My Tattoo Removal Story
Bzzz... Tattoo! Zap: No Tattoo
Why I wanted to remove my tattoo.
Jimmy Buffett could not have said it better: "It's a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling." My tattoo removal nurse told me about this lovely quote the last time I went in for a session to have my tattoo removed.
That session was pretty much the first time someone had seen my tattoo and not asked what it said. It was refreshing. I had gotten used to strangers touching my shoulder and asking me what it said, and I really did not want that anymore. I really didn't want this permanent reminder of fleeting, temporary feelings from college anymore.
Why I chose laser removal.
I did as much research as the next person and decided not to try any tattoo removal creams and also decided not to use the laser tattoo shop on the shady side of town. I opted for a suggestion from a friend. She had a very colorful sleeve of a lucky cat that had been substantially faded via laser tattoo removal. Perfect! I was sold.
How many laser treatments it took to remove my tattoo.
I started off by purchasing six laser treatments. My nurse told me that it shouldn't take more than nine to remove my tattoo. She even said that it was better that it was only black ink. The only problem I might have experienced was that because my tattoo was still fairly new (2 years old), it might have been harder to remove (i.e. require more treatments). This detail was not enough to deter me. The cost hurt a little, but not as much as the treatments. Six treatments = $620. Charge it!
The Steps of the Laser Tattoo Removal Process
- Ice: I had to prepare for the excruciating pain. The first thing I had to do was ice down the tattoo with a plain ice pack. This took about 5 minutes. Then I put on the grand-daddy of all ice packs because apparently, ice gets colder. This ice pack made the fluid under my skin feel like it was crystallizing. It was like bits of glass formed and had a party underneath my skin. I'm positive that if this ice pack stayed on any longer, the nurse would be able to chip away the tattoo along with half of my shoulder.
- The Lasering Process: The nurse then handed me a really awesome hybrid pair of sunglasses/goggles (sunoggles?) and started lasering away. Now, before I go into what it felt like, I should explain the process (in the most basic form). The laser specifically targets and breaks up the ink particles underneath the skin. After the procedure, the body takes those bits and pieces away via your lymphatic system (umm, your fluid system). So, theoretically, you are left with clean, un-tatted skin.
- The Pain: Now, the part you've been waiting for: The pain. Oh, the pain. As the laser went off, I heard each pulse zapping, saw the bright light pulsing, felt the laser piercing into my skin, and smelled the skin burning. Yes. The smell of skin burning. In parts, the skin was still extremely numb from the super ice. In other parts, the laser felt like a small, thin dagger dripping with acid being pierced into my skin every time it pulsed. BUT! It was over in a flash! (Ba-dum-tsh!) Afterwards, the nurse put ointment over the area and covered it with gauze.
- After the Laser: By the time I got home, the tattoo was dripping in blood (please see the picture at the top of this article) and throbbing in pain. By the end of the first week, my skin already started looking normal and the tattoo started going away—not fully, but a bit. After four weeks, I went to my next appointment. No pain, no gain!
After Treatment #4: All healed, Body Taking the Ink Away
After Treatment #5: A Mostly Scabbed-Over Tattoo
After Treatment #6: Healed and Waiting
After Treatment #7: A Long Time Waiting
After Treatment #8 & #9
Laser Tattoo Removal Poll!
Would you laser off a tattoo?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Winnie*