Although the number of people getting tattoos in the US continues to grow, tattoo removal has also become a booming industry. Each year many individuals end up rethinking their tattoo, and are choosing to get their once cherished tattoo removed using lasers. Laser technology is now so advanced that they can be used to remove tattoos on almost every skin type, so individuals with dark skin may be wondering – ‘Is laser tattoo removal possible for dark skin?’
Tattoos are inked on all parts of the body and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The ink is inserted in the dermis, which is the skin layer below the surface. The tattoo ink also affects the dermis, which is why removing it is often so difficult.
Laser Tattoo Removal
Laser tattoo removal has been around for many years, but the earlier laser models had some unwanted side-effects and limitations. They often destroyed the tissue surrounding the tattoo, and also caused significant inflammation and scarring. The lasers were also limited in their ability to eliminate tattoos on some skin types and skin tones, especially darker skin. However, as technology has advanced, patients of all skin types and colors can now have their tattoos removed.
Multiple sessions are generally required for complete removal. It typically takes about 8-10 sessions to fade a tattoo, and some of them may not be completely erased. Successful removal depends on several factors including the depth at which the ink was placed, the size, and the colors of the tattoo. Some colors such as black, absorb the laser light easily, and this makes eliminating the tattoo much easier.
Can Laser Tattoo Removal be Done on Dark Skin?
Tattoo removal can be done successfully on dark skinned individuals, but the technology makes the difference. Not all lasers are appropriate for dark skin, so for optimal results, you need to find a provider that uses the right technology.
Since dark skin contains melanin, there was a problem with older lasers, as the melanin also absorbed the laser light. This often resulted in issues such as skin discoloration and scarring. However, the new generation of lasers which includes the Q-Switched Nd:YAG, have longer wavelengths, which makes them more precise, and reduces the chance of any skin damage.
Q-Switched Nd:YAG for Tattoo Removal on Dark Skin
When it comes to laser tattoo removal, the Q-Switched Nd:YAG is the industry leader, and is safe for darker skin types. The Nd:YAG has a long wavelength of 1064 nm, which why it is able to get the job done so well. The longer wavelength of the Nd:YAG allows it to focus on the tattoo pigments, without damaging the surrounding skin. Therefore it does not affect the melanin pigment present in darker skin.
While lasers can remove tattoos on dark skin, this skin tone has traditionally been more susceptible to scarring and hyperpigmentation. However, the Q-Switched Nd:YAG is a safe alternative, and it does not cause any scarring or affect the natural pigment of the skin.
At Wisconsin Vein Center and MediSpa, we use the Q-Switched Nd:YAG by Alma Lasers, for tattoo removal. Removing a tattoo with the Q-Switched laser will require several treatments, spaced about 2 months apart. Our staff will meet with you to tailor a treatment program, so that you know what to expect during and after laser tattoo removal.
How it Works
The laser light from the laser targets the ink pigments trapped in the skin. The light generates heat which is absorbed by the ink molecules, and this causes them to shatter into tiny particles.
There are minimal side effects with the Q-switched ND:Yag laser, and it produces very good clinical results. Most patients will notice some improvement in their tattoo after the first treatment. The Q-switched laser is safe and accurate, and treatment is fast.
If you reside in the greater Southeast Wisconsin area, contact Wisconsin Vein Center & MediSpa, Pewaukee, for more information on laser tattoo removal. We are pleased to offer our clients the advanced laser technology for tattoo removal on all types of skin. Call 262-746-9088 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Deborah Manjoney.