Breaking News
More () »

Advanced laser allows safer tattoo removal for people of darker skin

A new laser is allowing people with darker skin to get tattoos removed safely.

An advanced laser for tattoo removal is now allowing more African Americans and other dark skinned ethnicities to use it with minimal risk.

Before, it was just too risky and caused a lot of damage, which included hypopigmentation, or when tattoo removal leaves white patches behind.

That's why Leiana Guzman waited more than 10 years before trying to get her tattoo removed.

"The fact that I am black, I've always been a bit concerned about which laser can be used on my skin," said Guzman.

In 2007, she got a USC tattoo on her back, despite attending the University of Texas in 2014. Guzman blamed it on a night in Las Vegas.

"I regretted it the next morning," said Guzman.

But because of her fear, she kept the USC tattoo and adjusted her life around it.

"I don't wear tank tops, nothing open backs, I've been so insecure about this tattoo," said Guzman.

Until now.

She's discovered Dr. Daniel Friedmann,the Clinical Research Director at Westlake Dermatology.

Ten long years later, she's finally getting the tattoo removed. The PICO4 laser is invisible and so powerful, the nurse taped Guzman's eyes shut. If not, she runs the risk of going blind.

"A laser that fires energy in billionths of a second that has for wavelengths, so this not only allows us to treat all skin colors safely, but it allows us to treat all colors safely as well," said Dr. Friedmann.

Dr. Friedmann said the PICO4 is a big deal because now, dark-skinned patients, like Guzman, can safely get tattoos removed without the fear of hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation, which can happen with other lasers that aren't as powerful.

"But when you have my skin color, you're a little concerned with any hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation, you get a little nervous. I never wanted to have a white USC logo on my back," said Guzman.

But with just a couple more treatments to go, Guzman will finally get to make a change and get the haircut she has wanted for so long -- a bob.

Guzman still needs a couple more treatments.

These procedures are considered cosmetic, so insurance does not cover them. As for cost, that depends on the area being treated. For example, in Guzman's case, she pays $300 per visit.

Before You Leave, Check This Out