Tattoos have become an accepted part of society and an increasingly popular fashion accessory, but soon after getting a permanent piece of art drawn on your body, you may come to regret the decision. You can always return to the tattoo artist and get a cover-up, but advancements in technology mean that laser tattoo removal is now a viable option.
However, those with dark or black skin might be wondering whether laser tattoo removal actually works for them. Some believe that tattoos on dark and black skin are harder to remove, while others have heard it will leave more visible scars. But, as extensive research has found, laser tattoo removal on darker-skinned patients works for the vast majority of people. Furthermore, cases of skin lightening and permanent scarring are rare too.
Even so, it is understandable to have certain questions and queries about tattoo removal on dark or black skin; which are answered here
Risks associated with laser tattoo removal on dark or black 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 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.
However, those with darker skin might be more susceptible to the following:
In order to remove tattoos, pulses of different light wavelengths are used to break up the ink. But this can affect the skin’s natural pigment or melanin, resulting in hyperpigmentation. Sometimes these patches of darkened skin will disappear over time, but cosmetic products can be used to make them appear more natural too.
This is where your skin’s natural pigmentation is actually removed and lighter patches will be visible where the tattoo was removed. Due to the contrast between dark skin and light hypopigmentation patches, this can look worse than it actually is. And while it may take months or even years for the skin’s pigment to look normal again, it is bound to be better than the prior tattoo.
These are very rare but can develop as a result of tattoo removal. Keloid scars manifest themselves as a raised and thickened overgrowth of scar tissue that develops around the original wound. Although keloid scars sometimes appear three to six months after removal, several treatments are available to help flatten them.
Does dark or black skin require more laser tattoo removal sessions?
A study entitled ‘A Proposed Scale to Assess Tattoo-removal Treatments’ found that darker skin tones contain pigment colors similar to that of tattoo ink. Therefore, more sessions might be required to effectively remove a tattoo, especially those with darker ink. Understandably, the size of the tattoo will also have an effect on the amount of sessions too.
Those administering the treatment might also use lower laser settings and wait longer between treatment sessions to minimize the unwanted side effects on people with darker skin. Hence, the entire process could take a bit longer to complete.