If you have a dark skin tone, you may wonder if laser tattoo removal will work for you. The short answer it yes. However, you should seek out a physician who is experienced in aesthetic surgery and removing tattoos from dark skin.

Is laser tattoo removal effective?

Lasers have been used to remove tattoos since the 1970s, and there’s lot of research-based evidence that shows lasers work just as well on dark skin as they do on lighter tones. One study showed an improvement of 75-95 percent after three treatments with slight skin lightening in occurring only two patients. No scarring or textural skin changes were noted at all.

However, extra steps need to be taken to ensure a successful outcome. For example, people with darker skin may need to use bleaching cream for a few weeks before treatment. Additionally, the right type of laser and the right wavelength should be used to ensure the tattoo ink is being absorbed and not the skin’s pigment. People with darker skin tones may also need plan for more treatments to remove the tattoo.

Are there risk for people with dark skin?

The risks are very much the same for all people, regardless of skin tone. Blistering, swelling and itching can occur as your body’s immune system works to heal itself. Your skin color won’t impact the risk of infection, muscle soreness or amount of discomfort during treatment either. However, people with dark skin are more at risk for:


During treatment, pulses of different light wavelengths breakup tattoo ink. However, this can impact your skin’s melanin or pigmentation. In some cases, the laser can cause your skin around the treated area to get darker. Overtime, the darker sports will dissipate. In the meantime, cosmetic products can help your skin look more natural.


In this scenario, the opposite is true and your skin’s natural coloring is removed or lightened by the laser. It will improve over several months but can look unnatural while healing occurs. Cosmetic products can improve the appearance, too.

Keloid Scars

While rare, some darker skinned individuals will develop keloid scars following the removal of a tattoo. Keloid scars area thick overgrowth of scar tissue that can develop in the area where the tattoo was removed.  Keloid scars can appear several months after laser treatment. Rest assured there are several cosmetic services available to you that will improve the appearance of your skin.

If you have more questions about removing tattoos with lasers, please contact us at New Look Vein and Aesthetic Center. Along with BOTOX, Latisse and a variety of dermal filler options, Dr. Krikorian and our staff offer expertise in removing tattoos from all skin tones.