I got this tattoo when I was 18 and have since...
I got this tattoo when I was 18 and have since grown out of the placement and tattoos in general. I have several other tattoos that I want removed but this is the most intolerable. I'm not sure that it will ever come off as it is relatively new, colorful, and a high quality professional tattoo. Nonetheless, I want it as gone as possible, and I am prepared to live with a ghost of the tattoo. Unfortunately I was unable to locate an accurate before picture, and the "before" picture posted was actually taken about a week after the tattoo was finished, so it hasn't faded as much as it looks like it has. I am mainly doing this because I was very frustrated by the lack of information and pictures of the ongoing process, especially for larger and colorful tattoos.
I did not find the actual laser to be very painful, rather, uncomfortable. It was the burning and swelling after the fact that really got to me. I drove myself to my first session, which I will not make the mistake of doing again as this tattoo is on my hip, directly along the pant line, and subsequently, the seatbelt line. Not a fun ordeal and I had to pull over and let the burning sensation subside. I experienced a lot of swelling, as this is a difficult area of the body to elevate, and used no pain reliever or medication of any kind.
I am very happy with the clinic that I am using, and they gave me a good deal on a bundle of treatments. I am waiting 8 weeks between each session at the least to allow my body to do most of the clearing, and to avoid paying for unnecessary treatments. I have been avoiding smoking, drinking lots of water and eating well. I was quoted to need AT LEAST 10 treatments, but I am expecting several more for the yellow. I hope to keep this updated with each treatment, and I am excited to watch the progress. Feel free to ask me any questions, although I am not an expert on the subject.
Session 2 was very painful, and I have had some small blisters this time. Not seeing any significant fading from the first treatment, but there has been some breaking up of lines and slight fading of the blue and green (which is weird to me since I have heard these are the more difficult colors to remove, along with yellow). I would not recommend removal unless you absolutely cannot live with your tattoo. I was not that concerned with mine, but liked the idea of it being gone. I wish I wouldn't have bought a package of treatments. This is such a painful process, and my tattoo is in a terrible location for going to work the days following. I am forced to take days off of work because I simply cannot wear professional attire and sit up straight in a desk for 8 hours for several days after the treatment. I will update as I go, but I am being forced to take more and more time in between sessions. This will be a very long process.
Three weeks post treatment 2
22 Jul 2013
2 months post
I know I'm supposed to be patient with this whole process, but I'm really not seeing any progress and I'm irritated with the amount of money this is costing me. I'm just hopeful that this tattoo will at least be unnoticeable to other people. It's such an ugly tattoo and I can't wait to not have to look at it. Posting a picture sorry for the terrible quality it's a hard angle to get
28 Nov 2013
6 months post
Finally had some time off of work todo treatment 3. Very unhappy with the results. The tattoo is not even fading. Considering just stopping after I use all 5 that I purchased up front, or finding a new laser. I'm frustrated with the amount of money I've spent and nothing has worked. My laser tech suggested we use a CO2 treatment next time to get rid of white, but I've never heard of this and will probably decline unless I can find some real research on it. The clinic is moving away from just doing tattoo removal which also worries me. I wish this was as easy as getting the ugly tattoo was in the first place
5 weeks post treatment 3
22 Dec 2013
7 months post
I feel like I'm starting to see some actual fading in my tattoo! I thought the process would be quicker and more apparent, but I am feeling better as I can finally see some real progress. Some of the tattoo seems back to my normal skin color (the lighter parts of the red/pink petals) and much of the black has all but disappeared. I am going to be waiting quite some time in between treatments, so my updates may be spaced further apart. I feel that waiting a few months between my treatments allows more fading, and I think this may save me money in the long run. I hate how the tattoo looks right now, so ugly, but I am glad that I have a supportive boyfriend who couldn't care less about this ugly splotch on my hip haha. Work makes it very hard to get treatments done, but I am planning on going in around 10 weeks (from my last treatment).
10 weeks post treatment 3
22 Jan 2014
8 months post
I am concerned about the progress since treatment 3. There seems to be a significant amount of darkening of the tattoo, it is turning almost a gray color especially in the yellow and light pink areas of the tattoo. I have done some research online and I think it is due to white ink being used to lighten the color of the ink my artist used. This has happened in my previous sessions but it usually subsides, especially by week 10. My next appointment is in about two weeks. I'm worried that this could get worse, but I am going through with one more appointment and will then wait a long time for number 5. The other colors are fading nicely, especially the black that is almost gone in some areas. My laser tech still wants to use the CO2 laser as she thinks it will fix the graying effect, but for now I'm sticking with my q-switched. We will see what happens after this one...
I had treatment 4 this weekend. Took a photo right before the treatment and compared it to my others, super stoked on the results thus far. I am awful with computers and I can't get my computer to let me put two pictures side by side. oh well. I can still see the results. I did not use the CO2 laser, although my tech did offer it. This treatment hurt about the same getting it done, but the healing has been much easier this time around, which makes me very happy. She also threw in one of my other tattoos for free. I didn't do this initially b/c I was worried about getting two done at once. But this second one is tiny and on my foot, and I haven't even felt it during the healing process. Should have done that all along. Hindsight is 20/20. But anyways, there has been a big difference in fading between treatment 3 and 4. I am a strong believer that waiting is good for everyone (except the clinic because they lose out on money ;) I will be waiting a good amount of time again for my next treatment, but will update pictures as I heal and begin to fade!! :)
4 weeks since treatment 4
9 Mar 2014
10 months post
It has been about 4 weeks since treatment 4. I have yet to take a picture of the tattoo this time around. I want to wait for some fading (hopefully) before I start comparing. No plans yet as far as treatment 5. Waiting for tax season to die down as my work is incredibly busy this time of year. So far I am very disappointed. The black is going nicely, but thats about all I have going for me. The yellow in my tattoo is oxidizing and turning gray (because there is white ink mixed in). My laser tech says this is a good thing as we can then treat is as black ink and the removal of the yellow will quicken... but the tattoo is a terrible mess right now. I try to ignore it and this is partially why I'm avoiding taking a picture. wondering now if I ever should have started this process. I am looking forward to summer so I can tan the heck out of my tattoo. I know you aren't supposed to get treated when tan as the laser will have less of an effect, but I'm thinking sun exposure will do me some good. We shall see. The picture I'm posting goes up to the day before treatment 4. Good results there, but 4 has left me with a massive gray mess. Will post pics of 4 when I'm ready....
5 weeks post treatment 4
18 Mar 2014
10 months post
Side by side pics are the best. I honestly believed that my tattoo had gotten darker (the yellow may have) until I got the nerve to take this picture. Not a huge change, but at least I see progress. Seems as though the middle few treatments you stop seeing such a large change. Definitely discouraging, but I'm going to keep going! No turning back now. Biggest difference this time is in the blue and pink I think. It's slow going. Looking forward to tanning this baby this summer. Hoping that will fade it as well. No plans as far as treatment 5 quite yet. Probably late april or may!
21 Apr 2014
11 months post
I had treatment 5 done this weekend. Healing time has not been so bad thankfully, although the laser hurt just as bad as it always does. Today is the first time I have had a legit breakdown during this process. I went into work this morning and just could not start working. I stared at my computer screen and started freaking out slightly. Went to the bathroom and had a slight panic attack. I absolutely think that this is correlated with the tattoo and the toxins being released into my system. I am annoyed that this had such an effect on me. Im all blistered and in a lot of pain. I want this stupid tattoo gone, and I'm over the process. It can be so difficult sometimes. I did not expect it to take such an emotional toll, I pride myself in being a pretty strong person. I have decided to take the entire summer off from removal, and maybe even the rest of this year. But I will post a pic of (hopefully) fading from treatment 5 once healed.
2 months post session 5
I had session five done back in April. I think I saw some results this time, but also seeing A LOT of oxidizing of white ink (I had no idea there was so much in there), and now some hypo-pigmentation (mainly due to me being in the sun and on the beach for a week). I honestly don't care about hypo-pigmentation, it even makes the tattoo look lighter in areas. What worries me is the amount of oxidization that will make removal long and difficult. There is also a small keloid forming. It gets big after treatment and subsides as time goes on. You can see it in this close up pic at the tip of the leaf to the left of the om. Giving my skin and me both a break from treatment for now. Looking at October for treatment 6, maybe sooner if I can find a weekend to take some time off of work. For now I am ignoring the tattoo. Spending time relaxing in the mountains. It doesn't bother me to be in bikini's. I have been asked a few times what is wrong with my tattoo, but honestly, if you say things like that to people I don't have time for you anyway.
I had session 6 this past week on my hip, and session 3 on my foot. She turned the laser way up this time, which resulted in a very painful session and a fair amount of bleeding. She did put numbing cream on my hip after the treatment to help reduce the terrible after burn (this made the drive home so much easier). Healing has been rough. I've never had this many scabs, and parts of the tattoo seem to still be tiny open wounds. Keeping my fingers crossed that this will mean great results. I waited about 4 months b/w treatment 5 & 6 and I did see some significant fading. I also spent a lot of time in the sun which did cause some hypo-pigmentation. There is a keloid scar that likes to form after I heal and then subsides as times go on. But I would rather have one little keloid than this tattoo. Not posting pics of my foot yet (it is a tiny all black line tattoo) as I haven't seen any fading. I am keeping tabs though and may add that to the review eventually. Next treatment is scheduled for early October (I think it is time to get this thing going again). I will post pics of fading once healed and given a few weeks time.
7 weeks post treatment 6
Not thrilled with the results from this last treatment. Struggling with the oxidization the most. But I do notice a difference in the black outlines and the blue. Going for treatment 7 next week, which will most likely be the last treatment I get until 2015.
Treatment 8; 4 weeks healed
8 treatments in (never took a picture after treatment 7). Progress is slowing a lot, and I have lost my patience with treatments. I will be re-evaluating at 10 treatments and may try to find a different laser. Would love the have this tattoo off soon, but realistically it will be a lot longer than I ever expected it.
Second tattoo being removed
I think I have had 4 treatments on this one, but it may be 5. I get this one treated for free b/c its so small. This tattoo may actually hurt worse during the actual treatment b/c of the placement, although it doesn't hurt at all after or during healing. It is fading pretty nicely, and I am excited to get it in the sun this summer. Hope this one goes quickly b/c it is my most visible tattoo at work.
CO2 laser treatment
A few weeks ago I had a treatment with a CO2 laser. This was not intended to help with the actual removal but more for the scarring (I had one keloid that tends to form after treatment and then subside) and the oxidization of the white ink. This treatment was free, and much less painful. I healed super quick and the scarring is much better. I also think that the oxidization has faded a little, which makes me very happy. I have had no bad side effects from this treatment. And b/c it is much easier on the skin I am going back for a laser treatment in about 2 weeks. Really ready to keep going with this tattoo, although I think there is still a very long road ahead of me.