Diary of my Tattoo Removal in London, England

It's too early to review as yet as I've only had...

It's too early to review as yet as I've only had one treatement, but I've created a diary blog of my tattoo removal in London. All I can say so far is that it hurts, a lot!

Glad you took the time to share your journey with us! Nice fading so far, I look forward to following your progress. Are you going for full removal? On a scale of 1-10 what is the pain like? Do you use numbing cream during your treatments. 

P.S. - Just to avoid the responses getting lost in the comments thread would you mind updating your review :)
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hi (: lucky you seeing fading so early on! what kind of laser are you being treated with?
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Welcome aboard, tattooremovedlondon, I think I see some break up of the black in the final picture you've posted. You've got quite a large tattoo to remove, are you removing all of it? Good luck with your fading, it looks like it's started already. aloha...k
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Laser tattoo removal - before patch test (originally published on Wordpress 10 May 2014)

I have decided to create a blog to show the progress of getting my tattoo removed (apologies for showing so much bum crack but it couldn’t be helped.)

I’ve been considering getting rid of it for a long time and have finally decided to do it. The top part (black celtic) is over 15 years old and is a cover up from a tattoo I had when I was 17. Unfortunately the artist did it off centre in order to cover the old tattoo so I’ve never particularly liked it, and celtic tattoos are quite old fashioned now too.

A couple of years ago I went to an artist who has done some tattoos on my shoulders that I like, and asked her to design something to add to the celtic tattoo to make it appear more central. I must admit I had hoped she would just add some extra bits of black to it and maybe some small bits here and there to modernise it, but I ended up with this instead (yes I know). I hated it from the start. I actually think it makes it more obvious that the black one is not centred, and then Cheryl Cole got something similar which really was the final straw.

I did some searching on Google and found mixed reviews and conflicting advice. In the end I chose to go to City Tattoo Removal (which also goes under the name of Pulse Light Clinic). The reason I chose them is because they sounded like this is something they do a lot of, and also because they talked about different lasers for different colours etc which some of the other sites didn’t. Plus they’re pretty local to the friend’s I stay at when in London. Just for the record I am completely independant, have paid full price etc so anything I say or any results I show are entirely my own. If they do ever see this blog and offer me some free treatments (wishful thinking I know) then I will be open aboout it. I do work in a marketing but that is completely separate to this. I have chosen to blog anonymously as I don’t want future potential employers to Google my name or email address and see pics of a big tattoo on my bum.

So today was my patch test. They basically talked me through the process and said they will use one laser for the black ink, one for the red and one for the green. They started with the black. They hit it a couple of times to get the right level to see a reaction. It hurt a bit but wasn’t too bad, although I’m sure after lots of it it won’t be particularly nice. They did the green next. They hit it a few times but I hardly felt anything and they said it didn’t react much so there must be a lot of black in there so they will use the black laser for that too to start with. They did the red last and again did a few zaps to get a level where they could see a reaction. I don’t know what the reaction looks like as it was behind me but the laser to remove red ink hardly hurt at all.

She said they will not blast it at the highest level possible for risk of scarring. I must admit I was a bit dissapointed about this. Obviously I don’t want scars but it’s a pretty expensive procedure (especially on a tattoo this size) and I do want it gone as soon as is possible. As you pay by number of sessions I hope this is not a way of getting more sessions out of me? Time will tell I guess.

I paid for four sessions today with an extra one free. It was £710 which is a lot but I’m paying in installments and I really do want rid of it. She has said I will need 10-12 sessions in totalso in theory this whole process will take a couple of years. Again time will tell as the process goes on.

The black tattoo was accidently hit once when getting laser hair removal and a small corner of it dissapeared so I’m hoping it will go quite easily (wishful thinking again I’m sure).

My first full session is scheduled in June as that’s the next time I’m back in London. It should take 30 minutes and she did say I should next really expect to see results from the first session. It will be a few weeks before I update this again but will include pics and a description of the session as soon as it’s happened.

First laser tattoo session (originally published 6 June 2014 on WordPress)

OUCH. That really REALLY hurt!
I moved my first appointment forward a few days as I was keen to get started. The patch test at my consultation hadn’t really hurt much and I always thought I have quite a high pain threshold so I thought I’d be fine. I took some painkillers an hour before I went too.
I was given a choice of sitting or laying down for the treatment. She advised me to lay down as it hurts. She wasn’t wrong! She started with the colour treatment first. She did it relatively slowly. The pain being compared to elastic bands flicking against your skin is true in that the pain is very sharp. The problem is once the initial snap of pain is over there’s a lingering pain afterwards, so as the session goes on it gets increasingly uncomfortable.
After 10 minutes she said she was going to increase the speed of treatment. In a way I was pleased as it would mean it was over more quickly, but at the same time it made it even more intense. I had to get her to stop a couple of times so I could catch my breath. I was really trying to take deep breaths but as the pain built up I seemed to instinctively hold my breath.
Just as I thought she had finished she told me she was now going to start treatment on the black tattoo. I think (although my mind is already trying to block it out I’m sure) that the black tattoo removal was equally painful as the colour whereas during consultation the patch test on the black ink hurt more. I know as she moved to treat the sides of the tattoo it did hurt even more. That was the most painful on the sides of my body.
Eventually when it was over she took me to a different room and blew a cool air fan on my back which was really nice. She said the black ink will retain heat for a while. That’s definitely true as the area feels on fire right now.
She has advised me to avoid sweating and getting the area wet for 48 hours as the skin in broken and I need to minimise risk of infection. It’s quite hot sun today though so I’m already sweating :-(
After one week I should apply bio oil morning and night and massage well to encourage circulation.
She has suggested I break my next session down in to two sessions a couple of days apart so they can treat the black in one session and the colour in the other. I’m hoping that will still count as one paid session otherwise my costs are going to double. I should have asked to clarify this but I wasn’t really thinking straight at that point and probably just wanted to get out.
I’ve booked my next (split) session early August. She’s recommended I use emla cream before my next session. Even though it will still hurt it should take the edge off apparently. She said I may need two tubs to cover the whole area and to apply a thick later two hours before treatment and wrap in cling film so it can really absorb. To be honest I’m willing to try anything to reduce the pain as it wasn’t nice. I’ll look online to find a cheaper version of emla with the same ingredients if possible.
It was about an hour ago now it finished and the area is aching like I imagine a bad sunburn would. I’ll try and take pictures later but I don’t think there’s really any change to see right now. I’ll keep you up to date with my progress as the healing process begins.

Day one after first session (originally publish 7 June 2014 on Wordpress)

The tattoo started to blister last night (see yesterday’s picture). I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing as she had asked me before yesterday’s session whether I has blistered after the patch test.
I had a friend take a look at it this morning. He said the right side is more blistered than the left. That’s the side she went much faster on, so again I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing?
The area hurts when I move and it’s in an awkward place as my clothes rub against it but hopefully it will start getting better from here on. I’ll keep you posted. The pic attached was taken this morning. You can sort of see the blisters and the red marks just outlining the tattoo. The whole tattoo looks darker than normal and has a raised/lumpy texture.

Three days after first tattoo removal session (originally published 9 June 2014 on Wordpress)

Still really painful and still some blisters. It feels like the skin is very dry and burned so when I move it feels like it’s pulling.
I had a friend take a picture and it does already look like some of the ink might have dispersed? In particular the black ink?

The day of my second treatment

My second treatment has been split in to two so the colour and the black can be treated separately. I had the black treated about 30 mins ago (see pic). Before treatment today I applied a lot of Dr Numb cream and wrapped myself in clin film for two hours before the treatment. Admittedly it still really hurt (as soon as that first blot of laser hit me I immediately remembered how horrible it was last time) but it was a bit less intense for having used the numbing cream. I had the black treated today and will have the colour treated in two days time. The woman doing the laser today said next time I need to leave more than two days between treating black and colour otherwise I run the risk of damaging my skin and leaving scaring.

I forgot to take a picture before my second session today but if I'm honest I don't think it looked any different 8 weeks after having had my first laser session than it did before I'd had it treated. I've taken a pic straight after my session today and you can see that it's red and the pores look very open where the black ink has been treated. I'll update soon if anything to report.
Thanks for your update, happy healing and hope for lots of fading!
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Hey am having a large tattoo removed atm .but have read up that you shouldn't use a numbing cream as it acts as a barrier not sure if it's true thou ? I just grit my teeth it took 6hrs to get the ink what's 20min to remove it ?
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I've met a few different staff at the laser clinic and all of them have advised me to use a numbing cream. To be honest i don't know how you can manage it without numbing cream. The pain is the worst.
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24 hours after second laser tattoo removal on colours

It's 24 hours after my second laser tattoo session, only this time she focussed on the colours. Using the numbing cream definitely helps. It felt a lot less traumatic than my first experience. Although of course it still wasn't nice. The pain treating colours is different from treating black ink. The laser for black is a more sharp pain, where the laser for red ink felt like more of a burning pain (at least that's how it felt for this second session). I've attached a couple of pics. They show where the red ink has been treated has created a blotchy/dotted effect.
Hi there - well done on your journey so far! As a fellow Brit (Welsh bird) I take my hat off to you because in my limited experience, red ink is by far the most painful to shift! Have you experienced any scarring/thickening? I had a red heart lasered off my ankle 11 weeks ago with a view to covering it but the skin is so thick now no needle or laser would penetrate it xxx
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Pulse Light Clinic / City Tattoo Removal

Too early to say re results but people seem nice and knowledgable.

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