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Removing 2 Large Tattoos, Color & Black - New York, NY

After an enormous amount of research and countless...

After an enormous amount of research and countless consultations, I am beginning my Picosure treatment with the Laser & Skin Surgery Center in Manhattan. I will be using anesthetic, so I will not be able to treat both tattoos at once (meaning both during one visit). I will instead be treating each tattoo individually, with treatments in between one another.

I have chosen to start with the color tattoo on my lower back. I am terrified of scarring, so I want to begin this process with the tattoo that gets the least exposure (generally speaking), though, from what I have read, seen, and been told, my all-black shoulder tattoo is likely to be much more responsive to treatment.

Both my tattoos are between 5-6 years old, they were professionally done, and they were done by two different artists (back- San Diego, shoulder- Denver). I am removing them for a number of reasons. Some reasons may be obvious, but truly I just don't feel tattoos are something I want as part of my identity anymore- or for the rest of my life. I got my first tattoo at 14, so now, at 26, I feel I have had plenty of time to come fully to this conclusion (unlike the process of deciding to get most of my tattoos). It's been fun, but I am ready to begin the process of removal, and return to my natural state.

I will be documenting the entire removal process for both tattoos, and depending on how these go, I will be removing at least 3 more over the next several months. I plan to share my experience both on this site and on a personal blog which I will link after my first treatment.

Tx1, Back Tat, Day 1 Post Treatment

This is what my back looked like about 12 hours after treatment. It only hurt for the following 4 hours post-treatment, and at this point, during the process of changing the bandage for the first time, it didn't hurt at all.

I will continue updating throughout the healing process. My next treatment is scheduled for mid August.

Tx1, Back Tat, Day 3-5 Post Treatment

Over the first week post-treatment, I was prepared for anything, and I got a little bit of everything: light scabbing, a variety of blisters, some spots that didn't seem to mind the laser at all, and so overall redness.

The pain was pretty intense the first couple days. By day 3 it was down to a dull ache, but in the evening of the 3rd day, I finally let the tattoo air out and left the bandage off, and within 10 minutes it felt like it was on fire. I tried a number of things: numbing cream, aquaphor, washing both aforementioned things off with luke warm water, but ultimately the only thing that relieved the pain was bandaging it up again and icing it.

I am now writing from day 7 (and will upload a photo later today when my boyfriend- whom we can all thank for these gorgeous photos of my disgusting back- gets back in town because I cannot reach to take the them myself), and the pain is completely gone, though it has been replaced by a light itchiness that I personally have to make a concerted effort to avoid, because I am an aggressive 'itcher' as well as a 'picker'.

The big blister was serious and didn't appear to want to pop on its own, so admittedly, I popped it around day 5- but please, let me explain. I sterilized a needle first, then cleaned the blister and poked the tiniest hole in it, then washed it while applying pressure to the thing to drain it. Please note: I realize this information would otherwise be totally gross, so just know- I am fully aware of that; however, I am including everything from my experience that has answered the questions I had before I began this process, and whether or not/how to pop a mega-blister was one of them. So, that being said, I hope this information is helpful to some of you. As I mentioned previously, I am petrified of scarring so I am not sure if I am helping myself or shooting myself in the foot by relieving the blister pressure, so I guess we'll see.

In conclusion, I have to say, this first week was, for the most part, exactly what I expected. It was a lot more uncomfortable than I anticipated, just during normal everyday tasks like dressing, peeing, running/jogging, sitting, cuddling, and having sex (this one was particularly stressful and after the first try on my back, it was decided that perhaps this first week would be a nice opportunity to try positions). The fading has been significant and will continue hopefully throughout the next few weeks.

I should also mention: because I am a volunteer in a study, the doctor and technician will be performing small experiments, comparing and contrasting different lasers on certain parts of my tattoos. This should be fairly informative (see the center blue are & two sets of leaves on either side- one laser was used on one side and a different laser on the other- I will get this information next time). Clearly, in this case, one is more effective than the other.

Will post more later.
Thanks for reading.
Laser & Skin Surgery Center

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Comments (6)

Hi, I can relate to ur post n hope u will see some clearing !!! Do u have any updates on ur blk shoulder piece? I'm very curious to see how pico handles those lines as I have a lot of black as well.
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Thanks for the update. I've drained blisters, too. I feel justified as it's much better than them popping accidentally when I scrape it against something. Try not to pick the scabs, though. It can cause scar tissue, which is harder for the laser to penetrate.
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Wishing you success on your removal :)
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Congratulations on starting your removal. Happy healing!
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woulda kept the pbr tat
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Best of Luck .. The Picosure really knocked mine out fast!
  • Reply