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Unlike many stories I've heard I actually spent a...

Unlike many stories I've heard I actually spent a lot of time thinking about my tattoo. After my first Ironman competition I looked so forward to getting it that I walked into the first tattoo place I heard of and said 'let's do this!' The artist took my scale print out and made a stencil. When he showed it to me I asked "is that how it will look?" and he told me it would look just like my print. He then made the copy on the area and it didn't quite look right but he told me again "it will look just like your print". Go figure that when the deed was done I could tell immediately that it was not 'just like the print! The tattoo is meant to read MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO meaning a Sound Mind in a Strong Body from my history playing sports in college and after but now it only seems ironic because I feel I have damaged my body and it has only served to make me uncomfortable.

A bad tattoo job feels kind of like a shirt you buy from the store that maybe is what you wanted, but not quite in your size, and now you're forced to wear it forever. I spent a good while trying to like it but every time I would see another person's tattoo, in crisp text, I would feel worse about it. Finally I started shopping around for a laser removal service. I visited multiple clinics and found a large spectrum of services and prices. At the high end was a dermatologist group charging $350/session on a 3 square inch area. The consolation was $100 and there were 3 laser technicians in the room as well as an intern. The low end was $50/session is a plain white office where the technician promised me to have it 70% removed in the first session with no scaring! (I later found out from the dermatologist group that the laser they were offering at the low end place was crap). Somewhere in the middle was a local skin center, recommended by a tattoo friend of mine, offering treatments at $75/session which I eventually settled on. The irony is that if I had only put 10% of the effort into the tattoo that I put into the removal I wouldn't be in this mess.

So far I have had 3 sessions. Some of the ink has come off from letters but most of it remains. The laser being used is the HOYA ConBio™ MedLite® C6 aesthetic medical laser. I know that the treatments are "painful" but I imagine people can relate that if it will end the mental anguish a little bit of pain is worth it. Recovery has been good, some bleeding and blistering, but it seems to be going like most of the reviews I have heard. I am concerned that eventually when the ink is gone, if that day ever comes, the underneath will be replaced with white scaring in the outline of the tattoo. My original plan was to laser the tattoo until it is faded enough to decide if I should continue until it is gone or attempt to touch it up. Any input on this would be appreciated...

I spent the day at the beach and noticed so many tattoos. Makes me feel bumbed that I didn't get what I wanted and have to go through with all this. I'd like to think however that I am at least headed in the right direction.

Southgate Medical Group

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DavTat, is the $750 per session or total estimated cost of removal?
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Hey there :) Curious to see how you are progressing with your removal, any update for us?


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How does non-laser tattoo removal work?
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I just looked at your after photos and theirbis not much fading. I will post some photos of before an after 1 treatment....
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I would love to know where you are going for your treatments. I have been to Rochester for 8 treatments. Your results look great compared to mine. Could I get the name of where you are going?
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Quite honestly I would wait until October or even late November to continue the treatments since the tattoo is in an area that is often exposed to the sun. The heat and especially the UV rays from the sun increase the possibility of side effects. I'm planning on doing treatments during the winter and putting them on hold for the summer. Remember that your lymphatic system continues to clear the ink for up to 6 months after a laser session. For example you could probably clear your tattoo with like 5-7 total session if you spread them out 6 months apart for example. But of course that would be pretty crazy. I want my tattoo gone as quick as possible but I do believe in doing it the smart and calculated way since I already made the mistake of getting the tattoo in the first place. Remember that UV rays do penetrate bandages and clothing as well (to a lesser extent obviously) so always apply 50+ SPF sunscreen even if you have a bandage on.

As for the second question, I know that lasers can treat hypo-pigmentation and scars with the same laser that is used for tattoo removal as long as the settings are changed (wavelength, frequency etc.) but in all honesty I would shy away for it for the moment unless it is bothering you to such an extent. No where can guarantee actual results and you might just be left with a worse scar. If you do consider treating the scar, I would recommend visiting a renowned dermatologist that will probably have more appropriate lasers for those kinds of treatments. In my opinion most (not all) dermatologist are not very good when it comes to laser tattoo removal because they purchase a laser that is appropriate to perform several treatments. Instead a tattoo removal center will most likely only purchase a laser that is best at removing tattoos.

If you have any other question, I'd be more than happy to answer them.
Michael
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Thank you so much Michael for your insight. With the 4th coming up and all the outdoor training I do I was considering pushing off sessions for the summer but then realized with potentially a year left of treatments I may as well commit to the process so ive decided to just cover it with a bandaid when out in the sun for this summer at least.

I do have a question if you have any insight. I have some scaring on my shin from soccer, some hypopigmentation and some pink color but no raised scar tissue. The technician said she could treat it with the same laser, sounds fishy to me. Any insight??
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I actually believe that your removal is going extremely well. i can't notice any signs of hypo-pigmentation and the tattoo has faded significantly. For complete removal you will need at least another 5-7 sessions in my opinion becase the tattoo is so so fresh and therefore extremely dense. If I can tell correctly from the photo, the tattoo is on your forearm and thus is considered a distal extremity. There isn't great lymph flow in that area but it's not the end of the world. It will just take a couple extra treatments as opposed to a tattoo on your upper trunk, close to your heart. Don't worry, I am on the same boat. I got my first tattoo 3 months ago on my calf and am getting it removed in 2 months. You live and learn.

As far as the Medlite C6 goes, it is one of the most solid machines on the market. Hoya ConBio uses a photo-acoustic technology to break up the ink and to leave the epidermis intact.If that is the laser they're using, you're in good shape. Its successor, the Revlite (possibly the one they had when the C6 broke) is also a superb laser. It is 60% more powerful than the C6 but the results turn out to be extremely similar.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask.

Michael
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Thanks Tena!! I am hopefully, just think it will take time. Are you taking a break with treatments through the summer?? I do a lot of swimming so I don't know if its worth it. I'm just covering it up with a bandage for now. Yours seems harder to cover up though.
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I don't plan on taking any breaks as long as I can afford it. I am not a big swimmer and I don't seem to spend excessive time in the sun so I don't think I will have any problems. As for you, I think you should ask your laser technician. I assume they will just tell you to wait at least a week or two after treatment and make sure to cover it and use sunscreen. Good luck! I look forward to reading updates.
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Thanks Tena G for sharing your thoughts on that. Her info is probably better than mine, as I'm not familiar with the specific differences with the lasers.

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tattoo* sorry!
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I think your tatto looks very faded after 3 treatments. I also am removing dark dark black lettering and it's going very slow. You have to really look close at your tattoo to see how faded it is. As a whole, mine looks kind of all together, but when you look up close you can see all the areas that are gone. I think you should look at yours in the same light because I can see all the spots that are gone/very faded.
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Thank you Megan. I think ill go a little farther but appreciate your comment. Are you familiar with the MedLite laser?? I believe it is a q-switch which is apparently the best available. I trust the technicans skills but question the laser since there's so much ink after 3 treatments.
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This is probably going to sound crazy to you, but I like the way it looks right now, after the 3rd treatment. I think the little bit of fading gives the letters more character & makes it look intentional. I guess to me it also goes with the message, as who really arrives at a Sound Mind in a Strong Body without a little battering and bruising along the way? If you want to continue with the full removal I fully understand, but I say rock it how it is & be proud of yourself for completing those Ironman competitions!!

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