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

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.

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.

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.

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. :(

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.
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Comments (59)

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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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"a patience test" yes, you've got that right :)
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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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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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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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Glad to see that your tattoo's already showing some signs of progress after your second treatment! It's been a day since my 2nd treatment and I too have micro blistering especially on the areas that are more heavily saturated with black ink. I had itching the night of the treatment but now it's more of a burning sensation I'm feeling. What do you apply on your skin to manage the itchiness? Hope to see more fading on our tattoos! :-)
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I just moisturize it with the same cream my tattoo artist had recommended. A quite regular moisturizing cream. Massaging helps to reduce the itchiness for about half an hour to one full hour. I don't take anything against reaction (antihistaminics), because that's the reaction of the body that makes the fading, and I don't want to diminish the efficiency in any way. Applying a cold and wet cloth also helps (ice pack wrapped in a wet cloth for instance). My doctor said the cold won't reduce the reaction at all.
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Thanks for the update, really appreciate you taking the time to share :)
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I replied to a comment (not by you) and then it's not the same comment that appears above my answer. Strange!
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I saw that too, but I think it was a company because the name was CanadaLaser and their pic was a logo. I don't know if companies are allowed to comment, so maybe they deleted it. They probably didn't read your review and got all spammy, probably why they didn't know you already wanted it totally removed ;) Keep fading.
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I do want the whole thing removed already. No need to see more fading for that! Hahaha. I am surprised myself by the emotional and non-rational aspect of this. Even though you love tattoos on others, you think about everything, placement, artist, design, etc., it seems that backlashes remain unpredictable and that some people just can't accept the tattoo after placement. It's different to have temporary tattoos (I had some henna ones), and a permanent one. I really don't feel fine with it. But it's also linked to my husband's reaction. I think that all by myself, I could have grown maybe to accept it, but then now I associate it with his bad reaction and even though I was ready to go over this, I can't explain, but I find myself just unable to accept it now. -- As for the "new" factor, my practitioner said that the only mandatory thing was to wait for complete healing after placement. Then, she said that waiting one year would maybe save one or two treatments, but that there was no problem to start early. So it really depends on people, and it remains mostly unpredictable.
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Hey! I also am treated by a doctor and he is very concern about my skin and always says that we do not want any scarring. I also hope that 10 sessions will be enough. My 4th is in 4 weeks! (I am 4 weeks post 3rd) Nice fading to you and let's keep our fingers crossed! Best of luck!
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I hope as well, but I feel like it will take more as I am not looking into a cover-up. There is a PicoSure laser about 3 hours away, so I might go there when there remains only some leftovers deeper in the skin. It's still in a quite distant future. We'll cross the bridge when we're there!
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I am not sure if I will need more than 10. Really hard to say. You can see how it is faded after 3rd treatment. I really hope for more fading. Such a waste of money, energy and time, but what a priceless life lesson! I thought about Picosure as well, but there is none in Russia and I am not sure that it is worth flying. I really know that my doctor is aware of what he is doing. Can't wait till my tattoo will fade more!
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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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Congrats on number 2! :) happy healing! And tons of fading!
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Thanks! :D
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