
This is important because the smaller the wavelength the more damage it can do to dark or black skin while removing the tattoo. That’s why dark or black colored skin should always use the Nd:Yag (1064 wavelength). The 1064 will produce the least amount of collateral damage to the top layer of skin, causing minimal scarring and hyper/hypo pigmentation.
Risks for Tattoo Removal on Dark or Black Skin
- Hyperpigmentation – Darker colored spots in the skin that are darker than your natural skin tones.
- Hypopigmentation – Lighter spots on the skin.
- Keloid Scars – Overgrowth of scar tissue at the site of a healed skin.
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Generally hyper/hypo pigmentation in the skin caused by laser tattoo will subsite over time. Keloid scars however do not.
How can I tell if the tattoo removal is working on my dark skin?
Notice the whitish frost bubbles in the video after the laser passes the skin during the removal? That means it’s working! This is a good sign.
Will I need more tattoo removal sessions for my dark or black skin?
According to the Kirby-Desai study, dark or black skin will require a couple more tattoo removal sessions to effectively remove a tattoo. This is because darker skin tones contain similar pigment colors in the tattoo inks.
Written by: Eric Zabinski