Abstract

Abstract:

There are limited data about the tattoo removal process in formerly gang-involved and incarcerated people of color. This single center retrospective study was conducted on patients treated at Homeboy Industries' Ya'Stuvo Tattoo Removal Clinic between January 2016–December 2018. It reviewed data on 2,118 tattoos, and a representative sample of 502 patients was used to conduct our analysis. Treatment on 118 of the tattoos (5.57%) resulted in at least one complication (hypo-or hyper-pigmentation, keloids, or scarring). Patients who experienced tattoo removal complications (7.3%) were less likely to return to complete the removal process. More complications were experienced with higher fluences of energy, on tattoos placed by professional artists, on colored tattoos, and tattoos on clients who had a greater number of treatments. The study highlights complications and best practices in tattoo removal in people of color, a process critical to the reintegration and gang disengagement of this vulnerable population.

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