Does laser tattoo removal work on dark skin?

Some doctors say the skin shouldn't even be tanned, much less dark. What are the options for me being an African American woman? Is laser tattoo removal out of the question?


F, 31, Oregon

Tags:woman unwanted tattoo laser tattoo dark removal african-american

I am dark skinned, and I have successfully had several tattoos safely removed over the years. I personally went out and found a removal clinic that was for sure able to fade the ink out of my skin without causing damage. At the clinic I go to, they use a 1064 wavelength laser. The doctors there explained to me that the wavelength was the most effective laser in existence when it comes to removing colors off of darker skin tones and that not every laser would be able to do as good of a job as that one. They also strongly advised me to follow the aftercare instructions as closely as I could because if I didn’t, it could result in pale, bleached out looking skin.

Before I had my tattoo removed, I had heard things from other people that made me think it wouldn’t be possible. I have very dark skin and had been told that doctors couldn’t remove a tattoo from dark skin without scarring or skin lightening. If I was going to have these problems, I didn’t see the point of removing the tattoo. In fact, I put off even looking into it for a couple of years simply because I was sure it wouldn’t work for me. But I was very surprised when I finally asked a doctor about it and found out that it actually could be done. According to her, it was just a matter of using the right approach. I also had to have more treatment sessions than someone with lighter skin might have to, which wasn’t great.

I’m fairly happy with the result of my laser tattoo removal, especially since there is a myth out there that it is almost impossible for people with black skin to have tattoos removed without lots of problems. Because of this myth, I thought that I would be unable to have my tattoo removed, but a doctor advised me this just wasn’t the case. Even though he said it would be a bit harder for me and would take longer to remove the tattoo from my neck because of my skin color, it turned out he was able to do it. I just had to accept that is going to take a few more sessions to remove it than it would for someone with light skin.

I had the same fears about getting my tattoos removed so I put it off for years. I was worried that my tattoo wouldn’t be completely removed but even worse I thought I’d have scars after the treatment. All kinds of things go through your head when it comes to cosmetic surgery. I got so tired of having to cover up my tattoos for work that I told myself to take a chance. Now my ugly tattoo is gone, and I have nice smooth skin where it used to be! Kind of like it was never there.