Removing 2 Black Tattoos... Have Scarring :( - Canada

Hello! I have been looking at reviews and posts on...

Hello! I have been looking at reviews and posts on RealSelf for a while now and it has made me feel a lot better about my own situation, which I frequently feel extremely stressed out or depressed about. Thanks everyone for keeping each other hopeful and sharing useful information!

As for me, I am currently removing 2 all black tattoos. Not posting pics as I am really ashamed of them.
- One of them (about 3x3 inches) has been treated 3 times and is fading decently... It has a tiny bit of scar tissue in a few spots within the lines but it is not too noticeable. Hoping to cover this as soon as it becomes feasible/I decide on a new design. Maybe 3-4 more treatments?
- The other one (about 4x2.5 inches) has been treated once and has already developed firm, raised areas that are itchy. I think they are going to be permanent scars, but haven't been back to my laser tech yet so I will see then. It has been 3 weeks since my last treatment. I am really worried because it hasn't visibly faded at all yet and is scarred like this already. I want so much for this one to fade enough that I can get a cover up (maybe 5-6 treatments would do it), but now I'm not sure what to do because of these raised scars. :( It seems like there will just be a hard, raised scar of my tattoo after if I keep at it.

So, I was feeling distracted from the depression of hating my tattoos once I began laser removal, since I thought I was at least on my way to fixing my skin, but now that I have developed scarring I feel horrible. I don't know if I should proceed with treatments on the scarred one now, but I can't get a cover up the way it is (big and black) and I don't want to leave it as is. I asked my laser tech if I should get silicone sheets which I have heard flatten scar tissue, but they told me to wait until I see them in another 3 weeks. I don't know how that would work anyway because the skin is extremely dry right now and I don't think I could use ointment under the silicone sheet (I have been using Polysporin and vitamin E oil). It is hard to just wait it out until my next appointment because it takes over my mind everyday and I feel worried that I am losing time to reverse the scarring. :(

Has anyone experienced raised scarring from laser tattoo removal that flattened out afterwards?
Not sure if I should keep fading it and worry about scar reduction after? All I want is for the scars to flatten out so I can get a cover up, but if the scarring gets even worse then a cover up will look awful. I feel like all my options are bad and keep wishing I could go back in time. :( HELP!

Scarring :(

Ok, I decided to post some pictures of the scarring I am experiencing so you have an idea and also so I can track my progress if it (hopefully) begins to flatten out. The texture is really bumpy and rough looking, like a toad, and feels firm under pressure. There is more scarring in other parts of the tattoo too. This is a little more than 3 weeks after the first treatment. :( UGH! I'm so sad about this. As you can tell, a cover up is not going to look good if the texture remains like this. I am praying that I just reacted poorly and can continue with my laser sessions until I get an adequate fade. Then I hope the scar tissue calms down and flattens out so I can cover it about a year after my last laser session. I am really hating the uncertainty of how my skin is going to react and how much time this is going to take. This whole situation has really shot my confidence and distracts me from other important things. Every time my scarring itches I remember how hideous it is and how badly I want to be at the end of the process (if I can even continue). Do you think the scarring will flatten out given time? Do you think I am just going to make it worse if I go for another session? If my laser tech tells me I am going to scar more if we continue, I have no idea what I will do. :'(

Scar sheets seem to help

Hello! It has now been 7 weeks since my last treatments. I still haven't gone back for another treatment because it has been busy at my work and I don't want to bump or scrape new blisters while moving around. I am going to go at the start of September for #4 on my smaller tattoo and #2 on the large one.

The scarring on my large tattoo has improved for sure. I have been massaging it and wearing silicone scar sheets as often as possible, and now the texture of my skin looks much better. It is less raised now and the scarring is mostly only detectable by touch or in certain lighting. I am confident that with continued use of scar sheets and massaging that the scarring could be totally flat with time.
The problem: I am only 1 treatment in. What if it scars again next time? Maybe the scarring will get worse, or maybe I will develop scarring in other areas, or both! :( I have decided to try it though. I am going to express my concerns and hopefully my laser tech will be able to proceed with a gentle approach. I really want to get a cover up eventually. I am excited for the weather to cool down in September so I can be comfortable wearing long sleeves until next summer. :) Anyway, I am trying to stay hopeful. Will update again after I go back for my treatments!
Was this review helpful?

Comments (20)

Sort by

Hey saskamiri! Awesome to hear that the bumps have gone done on your second time around. Unfortunately my scarring is not just the bumpiness but raised ridges of firm tissue around certain parts. I just know they are scarring. I went out and bought some silicone scar sheets though and have worn them for maybe 4 days now. They really do seem to affect it, and I can definitely see them making a difference after months of wear. I am less concerned about the scarring I have now, because I have kind of accepted it now and I can see it becoming less intense over time, but I'm very worried about further scarring. When my tattoo is dry it looks acceptable, a bit raised but you'd have to be looking for it. However, if I massage the scar tissue it gets angry and puffs up a lot more, and if I apply shiny ointment the light really shows the raised surface. Hope yours is healing up and the raised bumps were just a fluke!
  • Reply
Whoops, this was meant to be a reply to your comment below.
  • Reply
mine were pretty hard too and i was also sure they were scarring, there are still some bumps but it has definitely gone down now after the second treatment. i'm still using those silicone sheets though. let's see how yours react to another treatment (:
  • Reply
Hi toobadsosad, I'm experiencing the same problem with my tattoo after 1st session. I'm freaking out thinking of the scars after the tattoo had faded. It makes it worst since I already had some keloid scars on my chest and upper back. I had 1st session on July 18 and already develop raised scars about a week ago. I'm hopping they are not keloids. I did not have any scabs yet. Is this normal to not having scabs? One more thing, the bumps on my tattoo seem to be slightly lighter than the rest of the tattoo. I don't know if this is also normal.
  • Reply
heya, i had the same problem after first treatment, but after my second treatment scabbed off, the bumps have actually gone down. so maybe it's just the skin getting used to it (: also how did you care for it while healing? i found that moist healing was better than dry healing..
  • Reply
Hi cherry blossoms! Sorry to hear that! :( If you have experience with keloid scarring maybe you can discuss this with your laser tech next time and see what your options are. I think it is normal to not have scabs from treatment since everybody reacts differently to the laser and I think at lower settings it can be less harsh on the skin, which would make sense if it was your first treatment. The raised parts of my tattoo are also lighter than the rest of my tattoo. I am not sure if they are more faded or if it appears lighter because of the scarring underneath. :( Hopefully yours is not keloid scarring and is hypertrophic scarring instead, which I have read can naturally flatten out with time. For now, I would try massaging it gently within comfort to break up the tissue before it fully develops and maybe silicone scar sheets? It is still early so we have hope! Frankly I'm ok with a bit of scarring as long as it doesn't get worse every time and I can fade this thing! Good luck and keep me posted!!!
  • Reply
This seems like an important point! After my scabs came off I didn't apply Polysporin for a couple of days because I thought I should give the skin a chance to breathe, applying a bit of lotion instead. I think this played a part in the scarring because it probably wasn't moist enough and created extra tension on the skin. Next time around I am going to keep the site moist for the entire time.
  • Reply
How do we post picture on iphone? I don't know how to describe the condition of my tattoo now. I have tiny broken bubbles on the tattoo.
  • Reply
Hey there cherry blossoms, here is a link to help you with posting photos from an iphone. 
  • Reply
Hi toobadsosad, I'm so happy I found your article. I just noticed bumpy skin after 3 weeks of 1st session. I was worried that the raised thingies are keloids. (I had some keloid scars on my chest and upper back).
  • Reply
Hey you know you should really talk to a doctor about the scarring. Honestly the laser removal may do you more harm if you are susceptible to developing keloids....and from the look and you complaining of itching....it could very well be the case. You should really really really really ask your doctor about it.
  • Reply
Hi Sittan1234. Thanks for your concern. I think it is hypertrophic scarring and not a keloid because it is within the site of injury and is not growing (which is the difference from what I have read), however, I am definitely going to raise my concerns the next time I see my laser technician.
  • Reply
Thanks for sharing your story with us, sorry this has stressed you out so badly - if a cover up is your goal keep working towards that. I recently started my cover up after 9 session of laser, my scarring was mainly from the artist who did the tattoo, after every laser session the scars would raise, then they would flatten. They will always be there, and at a close view will always be seen but they have drastically improved. I have moved on from worrying about them, I started my cover up and have accepted that there will always be a trace of the old but I love the new, besides the old tattoo is part of my story. My review is Blackberry11 if you want to check it out. Good luck!
  • Reply
Hello Eva, thank you for reaching out to me! Congratulations on beginning your cover up! That is fantastic news and I am really glad for you. :) How I wish I were at that phase. How long did it take for your scars to flatten? Your skin looks very flat and smooth to me. I don't care if I get some scarring as long as it becomes flat against my skin eventually (although of course I would prefer none at all). Did each successive laser treatment make your scars more severe? I really want to proceed with the fading but I am so scared it will be even worse next time, and it seems like there is no way to tell but to try.
  • Reply
I don't remember exactly how long, but it was at least 2-3 weeks before my skin started to look normal, because I remember always thinking just before another treatment when I was spacing them 4-6 weeks apart, I would think "arg, just as things return to normal I am going again!" Everyone is so different too. I also had lot of redness, especially when the laser was turned up, that terrified me, but it totally resolved itself in weeks time. I must make it clear, my scarring was from the artist, the laser just seemed to make it raise when I was treated. I have only one, or maybe 2 very small flat scars that almost have the appearance of what a flat water blister would look like...but you can't hardly see them and now a new tattoo covers it. You have to accept your skin will not be 100% the same, and you also have to come to terms with the fact that a cover up will always have signs of the old tattoo, mostly when you look at it. 
  • Reply
i am in the same boat as you, had one treatment and already have hard raised scarring. i used silicone sheets but only for 2 weeks before i went for my second treatment so i don't know how effective they will be yet but they seem to flatten the scars right after i take them off. my doctor says to keep using them. if you've already healed from the laser treatment (all scabs off) i think there isnt any harm in using them, they are also meant to prevent further scarring from forming. you can't wear them for 24 hours, the brane i use says to wear them for 12 hours a day, so you can moisturize etc when not using it. my skin also feels moister and softer after using it. good luck to us both!
  • Reply
Hi saskamiri, thanks for commenting. My scarred tattoo has a lot of solid black like yours does in the circle. Sorry to hear you are experiencing a similar thing. I think I will try the silicone sheets even though my laser tech did not advise me to use anything but Polysporin. I feel the surface is totally healed and I really want to flatten this scarring. When I apply moisturizer to my tattoo, I try to massage the scarred areas as well to break up the tissue. Not sure if it will really do anything, but I read it may help. Yes, good luck to us and I will read your updates with hope! Sending you good vibes!
  • Reply
your scarring is very similar to mine. bumpy after the scabs come off! i know that i already had some raised areas after the horrible job my attempted cover up did, but the laser did make it worse with bumps! the scarring is only in the dense black areas, i think it is because the laser reacts very strongly where the ink is very dense so the skin in that area takes awhile to heal (i also had bad blistering in those same areas). maybe your laser tech doesn't want you to use the silicone sheets so that they can accurately access what the bumps are. could you go in soon and get them to just look at the bumps so that they can make their assessment and you can start using the sheets?
  • Reply
Ah, the problem is that my entire tattoo consists of dense black areas haha. :( Pretty freaked out by the severity of the scarring just from the first go. Maybe we can turn down the setting next time. I think you're right, but I am going to the store to check out the silicone sheets tomorrow. I don't think I can wait anymore, and I saw on a few reviews that people had used them during the healing period without any negative effects. I hope they work well for you!
  • Reply
oh hey, my scabs are mostly falling off from the second treatment now, and i can see that my skin is much less bumpy than it was after the first! maybe it was just the skin not being used to being zapped by a laser. this is very encouraging for me and i hope it will be for you too! will post an update in the next few days, but might be starting on a new review and deleting the current one cos of anonymity issues.. either way will let you know (:
  • Reply