Full Arm, Light Lines Tattoo - Boston, MA

I recently began to outline a full sleeve tattoo. ...

I recently began to outline a full sleeve tattoo. The first session included laying out ravens around my arm (for the most part the artist I went to uses very few dark lines so this was all done with 'gray lines' which basically look like pen marks.) The second session included added some background filler which were basically flowing lines throughout. He begin to fill in a few of these by my wrist and then filled in one bird silhouette completely black. It was at this point I realized how much I disliked the current work and feared proceeding.

I panicked. Spent the next two days on my couch wondering what to do. Contacted other artists about possible reworking the design. I had good feedback on a rework because the lines are so light. I also met with a laser technician (Carmen Vanderheiden of TatAway) about removal options. After weighing both of these options I think I need to commit myself to a year of laser treatment and then possibly consider reworking of the areas that will likely not be removed (the dark silhouette most notably)

I'm attaching some pictures of what currently exists. Does anyone have experience with removing lines this thin? Do you think it's realistic that after 10 sessions (I will be signing up for a membership package that means paying 250/month) the majority of this will be mostly gone?

I'm anxious to begin this process. I know that treating my entire arm is going to be an extremely painful process but I don't see another option for the sake of my mental health.

Some other factors : these outlines are new. About 2 months old. I've heard different things about old vs. new tattoo removal success. I am 25 and active and my skin tone is fairly light.

What do you think I should realistically expect from this time next year?

Anticipating 1st session

I'm having my first laser treatment on tuesday. I've become incredibly anxious and nervous in the days leading up to the start of this process.

What should I have on hand as far as aftercare? What should I expect the following day/days?

First Session

Survived day one of PicoSure treatment!
Iced up for about 20 minutes and then was able to have my entire arm treated. Darker area has already blistered but the rest of the lines just look red from now. Here's a photo during the session.... I'll update more as things heal.

Red lines?

Question for you all.... Shortly after treatment many of the lines that were once black turned bright red. As in... The ink almost seemed to turn from black to red in some areas. From previous photos I've seen I though this would go back to skin tone pretty quickly. But two days later these lines all remain completely red. Is this normal? Has anyone experienced this?

10 days after first treatment...

I've been getting requests for updates regarding being treated with the PicoSure so I'll make a quick post earlier than expected...

The fading so far seems to be going well. I'm mostly noticing a difference where I had shading. A lot of the ink from those sections has already faded and now the skin is mostly just red and peeling. I feel like I won't know the extent of fading until more of the redness begins to disappear over the next few weeks.

A lot of the thin black lines I had turned bright red in the few days after treatment and now appear to be a light pink or brown. I'm not sure if they will remain this color until after the next treatment or if they'll just fade out.

The skin damage was a bit more than I was expecting but it has begun to finally heal and I'm hoping for the best and trying to stay positive.
Carmen Vanderheiden

Carmen Vanderheiden at TatAway has been amazing, open and calming throughout this process. I initial reached out to her in absolute panic about my situation via email (as I was too nervous to even go to the office and cancelled my first consult) and she was nothing but positive and assuring. I have since met for a consult where she clearly laid out the process, offered a reasonably payment plan and allowed me time to think over my decision. I'm still nervous about this entire experience. But I truly believe Carmen has my best interest at mind and that's all I can ask for.

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how long after getting your tattoo did you wait to start removal?
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Hey there, just checking in to see how you are making out with our treatments, have you seen some additional fading?


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Update?
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How has the healing been going for you thus far?
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Amazing fading so far! Can't wait to see the results. I am looking into getting Pico done as well.
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we could have a picture at this time of healing? you can play sports? thank you very much for your story
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Great results!!
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We just got a PicoSure laser in Central Florida! Woohoo! PLEASE keep us updated on progress and pictures! I'm strongly considering trying it out.
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I'll be sure to do so. It's only been about a week so things are still healing. But I'll be taking photos before every session to post here. The next for me is June 25th so I'll have updates posted prior the that.
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Hi! I can ask you how much do you pay for your tattoo removal? thank you!!!
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Yes, I have red lines too where the lines completely disappeared.
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Really? That's good to hear. The red lines have been making me nervous. Did they tell you how long to expect the red would stay for?
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No. I haven't asked my dermatologist about them. What I have noticed is that it crusts over and eventually falls off. Then the skin underneath looks pink or pale. This is the new skin regenerating. I think we may be the first on this site to have treatment with the pico so let's keep in touch!
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I had my first treatment last week with picosure. I'm concerned because it didn't turn white like I had heard it would? It's blistered, but I'm wondering if the machine wasn't turned up high enough? I know I have to be patient, but the whole thing is making me anxious. I guess I was expecting too much right out of the gate! so great to read stories on here. It's such a great resource!
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I don't know if the picosure laser causes the white residue which is the oxygenation of the ink's reaction from the q-switch laser.  The laser blasts the ink which causes fuzzy bubbles and they rise to the surface of the skin.  If the laser was directed at inkfree skin there would be no pop sound or white bubbles.  The picosure works differently.  Here is the link http://www.cynosure.com/products/picosure/picosure-howitworks.php#  perhaps it'll help explain more.  I have not had the picosure technique done, it's on another island and is still new so I'm waiting until next year.  In the meantime I'm having the R20 technique (multiple passes with breaks in between) and the white residue only happens on the first pass not the subsequent passes.  I think you're very fortunate to have the picosure available to you, it's being labelled as the Cadillac of laser techniques and the outlook for removal is very promising.  Thanks for the update and question, it really helps us all see the possibilities of removal which is very important.  aloha...k
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I'm about to have PicoSure treatment performed on an all black tattoo as well. Thank you for sharing your progress and information. I hope you post as often as you can with progress. Very little actual patient feedback is out there about PicoSure right now.
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I think it's wonderful that you have the option to go and have the picosure done but to what your recovery will be like, you're a pioneer on this one.  I would consult with the clinic where you go, they'll be able to answer: as you say in your review of the clinic "Carmen has my best interest in mind and that's all I can ask for".  The picosure is so new, I think you're the first to have it here on this forum, the first I've heard of anyone having it.  Good Luck and keep us posted.  We're all rooting for you.  aloha...k
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It's a tricky situation to be in. I feel fortunate to be able to be treated with this laser, but not having any reference is difficult. I'm hoping the red lines will run their course like a sunburn and eventually fade to skin tone. Lets hope for the best.
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Hello, im in the same boat treating a black and grey tattoo, I just competed my 3rd session if you have any questions feel free to ask, I also have a lot of info on my page about thing that I have found that have helped my healing process… Best of luck and stay positive!!
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Wow.... The pico really does render all other lasers obsolete. I blistered a lot too after recieving treatment, but I've been seeing phenomenal results. Your tattoo looks like it'll be gone. Hopefully you just have Togo back for a touch up! How many sessions did they say you will need? My doctor said 2-3 more for the outline on my back and a small tattoo on my thigh.
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I have some crazy blistering happening currently. They're predicting that the light lines may actually be gone by the next session. The darker section (one silhouette on the back of my elbow was filled in black) may take up to 6. Currently all the line work has turned red which is sort of concerning. I'm hoping it starts to fade back to skin tone soon.
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congrats, don't worry, you will do fine! Have polysporin and extra bandaging as you will need to change it at least twice a day. Good Luck!
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Ufff u are very lucky and as long as they treat you on the right setting and give yourself time, yours will fade completely! They are grey, I feel jealous.
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