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Information For Clients With Dark Coloured Skin Tones

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Clients with darker skin tones that contain high levels of the natural skin pigment called Melanin, as indicated by the colour ranges below, should read the information on this page before having Cosmetic Tattooing.

Skin Tones With High Levels of Melanin


Click onto any of the colour squares above
to create a large colour swatch here.

Increasing levels of melanin in skin

Human skin comes in a beautiful range of colours and part of what gives skin its colour are specialised cells within the epidermis called Melanocyte Cells, melanocyte cells produce melanin a brown coloured pigment. No matter what your ethic heritage is all people have melanocyte cells within their skin producing melanin, but people with darker skin tones have more melanocyte cells that are more active producing more melanin so their skin can have a variety of shades from light tans through to very dark browns/black.

Q: What does this have to do with Cosmetic Tattooing?

A: Clients who have darker skin tones may be more susceptible to a condition called Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation or PIH for short. Clients who have or may develop PIH have hyperreactive melanocyte cells in their skin and if their skin experiences any form of irritation their melanocyte cells may be stimulated to produce more melanin.

Q: So what will happen if a person who has PIH has Cosmetic Tattooing

A: The tattooed skin may produce melanin and become darker in colour (grey, blue, brown or black) and the tattoo pigment may be patchy or may be hidden by the melanin and not be visible at all.

Q: Who is most likely to have PIH?

A: Potentially a person from any ethnic background can have PIH but people with darker skin tones are more susceptible simply because they have more melanocyte cells that are more active and people from Africa, Asia, Latin, and indigenous Indian backgrounds are the most susceptible.

Q: How do I know if I have PIH?

A: If you already have spots or patches of darkened discolouration on your skin from previous irritation to the skin from things such as acne, skin rashes or infections, cuts or abrasions to the skin etc, or if you have any scars that became darker in colour than the surrounding skin. If you have these types of skin discolouration then you may have PIH.

Q: Does PIH go away?

A: It depends on where the melanin is deposited in the skin, if it is deposited in the upper layer of skin the epidermis then sometimes the increased pigmentation will fade over time much like a sun tan can fade, but if the melanin is deposited into the lower layer of the dermis then it may remain darker in colour.

Q: Are there treatments for PIH?

A: There are a variety of treatments for PIH but most are irritating to the skin and are probably unsuitable for the facial areas where cosmetic tattooing is usually applied.

Q: If I already have signs of PIH skin patches should I have Cosmetic Tattooing?

A: That would depend upon the reason for having Cosmetic Tattooing, if you are trying to camouflage or re-pigment an area of hypo-pigmented skin (area of loss of skin colour) then it may be suitable but I would not recommend it for permanent makeup.

Q: If I have a dark coloured skin tone but I am not sure if I already have signs of or may develop PIH, is there a way of checking before having cosmetic tattooing?

A: You can have existing skin blemishes checked by your doctor to see if they appear to be PIH patches and you can also have a tattoo test patch performed by your tattooist before having a cosmetic tattooing procedure which may give you some indication how your skin may react.

Q: Can anything be done to reduce the chances of PIH occurring after cosmetic tattooing?

A: There are some things that can be done to slightly reduce the risk and these can be discussed with you during your consultation, when making your booking let me know if you have a darker skin tone and you think PIH may affect you.

Q: Where can I find out more information on PIH?

A: Click here to open a Google search.

Q: Are there other things to consider for those with darker coloured skin tones even if they do not have PIH?

A: Yes, different tattoo pigment colours will need to be selected compared to a fair skinned client and some final colours may not be achievable this is simply because the final colour is a mixture of the starting skin colour and the tattoo pigment colour. Also more treatments will be required to achieve the best result possible (usually 3). Click here for more information on pigment colours.

Q: What are Fitzpatrick Skin Types?

A: Fitzpatrick Skin Types is a Classification Scale developed by the late Dr. Thomas B. Fitzpatrick a renowned Dermatologist, you can check your Fitzpatrick Skin Type by clicking here, those with Fitzpatrick Skin types IV-VI may be slightly more prone to PIH than those with types I-III.


If you have more questions or would like further information please contact me.

Kind Regards                       


Andrea Darby - Cosmetic Tattoo Specialist

For an Appointment Phone: 0423 230 740


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