Back issues No.4 - 2001 / Case Report  

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Darkening of Cosmetic Tattoo Induced by Iatrogenic Q-Switched Laser Therapy
Lih-Yuan Chang, Chun-Min Wang, Hong-Shang Hong
Dermatol Sinica 19: 324-330, 2001

Q-switched laser pulses can remove most tattoos effectively, with a low risk of scarring. Cosmetic tattoos, especially those with flesh-colored, red, tan or white inks, should be approached with caution when attempting removal by high-energy short-pulse laser, because of the possibility of laser-induced irreversible darkening. The possible mechanism may be caused by reaction of reduction. The darkened cosmetic tattoos can be removed by subsequent therapy in some cases, but sometimes surgical excision is necessary in others. We report a case treated by Er-YAG laser resurfacing. Besides, we tattooed on skin of pig and removed by Q-switched lasers. According to these results, we suggest white, yellow, and flesh-colored inks must be approached carefully.

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