Speaking from experience – follow Katty’s Tattoo Removal Journey!

Treatment 1 – posted on 1 March 2016
Treatment 2 – posted on 20 March 2016
Treatment 3 – posted on 14 May 2016

Hello my name is Katty and I am a client at Unblemished Skin & Laser Clinic.  I would like to share my journal with you all of my thoughts, feelings and the actual process of having my tattoo removed.  Let my journey to become a clean skin begin!

Commencing my tattoo laser removal has been quite some time in the making. In 2012 I decided I wanted a cross tattoo on my inner forearm. Went to tattoo studio. Got the tattoo. Instantly loathed it. It was nothing to do with the design, nor the tattooist (who is a very good one at that). The design looked very nice on paper I must say, but I just didn’t like the tattoo on my arm, which is kind of the important part. The cross was about 10 x 5 cm, so it was fairly sizey. After feeling sorry for myself for around a week after getting it, I started to think, right, what can I do to fix this? Instead of thinking of something logical like, I don’t know, getting it removed immediately, I thought I had the best solution ever. Just get a full sleeve tattoo to try and hide it. Yep.

For some reason, tattoo removal didn’t even come to mind. I thought I was doomed and that the only way to fix it was to try and blend it in with another larger tattoo. I’m not going to bore you with my entire story of woe. Let me just say, I put very little thought into the cover-up design. Before I knew it, I had a full sleeve with bits and pieces of different things that just didn’t really go well together.  Too many themes, and the tattoo ended up being very heavy for the most part (and I only ever wanted lighter looking tattoos). This led to several years of trying to convince myself that the tattoo was nice.

There are elements to the sleeve that I really like. But it is the inner forearm in particular that I can’t learn to like. I will be removing the ink from both inner and outer forearm, but for the purposes of this blog, I am just going to take you on my inner arm’s journey to cleanliness.  The ink here is very heavy with heaps of black and it has become a real psychological issue. Being so conscious of it all the time, I would hold my arm in positions to try and keep it out of peoples’ view, and I mostly only now buy long sleeve tops for going out.  In the end, I stopped trying to like it, was honest with myself and decided it was coming off. That was when I contacted Sue at Unblemished.

I was pretty nervous coming in for the first time, but Sue made me feel very comfortable. Sue assessed my skin and we talked time frames.  6 weeks minimum will pass between each treatment on this area. Unblemished has a Medical grade Laser for tattoo removal and believe me it really does matter – it is a very highly powered laser that makes treatment sessions very quick. We did a spot check to see how my skin reacted. Hurt a bit, but all was well.  I then booked in for my first treatment 1 week later.

Treatment 1

1 hour prior to my first treatment, I applied the numbing cream. I made the mistake of following the instructions and applying it sparingly. Whoever decided it should be applied sparingly is insane. TIP!!!!!  Apply that cream like it is going out of fashion. I repeat. Apply that cream like it is going out of fashion.

I donned the very fashionable goggles, gripped the stress balls, held my breath and let Sue fire away. The pain was immense (especially being the inner arm where it is quite sensitive), but it was over quite quickly. No more than 1.5 mins only for such a large area. I’m glad now that I know exactly what to expect each time. Did I mention to smother the numbing cream on? Smother the numbing cream on.

Because the inner forearm is so sensitive, there was quite a bit of swelling for about 2-3 days after the treatment. It was still quite sensitive for around 2 weeks after the treatment (as opposed to the outer forearm, which did not swell at all and did not remain sensitive post treatment).

Before and After at 3 weeks post treatment 1

Sue is targeting the black ink first. You can see a noticeable difference after only 3 weeks of fading. Hopefully it continues! 🙂

3 weeks post treatment inner forearm

Treatment 2

Seeing some really great results from my first treatment has been really heartening. It is nice to know that the pain and expense is looking like it is indeed going to be worth it!

Going in for my second treatment, I knew exactly what to expect pain wise, so that helped.  The good thing is that it is over much more quickly than getting a tatt. I have been asked if the experience of having a tattoo removed is worse than getting the tatt in the first place. It comes down to weighing up pain vs time. I would have to say that the pain itself is worse (on some parts) while under the laser. However, the fact that it is over much more quickly than getting a tatt gives it brownie points.  I am just as much at the end of my tether after 3 hrs in a tattoo studio than what I am after a couple of minutes under the laser! On the other hand, it isn’t as bad on my outer arm than on my inner arm.

Having said all that. Good news! I came to realise during my second treatment that the less ink present = the less pain experienced (touch wood). In the lighter shaded areas of my wrist, I did not feel much. The crazy pain seems to occur in areas of dense ink. Check out the below photo of my arm immediately after treatment 2 (doesn’t it look sore!!). Look at the flower at the very top. Notice the raised frosting effect. I believe this is because it is the first time this area has been touched by the laser, and therefore has a stack of black ink (remember Sue is targeting the black ink at the moment). This seems to be what causes the most amount of pain. Lots of ink and virgin skin! Compare this flower to the other flowers and the light shaded areas at the bottom of my wrist which have already been zapped, and therefore have less ink. No bubble effect there! Yet immediately after the first treatment, the entire targeted area was raised. The bubbly look only lasts a short while and then settles down.

Immediately after treatment 2

2016-03-02 17.43.52

And here is a running comparison for my inner forearm so far

2016-03-20 13.12.17

Getting there! I’m due for another treatment tomorrow on my outer arm which is also coming along nicely 🙂

Until next time!!

Treatment 3

My arm didn’t seem to swell as much after the third treatment which I found interesting. Apparently the reaction can be a little different each time.  Here is a comparison between treatment 2 and treatment 3. As you can see the black around the wrist is so light you can barely see it. You’ll notice that there is still lots of colour – that is because we haven’t yet started to target the colour here yet.

imageHowever, we have blasted some colour on my outer arm already. I have some green on my outer arm, which is the most difficult colour to remove. The red has faded significantly after only 2 treatments. Red seems to react quite a bit differently to the other colours in the sense that the skin goes a bit dry, but a few days of bepanthen sorts it out.

  • Chelsea - Hi!

    I have my first session this Saturday! I just saw your blog and your tattoo has faded nicely so far! Right now I am stressing badly about the pain. My tattoo is large like yours 12 X 1. I live in Calgary though and am going to a different laser facility. Its a script tattoo vertical down my side! Do you feel the pain is worth the tattoo getting removed? The pain is the only thing stopping me at this moment!!

    Thanks for creating this!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Chelsea, How is your progress going on your tattoo?ReplyCancel

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