If your youthful exploits included a hastily-inked tattoo or two, you may sometimes find yourself wishing for a time machine so that you could go back and warn yourself against making such a permanent commitment at a young age. While tattoo artists and dermatologists can now successfully remove most tattoos -- even extensive or dark ones -- through laser treatment sessions, many of the laser beams used to remove tattoos from light skin are less effective when it comes to tattoo removal for dark skin. What are your best permanent removal options? Read on to learn more about what you can expect when pursuing tattoo removal for your dark skin.
Why does dark skin react differently to laser tattoo removal?
Laser beams are able to remove tattoo ink from skin by essentially acting as a magnet -- attracting the ink to pool in one spot near the top layer of skin and then vaporizing the ink entirely. Although it will generally take several (or more) treatment sessions to fully remove a tattoo, you should be able to notice a visible improvement after a single treatment.
Dark skin can be more difficult when it comes to tattoo removal because of the relative lack of contrast between your skin tone and the tattoo ink -- especially if your tattoo is brown or black. This makes it tougher to find a laser beam whose frequency can distinguish between these tones and attack only the tattoo ink, not your skin pigment.
Some dark-skinned individuals may also be more susceptible to keloid scarring -- thick, ropy scars that persist long after the wound has healed. Although laser tattoo removal generally shouldn't cause more than minor skin irritation, any abrasions or contusions that occur during laser removal may leave a longer-lasting scar than those with lighter skin would experience.
What factors will improve your odds of a successful tattoo removal?
Fortunately, an increase in the number of people getting tattoos has led to a boom in the laser tattoo removal market, helping improve the long-term effectiveness of tattoo removal for those of all races. In fact, nearly half of all Americans between the ages of 26 and 40 have at least one tattoo, and around ten percent of individuals with a tattoo have considered or pursued professional removal at one time.
In general, tattoos with dark, solid ink (like tribal symbols) are the easiest to remove. Those with bright colors or intricate patterns may be more difficult, as different wavelengths of light are required to remove each color of ink. It's likely you'll need a few extra removal sessions if your tattoo is anything but an uncomplicated dark, solid pattern.
You can also reduce your risk of developing keloid scars by making sure the tattoo removal site is kept clean and moisturized. Using a lotion or oil that contains Vitamin E should promote healing and reduce any scabbing or irritation.
For more information, contact a company like Midwest Medical Specialists.