By Gary M. White, MD

Traumatic tattoo
Gravel tattoo. A man fell and his forehead hit the concrete. This is the result upon healing.

Various foreign material may deposit in the skin after trauma.


A blue-gray discoloration at the site of injury is most common.


Traumatic tattoos (e.g. impact with a blacktop or gunpowder granules) are effectively treated with the Q-Switched ruby laser (694 nm). The ablative fractional CO2 laser is a second-line treatment option [J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2014 Dec;16(6):303-5]. Irreversible darkening of the tattoo requiring excision has occurred during the treatment with some lasers.

Additional Pictures

Gunpowder tattoo from a GSW at close range.
Traumatic tattoo from a gunshot wound


Fireworks explosion. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2015;81:279


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