About Your Skin
Skins types and tattoo removal
For successful tattoo removal, many factors are taken into account, one of which is skin type
In 1975, Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, developed a classification system for skin typing. This system was based on a person's complexion and responses to sun exposure.
Fitzpatrick Skin Types are:
- Type I: Always burns; never tans
- Type II: Burns easily, tans minimally
- Type III: Burns moderately; tans gradually to light brown
- Type IV: Burns minimally; always tans well to moderately brown
- Type V: Rarely burns; tans profusely to dark brown
- Type VI: Never burns; deeply pigmented
As well as the skin type, other factors that should be taken into account are genetic disposition (eye colours, hair colour, freckles). Another caution is that if your nationality is Afro-American, Greek or Italian, you may be prone to hypo-pigmentation (loss of proper skin color). An indicator that is taken into consideration is reaction to sun exposure and tanning habits (artificial sunlamps or tanning creams).
Pale or Dark Skin?
Skin types vary from type 1 (pale) to type VI (deeply pigmented)
Clients with pale skin usually see the best results. Smaller, older tattoos that are located on the arms, chest, buttocks or legs are the easiest to remove.
Clients with darker skin require a more cautious approach and may experience hypo pigmentation; in most cases this is a short-term effect and full pigmentation returns within a few months.
Therefore more sessions sessions may be necessary to minimize the risk of hyperpigmentation (excessive color) or hypopigmentation (excessive fading).
Keloid scarring is also a possibility for darker-skinned patients. If your skin is prone to these types of scars, a patch test should be performed.
Treatment of these patients will start more cautiously and with lower fluence (light energy) pulses followed by careful evaluation of how the skin is reacting.
For darker skin types, the actual colour of the skin is important, as this is caused by natural pigmentation which must not be 'removed'. If the ink colour is too close to the natural skin colour, total removal may not be possible.