Myths or Reality? Dark Skin Tattoo Removal Misconceptions, Busted!


Tattoo removal technology has improved leaps and bounds over the last two decades, but unfortunately, we still come across lots of common preconceived notions about certain aspects of it across the board. In particular, there are still a lot of misconceptions about PicoWay® technology and its effects on darker skin tones. Let’s approach some of the most common myths and bust them one by one! 

Myth #1: Darker skin tones don’t respond to tattoo removal as well as lighter tones.

Reality: That is unequivocally false! With the technology we have today, it’s nearly equal. With the old technology—tech that used a greater amount of heat—it was true but since the release of PicoWay®, which is FDA cleared for all skin types, we’re able to get similar results for our clients regardless of skin tone. This is because PicoWay energy shatters the ink using photomechanical (sheer force) energy as opposed to photothermal (heat) energy.  As you can imagine this is much less disruptive to the surrounding tissue making it the go-to laser for darker skin types.  

Myth #2: Removing tattoos for darker skin tones is more intense. 

Reality: Nope, not even a little. Certain details during the overall process may vary slightly but as far as intensity, it remains the same. With every client, we craft a custom approach to remove their ink based on their individual needs—depending on ink depth, color, placement, size, etc—and darker skin tones are no different. 

The process, no matter the client, generally looks like this: first, we prep the skin and the room (and the client!), we then use the laser on the affected area, and finally wrap the area and prep the client for their post-appointment care; it’s the same process for everyone, no matter the skin tone. 

Myth #3: The more melanin in your skin, the longer it takes to remove a tattoo.

Reality: Many factors play a role in treatment duration. Examples include ink density, quality of ink, tattoo location, age of the tattoo, the patient’s overall health and yes, skin type. It is possible for any tattoo to take longer than the average, due to any of the aforementioned factors. Darker skin type alone does not guarantee a longer time to remove the tattoo. 

Myth #4: Hypopigmentation [the temporary lightening of the skin] is inevitable when it comes to tattoo removal on darker skin tones.

Reality: With PicoWay (remember, less heat than other technology!) skin discoloration, such as hypopigmentation, is rare. We have extensive experience treating darker skin types and have developed protocol to reduce the odds. Most skin discoloration is temporary and is considered to be a possible side effect of tattoo removal, during the healing phase, in any skin type. 

Myth #5: You can’t remove certain color inks from dark skin. 

Reality: May have been true in the past, but it certainly isn’t true now. With the PicoWay laser, there are three different wavelengths that cover the whole color spectrum. One is for darker blacks/blues/browns, one is for sunset colors and the third gets the blues, purples and greens. It’s more achievable than ever to reach the original color of a person’s skin. 

Fact: If you’re still curious about tattoo removal, now is the time to do it! Technology is at the best state it’s ever been, so please call your nearest Invisible Ink Tattoo Removers location and book your free consultation. 


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