African American Tattoo Removal

I am a 30 year old African American woman looking for a safe yet successful way of removing a lower back tattoo. My question to you is, what would be the best laser method for me to consider if I were to do laser? Also, because the tattoo is so large, will excising and grafting a good option?

Doctor Answers 5

Tattoo removal on African American Skin

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It is absolutely safe to have a tattoo removed. The best option is with a Q-switched Nd:Yag laser. Make sure that your provider uses this and not any other type of laser. The Alex-Tri-Vantage will not work. Another important consideration is to that you choose someone who has experience with different skin types. Ask for before and after pictures of successful tattoo removal. Make sure they include proper aftercare instructions and space your treatments at least 6 weeks apart. 

Houston Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Tattoo Removal

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You would be a great candidate for the Alex Trivantage laser. This laser is the only one on the market that can target colors.  The multiple wave lengths can target all the colors in the tattoo with 4-6 sessions.  You should contact a board certified dermatologist as soon as possible.

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Tattoo Removal on African American Skin

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Tattoo removal is absolutely safe and feasible for darker skin. If you find a physician who is experienced using a pigment laser on darker skin tones for tattoo removal, you shouldn't have any problem. Your doctor will customize the laser settings for your particular skin tone and tattoo, and depending on the depth of ink placement, how old it is, and the color, you should be able to get full clearance of the tattoo (or close) in a series of sessions. See my video below, as it fits your situation. Best of luck! 

Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

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Tattoo removal in ethnic skin

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Tattoo removal is best done with Q-switched Nd:Yag laser, can be safely done in ethnic skin, though multiple treatment sessions may be required. Any surgical procedure including laser surgery has potential risks of secondary infection or hypertrophic scarring. I would start with Q-switched Nd:Yag laser with conservative energy as there may be risks of pigmentation changes.

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Tattoo removal on African American skin can be difficult

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Tattoo removal on African American skin can be difficult since the biggest risk of treatment is hypopigmentation. That being said we have had good success in removing the tattoos on our African American patients using the q-switched laser. However, a larger number of treatments are required since the power settings have to be lower to minimize lightening of the surrounding skin. If a lighter skin color in the area of the tattoo to be removed is not a big concern, than you can proceed with laser removal. However, it could be significantly lighter in color than the remaining normal skin. Also, I would not recommend excision and grafting since you are guaranteed to have unsightly scarring and worsening pigmentation problems. If the tattoo is not to bothersome, the best treatment may be to leave it alone.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

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.