Tattoos are an increasingly popular method of body art, so it’s no surprise that a sizeable percentage of the world’s population is adorned with ink. Tattooing has been practiced for centuries in many cultures and can represent a number of meanings for the owner of the tattoo, including having religious, spiritual, and artistic implications. Unfortunately, there are some who later regret their body art. What seemed like a good idea at the time can cause major problems later in life, including psychological distress. For others, it can result in difficulty in securing employment or going for a promotion.
Hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation occur when the body's production of melanin is skewed after a laser treatment. With hyperpigmentation, the body overproduces melanin in reaction to the laser treatment, so skin in the treated area is darker than the natural skin tone. With hypopigmentation, the melanin is depleted by the laser treatment and the skin appears bleached. Both hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation are typically temporary and resolve naturally with time. Patients with middle to darker skin tones are at the greatest risk for pigmentation changes and should avoid sun exposure the weeks following each treatment.