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Dr. David
Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 43490
Experience:  Board Certified Physician
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Laser tattoo removal hypopigmentation skin cancer risk

Customer Question

Laser tattoo removal hypopigmentation skin cancer risk

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
Dr. David :

This is Dr. David

Dr. David :

there is no skin cancer risk from laser tattoo removal

Dr. David :

you can always protect the hypopigmented skin with sun screen.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Hi Dr David

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

I talked to you before about this

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

but I have pictures now

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

and would like to show you

Dr. David :

sure

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Full Size Image

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Full Size Image

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Full Size Image

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Full Size Image

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Full Size Image

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

I have sent you 5 images in total

Dr. David :

yes, I got them.

Dr. David :

what is your question?

Dr. David :

you don't have to worry about skin cancer risk.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

getting the laser tattoo removal has left me with white areas hypopigmentation in those areas and I am worried I have no natural protection against the sun in those areas. because my melanin has gone

Dr. David :

you will get back melanin in that area again over time.

Dr. David :

it is not a life long issue.

Dr. David :

your cells will make melanin there again.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

can you see the white areas I am talking about?

Dr. David :

yes.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

have I got natural protection from the sun in those areas

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

melanin

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

pigment

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Dr. David?

Dr. David :

you will with time put more in natural melanin pigment into those areas.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

sorry I don't understand

Dr. David :

your body will put in natural melanin in the skin there over time

Dr. David :

you will not get skin cancer now.

Dr. David :

skin cancer happens over a lifetime of sun exposure.

Dr. David :

you do still have some melanin in your skin.

Dr. David :

your skin isn't completely unprotected at this point.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

are you talking about in the white areas

Dr. David :

yes.

Dr. David :

let me know if you have other questions.

Dr. David :

if done, please leave positive feedback below

Dr. David :

thanks for using JustAnswer.com

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

So even though these areas our white I still have natural protection from the sun like the rest of my skin?

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Dr. David?

Dr. David :

yes, they have natural protection.

Dr. David :

and you won't get skin cancer overnight.

Dr. David :

or even in one year or two years or 5 yeras.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

so how comes it looks white in those areas ?

Dr. David :

it is from your laser tattoo removal.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

is it white because it has taken my pigment

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

my melanin

Dr. David :

it hasn't taken all of your melanin.

Dr. David :

you still have melanin in the skin a

Dr. David :

and your skin will make more over time.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

I had a tattoo done over it

Dr. David :

yes, I know.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Full Size Image

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

I had a tattoo done over it after I had the original one removed

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

but you can still see the whites areas

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

is there a reason for this?

Dr. David :

it is from the laser therapy taking away some small areas of your own pigments.

Dr. David :

but it doesn't take away 100% of your melanin.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

is pigment and melanin not the same thing

Dr. David :

melanin is the pigment in your skin which gives you darker color.

Dr. David :

but having small white areas doesn't mean there is no melanin in those areas.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

is melanin your natural protection from the sun?

Dr. David :

it is part of it.

Dr. David :

but you still have melanin in those white areas.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

you sure Dr. David

Dr. David :

yes, I am sure.

Dr. David :

i am a cancer doctor.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Thank you.

Dr. David :

you are welcome

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

one more question

Dr. David :

don't forget to leave positive feedback below when done.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

last time I went on holiday

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

before I ever got laser tattoo removal

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

I got burnt

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

because I didn't use any protection

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

and I remember the whole of my face going red and then going hard

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

like a extra layer of hard skin then it peeled off over the days

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

was that dangerous that my skin burned?

Dr. David :

yes, skin burns are not good for your skin.

Dr. David :

but your skin heals

Dr. David :

one sun burn does not cause skin cancer.

Dr. David :

you just have to continue to protect your skin with time

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

ok

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

but getting back to the white areas cause by the laser tattoo removal.

Dr. David :

ok

Dr. David :

what other questions do you have?

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

have I still got melanin in the white areas?

Dr. David :

yes.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

so have I got natural protection against the sun in those white areas like the rest of my skin

Dr. David :

it may not be as much as the rest of your skin

Dr. David :

but it does have some melanin in it.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

are you 100% sure that I do have melanin in those white areas?

Dr. David :

yes.

Dr. David :

I am sure.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

are you 100% sure that I do have melanin in those white areas caused by the laser tattoo removal?

Dr. David :

yes, I am sure.

Dr. David :

I have told you

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

ok

Dr. David :

it is impossible to remove all melanin from your skin

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

thank you Dr. David

Dr. David :

you are not albino in that area.

Dr. David :

you are welcome

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

I have another question

Dr. David :

don't forget to leave positive feedback below.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

I have another question Dr. David

Dr. David :

please leave positive feedback below

Dr. David :

and start a new question for me

Dr. David :

http://www.justanswer.com/medical/expert-dr-david/

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

I just want to know have I got a increased risk of skin cancer?

Dr. David :

not if you protect your skin and don't get any more sun burns.

Dr. David :

you will be fine.

Dr. David :

if you are going to be outdoors for a long time, you need to use sunscreen

Dr. David :

just like everyone else.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

yes I understand. But because of my white areas has that increased my risk skin cancer

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Dr David?

Dr. David :

no, those white areas have not increased your risks for skin cancer .

Dr. David :

your body will make more melanin in those areas over time

Dr. David :

and the pale area will get better with time.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

so the white areas caused by the tattoo removal have not increased my risk of skin cancer due to lack of melanin in those areas?

Dr. David :

no, it has not.

Dr. David :

I have told you this before

Dr. David :

there is still melanin in those areas.

Dr. David :

and in time, your body will produce more.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Ok thank you Dr. David

Dr. David :

it seems like you have some serious anxiety issues about developing skin cancer.

Dr. David :

you need to talk to your doctor about these anxieties you are having

Dr. David :

and get some treatment for your excessive anixety

Dr. David :

and talk to a counselor regularly

Dr. David :

or therapist about your anxiety.

JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

Thank you for your help

Dr. David :

you are welcome

Dr. David :

don't forget to leave positive feedback below.

Dr. David :

that is how we get credit for helping clients.

Dr. David :

thanks for using JustAnswer.com

Dr. David :

thanks.


JACUSTOMER-mge6h4z6- :

I have another question

Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 43490
Experience: Board Certified Physician
Dr. David and 3 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
thanks for your photo

I bet you are still worried about those white spots on the area you are getting your tattoo removed.

you don't have to worry about skin cancer in those areas.

you still have pigment in your skin.

you will not get skin cancer in those areas

just protect the area with long sleeve shirts when out for long periods in the sun.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Dr. David,

I just wanted you to see the white areas after I got a tattoo done over those areas you can still see those white areas even though i got a tattoo over those white areas, can you see those white areas? and you say to protect those areas with a long sleeve shirt but do i need to because you did say i have natural protection from the sun in those white areas.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
I see those white areas.

no one can have 100% protection from the sun.

everyone can get sun burn. even african americans can get sun burn.

if you are going to be out in the sun for a long long time for several hours, everyone needs to protect their skin from the sun.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Is there a reason why you can still see the white areas through the tattoo because i got a tattoo done again to cover the white areas but i can still see them.

I sent you five images in total did you get them all.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
yes, I got the images

getting a tattoo does not just automatically protect your skin from sun damage.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I thought that getting the tattoo done over it will cover up the white areas so you wont be able to see them but i can still see them.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
you are not having correct ideas about skin pigmentation and skin protection from the sun.

you should not be getting tattoos just to cover up white areas previously treated to remove a tattoo.

getting a tattoo will not help protect your skin from sun damage.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I thought that the ink would cover up the white areas so you cannot see them but the white areas still come through. I know a tattoo does not offer any protection but just from a visual point of view to get rid of the white areas i though a tattoo would cover the white areas.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
no, a tattoo would not cover up the white areas.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Why is this?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
because tattoos and lazer skin tattoo removal effect different layers of the skin pigements.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Does this mean the ink will not take to the skin in the effected areas

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
the ink is placed in the upper lays of the skin.

laser tattoo removal can remove pigments in the upper and lower layers of the skin.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dr. David,

My Dad is Indian My Mum is Turkish Cypriot. So i am half Indian half Turkish Cypriot and with my white areas on both arms which i have sent you pictures of what would you say my risk of skin cancer is?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
that depends on how much you stay out in the sun

and how often you protect your skin when you are out for long periods of time in the sun.

you can decrease your chances of skin cancer by protecting your skin with long sleeve clothes and using sun screen.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dr. David,

Thank you for your reply. I understand what you are saying. But i just would like to know my risk as it is with the information I have provided you about my white areas, has the white areas on both of my arms effected my risk of skin cancer.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
no, those white areas are not increasing your risks for skin cancer
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank for you for your reply Dr. David

Ok. I thought due to having no skin color in those areas i thought i am at a increased risk of skin cancer. Because i have white areas on both arms.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
yes, we have talked about that before

you are not at increased risk

it sounds like you really have this phobia and anxiety about skin cancer.

you should talk to your doctor about these anxieties.
you might need to see a therapist about them
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok doctor. Thank you for your information. I have one more question

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
sure.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

is factor 4 sun lotion good for protection against the sun

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
you need a SPF suncreen of 30 or higher to help protect your skin.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I went away last week and it was hot i got burnt because i was not using sunscreen and then went to the shop during holiday and bought factor 4 sunscreen.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
you need something stronger

like SFP 30 or 50
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Does factor 4 offer no protection?

And have i got a increased risk of skin cancer because i burned because i was not using any sunscreen.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
it offers only minimal protection.

you would be better with a stronger SPF

the more times you get sun burn and the more time you stay in the sun without sun protection, you increase your risks for future skin cancer.

one sun burn doesn't guarantee skin cancer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

How much does your risk of skin cancer increase when you get burnt and stay in the sun?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
that is unknown

we don't know how much your risks are increased by just one mild sunburn.

there are many different grades of sunburn.

you can read more here

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/skin/page5
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok I understand. My sunburn was very bad. It was sore & red. and eventually went hard and formed a layer of skin on top my skin and then started to peel off. It was on my face but also on my body so basically i was burnt all over.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
you need to use stronger sunscreen of SPF of 30-50

and re-apply requently when out in the sun for a long period of time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok I understand. My sunburn was very bad. It was sore & red. and eventually went hard and formed a layer of skin on top my skin and then started to peel off. It was on my face but also on my body so basically i was burnt all over.

Would this of effected my risk of skin cancer.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
any sunburn can slightly increase your risks for future skin cancers

but it does not guarantee that you will get skin cancer.
Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 43490
Experience: Board Certified Physician
Dr. David and 3 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Dr. David,

A while ago I went to go see a dermatologist about my hypopigmentation white areas on my skin. As I recall she said I am much more likely to get skin cancer and said 150% more likely to get skin cancer because of my white areas . What does this mean?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
I am not sure what that means.

I really don't agree with those statistics.

did you ask her what that means?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Dr. David,

I replied back to her and asked her to explain and she replied back saying 'Relative risks are not absolute estimates and are applied to skin colours and types as a whole.'

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
I am not sure what she means by that.

there really has never been large studies which show that tattoos or removal of tattoos in an area increases your risks for skin cancer

you can read more here

http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/ask-the-experts/are-there-skin-risks-associated-with-tattoos
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

but my pigment has gone from my skin in the areas i had tattoo removal

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
not all of your pigment is gone

your pigment will come back in that area.

you have to protect the area with sun screen

and avoid sun burns

from your questions, you have a real fear and phobia of skin cancer

getting a tattoo will not help protect you from skin cancer.

are you on treatment for excessive anxiety?

have you talked to a psychotherapist about your fears of skin cancer?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Are you saying to protect that area because I am more likely to get skin cancer? have I got less natural protection from the sun in that area?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
you should protect all of your skin when you go into the sun for long periods of time

all of your skin is at risk for skin cancer if you continue to get sun burns
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I sent you 5 images of my skin were I had laser tattoo removal but i had more laser tattoo removal after that so you have not seen the the most up to date pictures of my skin and now I have them covered up. I am worried that because i have not shown you the most up to date pictures of when i finished my laser tattoo removal that you didn't see all my white areas i ended up with, so this would effect what your telling me in terms of my skin cancer risk

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
no, this would not affect what I am telling you.

you still have to protect all of your skin with sun screen when you are going out into the sun for prolonged periods of time
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

but I might be at higher risk than you think?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
the more sun burns you have the higher your risks.

you keep focusing on this hypopigmentation area.

it seems like you are too obscessed over this

you just need to use sun screen on the area if you are out in the sun for long periods of time and you will be fine

and avoid sun burns like you got the other day.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So is my white areas not a risk factor?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
no, it is not a risk factor.

but you have to protect that area just like other areas in your body.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

but those white areas still do not have the same natural protection as the rest of my skin?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
if you keep thinking you have "natural protection" in the rest of your skin and you don't use sun screen and you keep getting sun burns on your other parts of your skin, you will get a skin cancer elsewhere on your skin not in the tattoo area.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I understand but i just would like to know about natural protection. because i feel depressed that i have ruined by bodies natural defenses.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
you have not ruined your body's protection

you still have some pigmentation in the skin.

the tattoo removal did not make you an albino in the area.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

You say I have pigmentation left in the skin but my skin is white in those areas I had laser tattoo removal?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
it looks white

but you still have pigment in your skin in those areas.

not all of your pigment has bee removed.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dr. David

So it does not matter how many whites areas (Hypopigmentation) I have, does my risk of skin cancer increase with the number of white areas i have?

If my whole body was covered with these white areas (Hypopigmentation) from laser tattoo removal would my risk of skin cancer increase?

How comes it looks like I have no pigment and is white in those areas but you say i still have pigment there?

So has laser tattoo removal have the ability to remove all your pigment?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
if you had lazer pigment removal of your whole body, that would affect your skin cancer risk. but you just had laser removal of a tattoo in your arm. so that is not such a large area.

there is still pigment in your arm you can't see

laser removal will not remove all pigment in your arm. you still have pigment in the lighter colored areas.

but you still have to protect your skin from sun damage.

any of your skin can get damaged by the sun
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Not just one arm Dr. David, remember both of my arms I have white areas.

50% of each arm is white (Hypopigmentaion) I had laser tattoo removal on both arms. Do you agree?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
yes, I agree.

you don't have to stress about skin cancer

but you do have to protect all of your skin and avoid sun burns.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So would that not be a large area, 50% of both my arms have no pigment is that not enough reason to be concerned you said if my whole body did not have pigment due to laser tattoo removal and that increased my risk of skin cancer than surely what I have which is no pigment on 50% of both my arms would increase my risk?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
those areas still have some pigment in them.

they are not completely void of pigment.

I am not concerned

but you seem to be overly concerned and focused on skin cancer risk here.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dr. David,

I understand what you are saying but how can you be so sure that I have pigment still in those areas because it appears white with no pigment at all.

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
because laser tattoo removal does not remove 100% of the pigment.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dr. David,

Are you 100% sure, how do you know this?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
because I have studied medicine and cells and melanocytes

it seems like your anxiety is bad on this

and what ever I say doesn't seem to reassure you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dr. David,

So in the areas that appear white how much less pigment have I got compared to my normal skin.

How much less natural protection in the white areas do i have compared to my normal skin?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dr. David,

So in the areas that appear white how much less pigment have I got compared to my normal skin.

How much less natural protection in the white areas do i have compared to my normal skin?

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