Clients/Patients who have darker skin tones may be more susceptible to a condition called Post Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation or PIH for short. Clients who have or may develop PIH have hyperactive melanocyte cells in their skin.▼ Continue Reading ▼
Some Cosmetic Tattooists routinely refuse to provide cosmetic tattooing services to clients/patients with darker skin tones due to the risk of hyper-pigmentation reactions which are often misconstrued as tattoo pigment changes by the tattooist.
The depth of melanin within the skin will appear to change the colour of the melanin due to the Tyndall effect, you can read more about the Tyndall effect in another one of our articles Why Do Cosmetic Tattoos Change Colour? - (Part 2).
If there is any doubt whether a client/patient already has, or may develop, PIH then they should have any existing skin blemishes checked by their doctor to determine if they appear to be PIH patches and before a tattoo procedure is considered they should also have a tattoo test patch performed 4-6 weeks before having any cosmetic tattooing procedure. The reaction to the test patch may give you some indication how the clients/patients skin may react to a full tattoo procedure.
Fitzpatrick Skin types IV-VI are potentially more prone to PIH than types I-III.
Question: What are Fitzpatrick Skin Types?
Answer: Fitzpatrick Skin Type is a Classification Scale developed by the late Dr. Thomas B. Fitzpatrick a renowned Dermatologist, you can check your own Fitzpatrick Skin Type by clicking here.
Question: Are there other types of skin disorders that may cause hyperpigmentation?
Answer: Yes, conditions such as Lichen Planus, Exogenous Ochronosis, Erythema Dyschromicum Perstans, Drug-induced Hyperpigmentation and Melasama are just a few. Regardless of the cause the same caution is warranted prior to providing a Cosmetic Tattoo treatment.
Question: What is the recommendation in relation to clients/patients who I suspect may have a hyperpigmentary disorder?
Answer: In the vast majority of cases a client/patient with an existing hyper-pigmentation skin condition e.g. PIH or Melasma should not have cosmetic tattooing, clients/patients from Africa, Asia, Latin, and indigenous Indian backgrounds (who are are the most susceptible) should seek medical advice about existing skin blemishes if there is any doubt that they may have PIH type skin blemishes. If the clients/patient advises that a hyperpigmentary condition is present then cosmetic tattooing should not be provided.
Date of most recent revision:
02/01/2013 (mutatis mutandis)
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