When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light from either the sun or from a tanning bed, your body increases the number of pigment cells in your skin, which are called melanocytes. This does not occur often in Milwaukee as we do not see the sun much. When it does occur, this is what gives you a tan. As a result of the increased number of melanocytes, when you have a laser tattoo treatment, the laser light has a more difficult time differentiating between the tattoo ink pigment and your body’s melanin pigment. This means that your chances of having post-treatment hypopigmentation (lighter skin) is increased if you have recently tanned. You need to also avoid tanning for 4-6 weeks after laser tattoo treatment as the skin will be more sensitive to the light, is more susceptible to injury and will burn more easily. Just like you need to avoid sun exposure when you already have a sunburn, you need to avoid sun exposure for at least a month and use a 25+ sunblock when laser treated skin is in direct sunlight after your treatment.