Have Had Removal (15ish Sessions) for Over 2 Years Now- Lesson to Be Learned - Germany, DE

TL;DR- If you find your tattoo has angry, raised,...

TL;DR- If you find your tattoo has angry, raised, bright red marks on it after a laser session, do not continue with it until the marks are completely gone. Find a new doctor if they say it is okay to continue lasering. These marks can become permanent.

I didn't care about my tattoos until one day I became suddenly embarrassed of my chest tattoo and have been wearing strictly high neck shirts/dresses since about 2011. I decided to pursue laser tattoo removal at a clinic in GA, United States. The tattoo in question consists of 6 black symbols across my chest. I also had a touch up on it once because of sun damage. I will post pictures after my next session, but they might be too gory.

Clinic 1- An overpriced beauty spa in the States. Absolutely useless, and the most expensive 6 treatments at 300$ each. After the 6th, there was literally 0 difference in my tattoo. No numbing cream because it was an extra 50$ per session. They also did not ice it. It hurt like crazy.

So I moved on to clinic 2.

Clinic 2- A reputable dermatologist in a small city in Germany. Each session cost 120€ and I had about 5 or 6 sessions with her, numbing cream and icing it were free. I had no idea it wasn't a normal part of tattoo removal to have your skin so burned and damaged from the laser that she kept giving me Second Skins (eng) and cortisol injections (there are so few stories out there- how am I supposed to know what elements of tattoo removal are normal or not?). This laser was so powerful that I was basically crying after each session. Most of the tattoo is gone because of this dermatologist, but it left me with awful scars. Her assistant called me one day to tell me their laser was broken and they weren't going to get a new one.

Clinic 3- The best place I have been to yet. 3 sessions so far for 80€ each. The technician took one look at my tattoo and was shocked by the damage from the previous dermatologist. I apparently had good luck in that her laser was "broken". She might have actually been sued instead, but that is speculation. Many of her former patients are going to this clinic now and all have terrible scarring like me. Both technicians thought my skin was so damaged that 100% removal wouldn't be possible anymore, but my skin has made a great comeback with their cream recommendations and there is about 1 more session to go for full ink removal. The scars are raised and far more visible than any remaining ink. They are going to send me to a doctor to hopefully fix them for good. I am extremely grateful to this clinic for everything. I think my confidence is going to be restored thanks to their efforts.

Bad News

I was sent by my last tattoo removal clinic, following the final appointment, to a doctor friend of the technician. While not a dermatologist, he knows a bit about skin and is familiar with my case, having recommended the technician tell me about certain creams to facilitate the healing process. Well...I went to see him and came back feeling devastated.

I was told that I have 4 options to remove the scarring left by the dermatologist who basically left me a burn victim through laser tattoo removal:

1) Have the scarring site surgically removed, which is expensive and just creates new scars
2) Lay in the sun and hope it helps the scars a bit
3) See another dermatologist, maybe there is something they can do
4) Sue the dermatologist who messed up

He recommended numbers 1 and 4 especially. He called her work an "ärtzlicher Fehler", or a mistake a true professional doctor should not be making.

So while the ink in the tattoo is basically gone, I am now left with raised, multi-colored scarring across my chest. I would still recommend tattoo removal though. If I hadn't gone to that one dermatologist, I would have had my tattoo removed without issue.

1 Month Since the Last Update

I laid in the sun a bit and it seemed to maybe "smooth" it out a bit, but the difference was not so great. I may be moving overseas again within the next few months and will try going to see a doctor there, maybe even a plastic surgeon.

I decided not to sue the dermatologist who left me with the scarring. I have also not had time to really put creams on it because I am busy writing a thesis.

I have pictures posted now of the tattoo in different lighting. With no natural light, the scarring is not as visible as it once was, but it is still definitely there in the photo with natural light.
Tattoolos

Tattoolos DE- Hat mein Selbstvertrauen gerettet. Würde ich 100%ig empfehlen. Die Lasertechniker sind nett, kompetent und sogar besser als viele Hautärtze. Ich bin mit meinen Ergebnissen sehr zufrieden.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (13)

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hi there, would you mind posting pictures of your tattoo? i just started laser treatments, and my skin is looking bumpy, but the ink is so dense that i cant see whether it is red underneath, but i am quite certain and also scared that i am going to get bad scarring. i just wish i had some reference of what scarring looks like.. understand if you don't want to post them though!
  • Reply
I can post a picture of the scarring and minimal ink left- how it looks right now. I am sorry to be getting back to you so late, I hope you decided to wait longer. It was perhaps my own impatience that led to me accepting the doctor's offer to not stop and wait longer between sessions. I hope you have a competent doctor!
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thanks for sharing your pictures (: i'm waiting for my second treatment in about a week's time, in total it would be 10 weeks since my first treatment. i think that's a reasonable timing, and mainly its because of my field research schedule restricting the time i have for traveling the far distance to get treatment to a few small windows every couple of months. i'm still pretty sure that I will scar even with the long waits though, my skin is already uneven maybe from the tattoo, and i've only had one treatment! do you remember when you first started to notice scarring and how it looked?
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To be honest, I didn't realize I was being scarred. The doctor was injecting the tattoo often and throwing me everything she could write off as 'free samples'. I would recommend looking into "Second Skin" compression patches, they might be expensive but I am sure you can probably find them cheaper elsewhere than here. There might even be cheap alternatives. The tattoo was so red and gory looking at the time I really just could not tell, I also had pits in the skin where she burn it off and I thought it was healing fine until all of the redness went away and I finally saw the scars. If you're already scarring, I recommend waiting even longer. Don't end up unhappy like me! I promise you'd rather wait longer than have permanent scarring.
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I understand that you're frustrated with the scarring, and that you've received some advice from a professional. Your options have you either doing surgery with the risk of scars, or undertaking legal action against a professional, who may be in another country. I am concerned about the sun advice though.***3rd party link removed*** can't find any advice online about using the sun to heal scars, in fact it's quite the opposite. The sun's light can not be controlled, sun damage to our skin can reap problems years down the road. I live in Hawai'i and there are many dermatologists here helping people with sun damage that they received decades ago. I hope you look at option #3, obtaining advice from another dermatologist. Advice can't do harm, it gives options. Litigation/legal action is time consuming and extremely emotionally draining, and you won't get your skin back to its original condition. Good luck, keep us posted, aloha...k
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Thank you for your concerns- it is nice to have someone sympathize with me instead of tell me, "well you're an idiot for getting a tattoo in the first place so I don't pity you at all". I think I will go see a doctor when I move again because the waiting lists in Germany are usually around 3 months for just the consultation...it's why I haven't made an appointment yet. :/
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Good luck!
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Welcome to the forum! Are you able to mention the creams you having been using to help your scarring? Some people on here might really benefit from it. Thank you :)
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Yes, I recommend Contractubex against scarring. It is expensive but effective. I saw a major difference in the scarring after beginning to use it, although I still have some scarring. I apply it twice a day to the site, and it sometimes itches but then I just don't use it for 24 hours before reapplying it again and it's fine.
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Yes, some pictures would be great. Sharing helps all of us learn more about others' experiences. Often there is someone wondering if their results are okay. I understand it might be painful to relive these memories. Good luck with the rest of your removal. It sounds like you are in excellent hands now. aloha...k
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Thank you. Hopefully time will result in the rest of the scarring fading enough to where I can wear a low cut t-shirt or dress again within the next 10 years. :P
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Welcome, thank you for sharing your story with us, please do post pictures and don't worry if they could be considered gory...it's part of the process. What type of lasers did each clinic use?
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I will try looking for pictures, since I have certainly taken some during my entire 2.5 year process of tattoo removal. I know for certain a Q-Switched laser was used at 2 of the clinics, at the one where the doctor messed up my skin, I am not absolutely sure and I am honestly never going to get in contact with them again unless it's to sue them.
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