Adrenaline Studios is proud to serve the multicultural melting pots of both Greater Vancouver BC and Greater Toronto ON. In doing so, we tattoo all skin types, and have become well known for our ability to work with any tone, making black ink and color pop no matter the amount of oh-so beautiful melanin. However, with the rise in popularity of laser removal for cover-ups or as a means to create a clean canvas, questions arise about the viability of laser tattoo removal for dark skin. And it’s a fair question, given that in the past proper recourse for undesirable ink was hard to find. But thanks to the evolution of laser technology things have changed for the better. Let’s investigate.
How to Achieve Successful Laser Tattoo Removal for Dark Skin
Addressing Pigmentation Concerns
Given that you may be receiving treatment on a publicly visible area of your body, you have concerns about hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation is a condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. Dark skin is typically more susceptible to pigmentation problems, with minor skin irritants causing hyperpigmentation to varying degrees. Since traditional laser treatment is indeed a skin “irritant” hyperpigmentation can occur in some individuals. However, all things equal, hyperpigmentation caused by common laser treatment tends to dissipate in a few short months.
Hypopigmentation is a condition in which patches of skin become lighter in color than the normal surrounding skin. We won’t be addressing Vitiligo however, which is a severe type of hypopigmentation characterized by white patches of skin, an affliction that affects about 2% of the population and is most noticeable in people higher up on the Fitzpatrick scale, the numerical classification schema for human skin color. Post inflammatory (laser treatment) hypopigmentation occurs in roughly 10% of people who have laser removal, but again is more common in those with dark skin. Unlike hyperpigmentation, this converse condition doesn’t normally correct itself over time, and so people often seek more proactive recourse, applying puvasol, topical psoralen, or UVA phototherapy which may help speed the repigmentation of hypopigmented patches caused by traditional laser therapy. However, we ask that you note our reference to “traditional”, “typical”, and “common” laser therapy as thanks to new developments in laser tattoo removal the risk of hypopigmentation is mitigated significantly. More on this in the second section below.
In each case (hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation) it is absolutely imperative to avoid sun exposure on the impacted area both before and after laser tattoo removal. Sun damage can alter the pigment of the treated area and/or surrounding area, compounding the aesthetic differences between them. If you must step outside in a t-shirt or tank-top and expose the treated area be sure to lather up in some SPF 60 (and then some).
Find a Tattoo Studio That Offers PicoSure Laser
This is a two-pronged answer.
For starters, always choose a professional tattoo studio over a cosmetic laser clinic for your tattoo removal. A cosmetic clinic may have a lot of experience in working with laser BUT they don’t have as nearly as much experience in tattoos, neither in application or removal, which are tied together more than they will ever admit. Plus, a tattoo studio can offer you another option over full removal (which is more expensive and requires more sessions) – fading for cover up. Lastly, a tattoo parlor is more likely to have a laser system more appropriate to tattoo ink, as opposed to those used for hair or mole/scar removal. View more on why you should always choose a tattoo studio over a cosmetic clinic to perform your laser removal.
The second and most important consideration here, comes down to the choice of laser treatment. Without a doubt, you will want to choose a tattoo studio that offers PicoSure laser therapy. PicoSure applies a patented PressureWave technology that works with your body’s lymphatic system to break ink apart into micoscopic dust-like particles that are then absorbed by the lymphatic system and eliminated in a completely organic way. This is a less intrusive manner of laser treatment, and the less trauma, the less likely there will be lasting impediment to skin pigment for those sensitive to hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation.
While darker skinned individuals no longer have much to worry about when it comes to laser tattoo removal, every person is indeed different. The first step you need to take is to schedule a consultation with a laser tattoo removal specialist near you (or travel to one if need be). They will ask the right questions, diving into your history to address how your skin typically responds to any form of irritation so that they can better assess the risk (if any) of both short and long term pigmentation changes. If there is, using laser to fade the area for a cover up tattoo (one that you’ve always wanted) may be the answer. But let’s start by finding out. Contact us today.