Medium Sized Tattoo with LOTS of Color - Denver, CO

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

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

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

Treatment 3

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

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

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...

Treatment 4

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

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

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!

Treatment 5

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.

Session 6

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.
What Were You Inking

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Comments (47)

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I actually think your fading is coming along nicely...sometimes it's hard to see your own progress. Cute dog by the way!
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Thanks Eva that is really good to hear! And I absolutely agree
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what kind of laser is being used on ur tattoo and the colored ink? i cant remember if i asked u this question already or not forgive me if i have.
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Its an Astanza trinity Nd:Yag and Ruby laser. I thinks its been working well on everything but the yellow (which is usually the hardest color to remove).
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Hey there, how is the healing coming along? Looking forward to your photo update, so far you have great fading. 
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All healed up! Just waiting for the fading to start. I will post a pic in a few weeks when I actually have something to show as far as results (hopefully)
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How are you making out, can we have a photo update?
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hey there, your fading is amazing especially since its a colored tattoo. do you mind telling me what kind of q switched laser they are using on you do you know if its the medlite? i have a tattoo its 7months old and mainly black ink but has a lil red and green and im hoping for some great fading likes urs but im darker skin and african american so i know i for sure may have some hypo pigmentation but i dont care i just want this ink gone but i want as less hypo pigmentation as possible so im going to space my treatments out 3 months apart. ill be starting my journey to tattoo removal soon probably sometime this month could u give me any advice on tattoo removal and could you check out my review and give me some advice on my tattoo and its colors?
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Hey Williams122, thats for the comment! I am using the Astansa Trinity laser. I am pretty happy with my results so far. I highly recommend taking as much time off b/w treatments as you can stand. Not only is it better for your skin (and hypopigmentation) it also allows your body to fully clear the ink that has been blasted. I have been told going more frequently than 8 weeks is a waste of money. Ill definitely take a look at your review though!
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thank you so much for that advice i will definitely take your words into consideration when i start my treatments.
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Picosure has ONE wavelength 755nm. That wavelength is: NOT Gold Standard for Black ink. NOT Gold Standard for Blue ink. NOT Gold Standard for Red ink. Picosure technology has been overstated and oversold.
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I'm not using picosure. Using a Q-switched Nd:Yag laser with multiple wavelengths...
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New clinic I started with said she's heard picosure was getting some bad reviews also when they looked into bringing one to Ireland
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Have you noticed anymore fading over the summer - is your next treatment still October?
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I haven't noticed any continued fading since about the 2 month mark. I actually had my 6th treatment this past week though. I will update review as soon as I heal and can document some fading!
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Hi! I noticed that besides the oxidation, most of the tattoo is fading pretty nice. What did the tech have to say about the oxidation? Also, it looks like it gets darker with each treatment. I've got white ink all around my tattoo and I'm so stressed about it my brain is ready to explode.
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Hey, I agree the tattoo is fading pretty nice other than the oxidization. My tech says eventually it will start to fade like black, but she has suggested a treatment with a CO2 laser to help the oxidization as well. I can't find any research on this so I am reluctant. I know this will make removal a much longer process as the ink has to reach a point where it will stop oxidizing and start fading. But it is absolutely getting darker. I have never seen 100% results on an oxidized tattoo either. Not to say it isn't possible, but I am losing faith that this will disappear ever. If you haven't started removal yet I would be prepared for it to get darker at least for a while. My tattoo looks pretty nasty these days.
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I am so sorry to hear how you re struggling with this process. I understand completely how frustrating it can be. I always found the first few days after treatment to be the most emotionally challenging, your body is going through alot. Please continue to update us on how you are doing and hang in there. 
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Thanks Eva. I too find the first few days (maybe even a week) to be very hard. It feels good to not have another treatment planned. My tattoo is a mess right now, but I care more about having fun this summer than worrying what other people think. I am looking forward to taking some time off and letting my body clear some of the built up toxins. Hopefully that will make next treatment easier emotionally.
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That sounds like a good plan, make sure to update us with a photo :) and hopefully you will stick around the community to cheer on others going through the procedure. 
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Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! I wish I had read this sooner, so I would have chosen a better time to get my first removal session done with the q-switched (the tattoo is blue and green, medium size, in a very complicated location)... The healing process has been very difficult for me, and I think this might be understating it! Anyway, I hope you keep documenting what you are going through, because your progress gives me a lot of hope :)
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The healing is the worst. I can barely walk for a few days (can't take care of my dog) and I have to take a few days off around a weekend. One thing I can say is that the healing does seem to get a little easier each time! Less swelling and I seem to bounce back more quickly. I'm glad that my review has helped! Take pictures!! Even if you don't share them. When I feel down about my progress I look at my pictures and realize how far I have actually come. I know I still have a ways to go, but I'm confident that I'll come out stronger :) Good luck with fading!!
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I am impressed by the fading of your black! Mine is taking longer, though my tattoo was very dense with thick lines. Like your yellow, the green in mine also seems to fading to a gray, especially after my 4th treatment. That is good to hear your doctor think it can just be treated as black. Mine too is starting to look like a big gray blob. Worse than the original tattoo even. I hope it's just a step in the process.
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The fading of the shading on mine is what is keeping me going. It is very disheartening to see a tattoo start to turn gray.. darker than it was before. But my lady keeps telling me it's a good thing. We will see! Ill post a pic soon, the gray has gotten worse since the last treatment, but I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in this! Just gotta keep going!! Happy fading :)
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I am in Colorado as well, I don't think there is Picosure in Colorado, and I think Picosure cannot treat yellow color as well, but it has good result with purple, you can try it on purple
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