Laser Tattoo Removal

Ottawa's leading tattoo removal provider

As the demand for dermatological treatments catering to people with skin of color continues to rise, the need for effective and safe interventions becomes paramount. By 2060, nearly 60% of the US population will comprise individuals with skin of color, underscoring the importance of addressing the unique treatment needs and considerations of this growing patient demographic

Differentiating Characteristics of Skin of Color

Skin of color possesses distinct biological, structural, and functional differences compared to lightly pigmented skin. These differences include:

• Increased Epidermal Melanin Content: Skin of color offers enhanced protection against harmful UV radiation due to higher epidermal melanin content. However, this characteristic also increases the risk of hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation, and scarring.

• Singly Dispersed Larger Melanosomes: Larger melanosomes are widely distributed within epidermal keratinocytes in skin of color, contributing to its unique pigmentation characteristics.

• Pigmentary Disorders: Skin of color is more prone to pigmentary disorders resulting from labile melanocyte responses.

• Risk of Injury and Inflammation: Skin of color has a tendency toward injury and inflammation following procedures, which can lead to hyper- and hypopigmentation.

• Keloids: Darker skin tones have a higher prevalence of keloids, which, due to increased fibroblast reactivity, can lead to hypertrophic scarring

Common Dermatological Disorders in Skin of Color

Due to these specific biological characteristics, individuals with skin of color are more susceptible to certain dermatological conditions, including:

• Melasma: Increased pigmentation related to hormones, genetics, UV exposure, and medications. Commonly referred to as the “mask of pregnancy,” it affects areas such as the upper lip, upper cheeks, and chin.

• Café au Lait Marks (CALMs): Light brown pigmented lesions often present at birth, which can remain throughout life.

• Hori’s Nevus (ABNOM): A pigmented skin lesion often misdiagnosed as melasma, caused by factors like inflammation, hormonal disruption, and UV exposure.

• Lentigines: Benign lesions occurring on sun-exposed areas like the face and hands, increasing with age.

• Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH): Increased pigmentation at sites of inflammation, resulting from skin disorders, trauma, or even minor injuries.

**Understanding the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale**

The Fitzpatrick skin type scale is a widely used classification system developed by Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick in 1975 to assess an individual’s skin tone and its reaction to UV exposure. This scale helps dermatologists and skincare professionals determine the most suitable treatments and predict how the skin may respond to various therapies, including laser treatments like PicoWay.

The Fitzpatrick scale categorizes individuals into six distinct skin types, ranging from Type I to Type VI, based on several key factors:

1. **Type I – White Skin**: This skin type always burns and never tans. People with Type I skin often have very fair or pale skin that is highly sensitive to UV radiation.

2. **Type II – Fair Skin**: Type II skin also tends to burn easily and tans with difficulty. Individuals with this skin type usually have light skin that can develop sunburn quickly.

3. **Type III – Average Skin Color**: People with Type III skin have an average skin color. They sometimes experience mild sunburn but can achieve a moderate tan with sun exposure.

4. **Type IV – Light-Brown Skin**: Type IV skin rarely burns and tans easily. Individuals with this skin type have light-brown skin that can handle sun exposure without significant burning.

5. **Type V – Brown Skin**: People with Type V skin never burn and tan very easily. Their skin is naturally brown, offering excellent protection against UV damage.

6. **Type VI – Black Skin**: Type VI skin is heavily pigmented, and individuals with this skin type never burn. They tan very easily and have rich, dark skin tones.

Understanding your Fitzpatrick skin type is crucial when considering treatments like PicoWay lasers, as it helps determine the most appropriate settings and precautions to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the procedure. For individuals with skin of color, such as Fitzpatrick skin types IV-VI, choosing the right treatment parameters is particularly important to minimize the risk of adverse effects and achieve optimal results.

Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of the Fitzpatrick skin type scale, let’s delve deeper into how it influences the choice of PicoWay laser treatments for different skin types

Special Laser Treatment Considerations for Skin of Color

When it comes to laser treatments for benign pigmented lesions and tattoos in patients with skin of color (Fitzpatrick skin types IV-VI), a gentle yet powerful approach is essential. This approach should accurately target the melanin or ink while minimizing adverse side effects such as blistering or scarring, which can be more common in this patient group compared to lighter skin types (Fitzpatrick skin types I-III).

Considerations for laser treatments in skin of color include:

• Specific Wavelengths: Use a wavelength specific to and well absorbed by the target chromophore while minimizing absorption by surrounding melanin.
• Cooling Techniques: Employ appropriate cooling techniques to prevent overheating of the skin during treatment, enhancing patient comfort.
• Customizable Parameters: Utilize lasers that offer highly customizable treatment parameters, including adjustable power, spot size, and fluence.
• Reduced Treatment Sessions: Aim for treatments requiring fewer sessions and minimal treatment time.

The PicoWay System: Revolutionizing Laser Treatment for Skin of Color

The introduction of picosecond lasers, like the PicoWay laser system, has transformed dermatological treatments. This revolutionary technology offers ideal characteristics for treating patients of all Fitzpatrick skin types, including those with skin of color, setting new standards in clearing benign pigmented lesions and tattoos.

Picosecond lasers utilize ultra-short pulses measured in trillionths of a second, making them highly efficient in breaking down melanin in pigmented lesions and tattoo ink. Unlike nanosecond pulse durations, which can carry a risk of PIH in skin of color, picosecond technology minimizes the risk of hyper- or hypopigmentation and scarring, thanks to its photoacoustic rather than photothermal effect.

The PicoWay system includes multiple wavelengths (532nm, 785nm, and 1064nm), allowing for precise targeting and clearance of chromophores in pigmented lesions and tattoo ink. It offers a wide range of treatment options for various skin concerns, including acne scars and wrinkles.

Treatment of Common Conditions in Skin of Color

Let’s explore the effectiveness of PicoWay laser treatments for specific conditions in patients with skin of color:

• Treatment of CALMs: PicoWay 532nm laser has shown superior results in clearing CALMs in Fitzpatrick skin types II, III, and IV while minimizing side effects compared to other laser modalities.

• Treatment of Lentigines: Clinical studies have demonstrated less tissue damage and superior outcomes when treating solar lentigines in patients with Fitzpatrick skin types III and IV using PicoWay picosecond lasers.

• Treatment of PIH: PicoWay’s unique technology significantly reduces the risk of PIH when addressing pigmented lesions in skin of color, with a low rate of PIH reported in clinical studies.

Picoway and Skin of Color

In summary, the PicoWay system offers a revolutionary approach to laser treatments for skin of color, providing safe &    effective options for clearing pigmented lesions and tattoos. Its customizable settings, coupled with the expertise of skilled practitioners, make it an excellent choice for patients seeking optimal results with minimal risk.

From research to practical application, the PicoWay system is changing the landscape of laser treatments. It empowers physicians to confidently treat patients of all skin types, including skin of color, and achieve remarkable results while prioritizing patient safety and satisfaction. To book a consultation with a laser skincare technican, click here.


Most frequent questions and answers regarding laser tattoo removal

The price of laser tattoo removal depends on the nature of the tattoo itself, colours, detail, etc. The size of your tattoo will determine the sessions needed in order to restore your skin to it’s pre-inked beauty.

Chances are laser tattoo removal can be painful, it is not as painful as getting a tattoo. There may slight discomfort depending on skin sensitivity. Laser tattoo removal sensations can be comparable to to a sunburn, the laser pulses may feel like a snapping of rubberband.

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There are many lifestyle changes that can help speed up your laser tattoo removal recovery. Such changes might be:

Exercise Regularly

Don’t Smoke

Get Adequet Rest

Drink Water Regularly

Follow Aftercare Advice


This depends on the client and their skin type. Essentially, laser tattoo removal sessions are spaced 6-8 weeks apart to allow the skin to heal. Many clients begin to see ink fade after third treatment. Altogether, you can begin to see results within 3 months, given the 6-8 week break.

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