I'm a 32 yr old black woman with a tattoo on my right hand. Any suggestions? (photos)

Will there be scarring and how many treatments will it take

Doctor Answers 2

Laser Tattoo Removal for Darker Skin Tones

Q-Switch or nanosecond lasers came out about 20 years ago.  Picosecond laser came out about 3 years ago. 
The majority of former Q-Switch patients we see have significant hypopigmentation (ghosting) around and under their tattoo.  The Q-Switch lasers have trouble differentiating between the melanin in your skin and ink.  The technology uses heat to burn the pigment out of your skin.  In addition, we have seen patients with raised scars as if they have been branded.  Both of these condition are irreversible.  Anyone with darker skin, especially African-Americans should not use this technology.

Picosecond lasers fire 1000 times faster, using a pressure wave rather than heat to shear the ink molecules apart.  After using the PicoSure for almost 2 years, we have only seen pinpoint hypopigmentation in a very small number of patients usually of darker skin tones.  We would do a test spot on you during the consultation.  We cannot say it is impossible to get burned with a Picosecond laser, but it is highly unlikely.  We tell every PicoSure tattoo patient to expect at least 6 treatments, but don’t be surprised if it takes 10 to 12.  Patience is the key for our patients.  We typically see our tattoo removal patients every 6 to 8 weeks initially.  If they have more time than money, we encourage them to come every 6 months as the tattoos seem to continue to fade while they wait.

Based on our experience, we definitely recommend a picosecond laser with 532 nm wavelength.  For PicoSure, this wavelength is an upgrade over the original models and was added specifically for treating some red inks. 

We recommend finding an experienced physician in your area.  Treatment prices vary by market.  The cost for picosecond treatments will be higher, but you should need less than half the treatments compared to a  nanosecond laser.

Fort Worth Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Tattoo and Dark Skin

This type of laser needs to be very specific for your skin type.  It can be removed but a test spot should be done first to avoid any problems.  Please consult an expert.  Best, Dr. Green

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