Will my skin color ever come back? (Photo)

I had a tattoo removal 3 years ago and now my skin is way lighter in that area. I went to a dematalogist who said that my skin would go back to its natural color but it never has. Now I'm thinking I need to get a tattoo to cover up the tattoo removal

Doctor Answers 6

Will skin color come back

Unfortunately, there is a higher risk of hypopigmentation in people with darker skin. A tattoo can be removed from darker skin, but the laser is likely to remove pigment from your skin along with the tattoo pigment. At this point, it is unlikely that your skin's coloration will return to normal since it looks as though your melanocytes were destroyed and melanin can no longer be produced in that area. However, some laser treatments have been known to help restore or even out variations in skin color and skin grafting could also be considered. Additionally, there may be topical prescriptions that could help to counteract the hypopigmentation but it may be too late for this method to be effective because of the amount of time that has passed. Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon so that they can give you a more thorough explanation of these and other options.

Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Hypopigmentation Post Tattoo Removal- Medical Tattooing

Unfortunately, there is no "cure" for lack of pigmentation, just treatment to improve the area. I suggest consulting a board certified cosmetic dermatologist for further evaluation and medical tattooing. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

3 years with pigment loss after tattoo removal

It won't come back at this point. Placing a tattoo over this area will look better probably but it still won't look normal. There are case reports of applying Latisse through holes in the skin made with a CO2 laser to improve pigmentation.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

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Will not repigment

This will not repigment .Treatment options include excimer laser to stimulate repigmentation. This laser is used for vitiligo and stimulates pigment cells. Another option is Microneedling which can stimulate repigmentation from melanocytes on edge. There is no downtime and no risk .Expect several sessions two weeks apart.

Morris Westfried, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
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Hypopigmentation post laser

Thank you for your questions. Based on the amount of time that has passed I would say the pigmentation in the area is permanently gone. You could look into camouflage tattooing in the area to match your skin tone so the contrast in less noticeable. 

Best Wishes,

Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
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Hypopigmentation after Laser

Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, this far out I would not expect further improvement. It appears that your melanocytes in this skin were killed off, not just "stunned" so to speak. Normally if there is hypopigmentation in the course of laser tattoo removal it rebounds in a couple of months with a bit of sunlight exposure to stimulate the melanocytes. In your case the white skin is likely devoid of melanocytes and will be very susceptible to a burn. A coverup with another tattoo is a consideration, but the ink will look different on the different background skin colors- it would take a lot of planning, and a very experienced artist.
Best, Lisa Vuich, MD

Lisa Vuich, MD
Nashua Physician
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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.