Recent Tattoo, Black Only, Upper Arm, Seeking Complete Removal

I have been wanting a tattoo for years. My partner...

I have been wanting a tattoo for years. My partner wasn't so thrilled at the idea when I announced I had an appointment to finally get one. It isn't a decision that was spontaneous. It was the result of a long reflection and I put a lot of time in it, and choosing the place, motif and artist. However, I should have just taken more time to think given the adverse reaction of my partner at the thought, and also because of the suggestion of the artist to enlarge the design to ensure better aging. This ended bigger and way more present than I wanted. I can't even wear short sleeves now without it showing. Also, a good climate with my partner is more important than anything else, and this tattoo really put me in a situation I hate. My partner didn't ask to see the tattoo for the first 3 days after I got it, and even avoided asking or being faced with it. This made me feel really bad inside, even though at first I was sort of satisfied with the result. But I became self-conscious with time, because of his reaction and also because of my own reaction to his. And now, even though he came to accept my decision and told me he's be ok with it, it's me who can't get to quite show it to him. I feel like hidding it from him, because I know he doesn't like that at all. So the situation is intolerable. I have a child as well, old enough to notice, but I decided to keep it hidden from her since I decided not to keep it after this 2-month reflection. This will make the coming year a little bit more complicated to manage, but I prefer this to explanations and possible leaks to the extended family. Nobody knows except my husband and a few friends.

Since my tattoo has theoretically good odds of being removed, I decided to start removing it. I hope for a complete removal, but if I should experience problems with residual ink, I might look into a small tattoo for the upper part, where it could easily be hidden under a short sleeve. I hope the bottom part can disappear totally.

My first laser session is tomorrow (May 27). I had my tattoo on March 31, so the tattoo is now 2 months old. It is only black lines, made with vegan ink (Eternal), with only a little bit of shading. Lines were only made once (the artist didn't do several passes). I am scheduled with a clinic that uses a Q-switched laser and she plans anywhere between 6 to 12 treatments (it depends a lot on how the person reacts and how fast the body eliminates the ink after break-up, she says).

Also, they offer laser session to help with adult acne problems, and I decided to try this as well, since I have problems with my face skin ever since I am a teenager. I thought that going for a positive treatment at the same time that I go to correct this decision I regret would help me see this as a step forward into a more positive period of my life.

So, that's how it goes.

First laser session

Having read a lot about the pain and such from other people, I was a little bit anxious. Finally, I would say that the pain is a little bit stronger than for the tattoo, but less than laser depilation for armpits. So quite bearable, even without any cold air or numbing cream. I am going to a clinic where it is a doctor who performs the treatment. She says that the skin is not supposed to blister. Also, I could clearly see the frosting and it was effective according to the practitioner. The parameters were as follows: Q-switch laser wavelength 1064, spot size 4mm, fluence 2.0. The skin shows some tiny red spots at places, and the skin is slightly raised where the tattoo lines where most dense, but otherwise, everything is quite fine and good! Enthusiastic so far.

Trying to go through all this being as zen as possible

"If something can be remedied
Why be unhappy about it?
And if there is no remedy for it,
There is still no point in being unhappy."
-Shantideva
So glad you shared your journey with us and I admire your outlook on the journey. I absolutely love the quote you shared with us, I will be keeping that one!

I am curious to see if the vegan ink will respond quicker, I heard it fades faster in general as the tattoo ages so maybe....will be interesting to see. 

Look forward to your updates!
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Glad you like the quote! I put it next to my computer less I forget to focus on things that matter. As for the ink, it's one of the most common ink brand. Many people must have this one without even knowing it. Also, some people asked about the age of the tattoo prior to beginning treatment... My practitioner said that it doesn't really matter as long as the tattoo is healed. The fading you get when you wait in the first year is maybe equivalent to 1 treatment... but you must wait a whole year! So maybe if you're really distressed about the ink and have the budget, it's better to start right away. She doesn't seem to think that it makes it any easier or harder to get rid of it. It's just a matter of how the tattoo was placed in the skin and how the body gets rid of the ink. And this doesn't change much whether you wait or not.
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Hi mpq. As you said yourself, you're definitely a good candidate for full removal. Do you know which model q-switch laser you'll be using? I really hope you see some good fading after your first session. There's debate that some very new tattoos can be removed quicker, but I'm not sure. I began removing mine after about nine months, and it was jet black to begin with like yours. Keep us updated!
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2 days post Tx1

Just writing to show that the skin is slightly raised after 2 days. No scab, no blisters in sight. It's a little bit itchy. I'd say that the swelling of the lines and the itchiness compare with the healing process of the tattoo itself. The lines are more blurry, so it's obvious that the laser blasted them. We'll see how much is drained in a few weeks.

Also, I saw on the site of the clinic that their laser is a Spectra Q-switched nd-YAG. For those who might enjoy having that information.
I like your Zen quote, it's perfect for those who are battling ink regret. It seems you have your first laser session under your belt and are healing nicely. Fading will continue for quite some time, it's amazing to watch. Try to stay positive, it really helps deal with all of this...shall I dare say "crap!" Good luck, thanks for the update, it's great to hear from you...aloha...k
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I've been avoiding to look at it for the past two months, and now, I am constantly looking to see if there are changes. Funny. And this quote is indeed perfect.
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Welcome to the community! :) I didn't realize at first that there are so many people different ages getting their tattoos done and then regreting them. I am also in the same boat! Well, I have to say that you have a nice tattoo, it is not offensive or anything bad, but I completely understand why you want it gone. You have good chances to have your tattoo removed, but it is a long process and it does take time and patience and money! Positive attitude is very important while going through this. Stay strong!
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Itching finally stopped - Fading is beginning

Two weeks post first session. I see some overall fading, and some lines are more irregular than they used to be - no breakups yet, but definitely some thinning at places. Some lines are still raised, and skin is still shedding as well. For the time being, the process isn't really that annoying or painful. The itchiness is at times distracting - you can't stop thinking about it much -- but otherwise, it's very bearable. Next appointment scheduled for July 14 (7 weeks in between sessions). Long process is long.
Glad things are going well for you - I used Bactine spray while I was healing and it helped ease the itch.
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2 weeks post Tx 1

Just posting two pics that show the little bit of fading I have so far, two weeks after first treatment. Totally healed, except for a little bit of dry, shedding skin. Lines are more irregular and blurry. The black is less intense overall as well.
And the fading has began! :) great results! Really happy for you! I am sure you will get it removed completely! :) stay positive, healthy and happy!
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Yup, positive and optimistic so far! I hope to wear a bathing suit at some point in the very distant future without anybody noticing this period of my life. Summer is hard. I was looking forward to wearing this ink with pride, not hiding myself under clothes. But well. It's going to be ok.
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Same story! :) my tattoo is covered 90% of the time. Thanks god it is small, but I am kind of hiding it from my family and this is stressful then you think about it :/ so I just don't think :) keep looking forward and learning from my mistake! It all will be over! And looking back in time I do not want to be in regret of how I acted and handled the stress! :) you will be just fine! Can't imagine where we will be in like 1 year ;)
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Swimming

I went to an aqua park a few days ago and it was tough. I bought myself a bathing suit with half sleeves that is perfect for aquatic sports like kayak. It was also perfect for a day outside without having my shoulders burned. It was however annoying to see all those people with tattoos (most not really interesting or beautiful, in my honest opinion), and all those people with bare skin. I found myself envious of everyone else: I wish I could enjoy my tattoo that I find cuter than most I saw, yet I am unable to; I wish I could have bare skin like all the others. But well, I enjoyed the day nonetheless but it was draining because it was hard not to think about the tattoo constantly. :(
Seems like we're getting similar results...just had my first laser treatment 2 weeks ago and our laser settings are pretty similar except that mine is 2mm spot size with 5.0 fluence so probably a little stronger than yours? I didn't have any bleeding or anything major just raised ink, swelling and redness which subsided after a few days. My skin's shedding as well. I notice some breaking of black lines in some parts but can't say for now that there's an overall fading. Looking forward to seeing your progress as our tattoos are pretty similar...a lot of black line work except mine's on the forearm and have some blue ink that needs to be targeted by a different wavelength.
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I am going for a second session in one week. The laser was set pretty low for the first treatment. Yet, I could see the frosting and the tattoo seemed to react quite a bit, so I guess it was ok. We'll see! I hope to experience some visible fading after the next session. Can't wait till next Monday to come!
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Good luck on your 2nd treatment and hope the results will be much better than this one. It's good to know that we both just had one session so far so we can keep track of each other's progress. I'm having my 2nd session soon and hope to experience some visible fading after too!
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Approx 6 weeks after first tx.

Second laser session next week. This is the current state of affairs after one session. Close-up attached to show the minimal fading so far.
Good luck on your upcoming treatment!
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Thanks! I didn't find the first one really painful, so hopefully, it will go as well as the last time!
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The practitioner was impressed with the amount of fading I got after just one session at these settings. I guess it's encouraging... ;)
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SECOND SESSION - July 14

Had my second session. Same settings. She tried to turn the laser up a little bit and did test patches, but the tattoo frosted well at a low setting too, so she decided to keep it not too high as to avoid causing unnecessary stress and damage to the skin. Didn't find it much painful. No ice, no cold air, no numbing. Will post updates whenever/if I see improvements of any kind.
I also have a freshly done all-black tattoo, mostly line work. Hope you see some improvement the second time around!
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My practitioner always mentions from 8 to 10 sessions as a baseline. So well. We'll see. To be frankly honest, I don't except very visible fading before the 4th session, but then, we're all different and it's unpredictable.
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*I don't expect
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2 days post 2nd Tx

I find important to share pics of the tattoo as I don't get macro blistering and my skin doesn't get traumatized much. I am treated by a doctor whose concern is aesthetics, and so great care is taken so as to avoid scarring the skin. The pictures attached are two days after treatment, there is some redness (spots near the black tattoo lines), some swelling, and what I would describe as "micro" blistering (you can see it in the first pic if you look at the places where the sun is shining on the skin), since there seems to be small bubbles on the black lines, but if you don't look really closely, it just seems like the skin is swollen.

There is some tiny progress already showing in the end of the line I included as a close-up. We'll see how it clears in the following weeks.
Hey there, how are you making out with your fading? When is your next treatment?
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August 28 is the next date. Fading is happening, but really slow, and not as obvious as I'd like it to be... Wait and see!
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Good luck!!
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39 days post 2nd Tx

I have a new session planned next week, so I'm updating basically to document to fading prior to that upcoming treatment. There is some obvious fading at the end of lines and on the lines that are really thin. Otherwise, what can be noticed is mainly an overall more greyish colour and some irregularities in the width of lines in general.
Good luck with the treatment! I know that it is hard with black fresh tattoo as it is fresh with lots of ink. Laser is breaking ink layer by layer and it is really slow process! I haven't seen much fading until my 3rd treatment. Keep positive, healthy and happy!
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Good Luck on your treatment!!
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THIRD SESSION - August 28

So, I had my third session yesterday. The fluence was increased by 0.2 this time. The doctor tried 0.4 higher, but then, it seems aggressive for the skin for no reason as 2.2 was enough with great ink frosting. It snapped a little bit more and I have had more blood spots around the lines than the two previous times. Still, not a traumatizing treatment for the skin and the healing should go well and fast.

Let's hope it fades noticeably!

Pictures post 3rd session

Congrats on number 3! Happy healing!
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Thanks! Still quite dark, but noticeably more greyish with every treatment.
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15 days post Tx3

Some fading. Greyish. It seems like we see more of the skin colour through the ink at places. The thinnest line at the bottom is almost gone.
Hang in there!
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Yes, you are having a wonderful result from this last treatment. With each treatment, more and more will disappear. IT doesn't disappear uniformly, I have pieces missing in places and ink in other places. But it does go. Good luck! aloha...k
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"But it does go" -- Thanks a lot. I say this to myself all the time. This is a patience test.
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FOURTH SESSION - October 21

Fourth session today. The fluence was increased by 0.2 again this time, but still relatively low, which brings us to 2.4. The ink frosted nicely. All this seems very encouraging. Now, time to wait again! Will post pics as soon as there is something to show.
Awesome, happy healing and I look forward to your photo update. 
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2 days post Tx4

Just uploading pictures. A little bit of redness, some very tiny blisters and some swelling, but overall, nothing that seems too traumatizing for the skin.
Congrats on number 4! :) It will all fade away! I am sure about it! I am having my 5th session today! Good healing to you!
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Thanks! Hope you have a good session, one that will yield results!
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