What sounded like a cool, fun thing to do a few years ago may be something you feel less excited about years down the line. For some people who got inked in their youth, the decision to have your tattoo removed can be an often painful one especially if you are black as few skincare professionals know how to treat black skin in such matters.
Seventeen years ago model Lerone Clarke-Oliver had a tattoo permanently etched onto his shoulder blade, he was fifteen at the time, now at thirty-two he wants it removed.
What Lerone discovered is that although laser removal had been around for years, it was particularly dangerous for those with non-Caucasian skin. Patients risk hyperpigmentation, where the skin is left darker, or lighter. There is also the risk of keloid scarring. With this knowledge Lerone set up a video blog on YouTube documenting his experience.
Within his vlog Lerone explains that there are now safe options however, in an unregulated industry there are important considerations people should be aware of and he highlights the questions everyone should ask before starting treatment.
The current state-of-the-art technique is the PicoSure laser. The laser uses ultra-short pulses (one trillionth of a second in length) to hit the ink particle with a pressure so great, the ink shatters into tiny dust-like particles. Because the particles are so small, they are more readily absorbed and eliminated by the body. However, due to the melanin in non-Caucasian skin the practitioner needs to take a slightly different approach. Lerone, a Radio Presenter based in London said: “I went to 5 or 6 different companies, none of them said there could be complications because of the colour of my skin. Luckily, I’d done a lot of research. I was shocked at the number of companies that were happy to take my business yet risk permanently damaging my skin – due to their lack of knowledge, or greed.”
Lerone went with The Reset Room based in Soho, London, a specialist tattooist and laser removal salon. “I want people to know the risks, and know what their options are. The Reset Room offered a free test session, so we could all get an idea of how many sessions it would take, and how my skin would react. Over the following treatments they turned the laser right down and took a softly-softly approach – which I appreciated.”
You can watch Lerone’s journey below. If for no other reason but the fact that he is rather fetching, and topless in the video.