My Tattoo Removal Process - Reno, NV

I currently have two tattoos that I really love,...

I currently have two tattoos that I really love, and one that I hate. The one I want removed was the first tattoo I ever got (and also the largest of the three). I was only 18 and like many 18 year olds, made an impulsive decision and have regretted it since then. I also imagined at the time that the tattoo would turn out much smaller than it actually did. I know this tattoo isn’t nearly as unfortunate as having some ex’s name plastered on some super visible location, but I still have been unhappy with it going on 6+ years now. I finally made the decision that my general unhappiness towards this tattoo has to stop. Over the years I have avoided going out in swimsuits, crop tops, lace-back tops, and even most tops that are white because the tattoo shows through. My dream is to be able to finally go out without feeling self conscious about the tattoo or feeling bad about it. I am still a huge supporter of tattoos and still like my other two.

I have been looking into tattoo removal over the last two years but felt general anxiety when doing so and always put it off. The two main reasons are probably like everyone else: the physical pain and the cost to do it. I finally came across a nice groupon deal to get three sessions for the price of less than one session for a tattoo my size, so I went for it. I then made an appointment to get a consultation and start the removal process directly following it (if everything went well). I was extremely nervous mostly from the fear of how much it would hurt. My tattoo is located on the right of my lower back, and the area is approximately 4”x3.5”. The pain did feel similar to hot bacon grease on the skin and hurt a lot, however I was told that the amount of time the laser would actually be on my skin would only last 30 seconds. I had her take a few breaks every 7-10 seconds just because it really took the breath out of me, and stopping to ice helped with the pain. I did not receive any numbing creams or shots, but it was over so fast it probably wasn't worth the time. The woman doing the treatment was also very friendly and nice. She told me she has had tattoos removed as well so it was comforting to me that she knew how it felt.
So far I have only had one treatment done, and have been told that the fading will start to occur slowly over the next month. The photos I am adding are my tattoo the day before, and directly 10 minutes after the first treatment. I am writing this only a few hours after my first treatment, so I will try and update in 2-4 weeks and post another photo hopefully showing some fading starting. After that, I would like to keep updating this monthly with photos of my fading tattoo.

Let me know what any of you guys recommend for after-care. I was told to ice it today then basically leave it alone (not pick at any scabs etc.).

4 Comments

Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us! Are you planning for full removal or a possibly cover up? What kind of laser are you being treated with? For aftercare, I would wash it with luke warm water with an antibacterial soap, allowed to air dry completely, then I would apply Polysporin cream or Bactine spray (liked that as it didn't hurt to apply) on it and the bandage with gauze till the blisters and pin point bleeding subsided. about 4-5 days later  (depending on how aggressive the treatment was) or the blisters were gone and it started to dry up itch and peel. For the itch I would use the Bactine Spray as well, helped alot. It's a process, that's forsure, but you will get through it just fine!

How far apart are you spacing your treatments?
  • Reply
Thanks for the advice! I will start washing it with antibacterial soap and drying it. However, I haven't had any blistering or bleeding and am also wondering if that's normal? It has only felt like a bad sunburn and gotten itchy. I'll definitely bring it up before my next session. I am planning (or at least hoping!) for complete removal, and am guessing it will take 1-2 years to accomplish this. The laser that is being used I believe is the Medlite C6 Q-Switch laser. I am also interested in learning more about the Picosure, but I don't think there is anyone in Reno as of yet using this laser.
Your treatment was most likely on the lowest setting, which is a good place to start. Not everyone will blister or have pin point bleeding - everybody reacts differently. My 2nd session I had hardly any..FYI my review is Blackberry11

Update May 12/2014

Just went in for my second tattoo removal session. This time hurt more than the first one. I haven't seen any noticeable fading yet since the first session. I asked about this and was told professional black tattoos can take 3-4 sessions before you start to notice any fading. I hope this is true (but I'd love to see it sooner!)
I've included a photo taken just 30 minutes after my second session. Next session will be in another 4 weeks. I'll post more photos then.

2 Comments

Welcome abroad... LOL... I just had my 2nd treatment this past Wednesday. I was able to see quite abit of fading after my 1st treatment. The black looked gray. I'm still healing so I cant see anything but being raw and nasty. But you will be able to see the fading as it heals.
  • Reply
Thanks! I hope that I will start seeing fading soon. Do they typically fade over the next month or so after a session? I was just told that because my tattoo was professionally done and placed deep it would take longer to see fading.

Third Session on 6/30/14

I got my third session today, and feel like the swelling is a little worse this time. I haven't seen any significant fading yet, but have been told that can be typical with black ink professional tattoos. Here's to hoping this session will result in some fading finally! Sometimes I think I forget how much it hurts when I go in, but I'm glad the place I go to gets it done pretty quick.

2 Comments

Hey! I got my 3rd done 2 weeks ago! Now waiting for more fading! The process is unknown and this is so hard to predict how much you will need! Let's hope you will see some fading! Good luck!
  • Reply
Congrats on #3 :)
  • Reply

Blistering on Session #3

Only one day after my third session and I've finally noticed some blistering. I am guessing this means each one of my laser treatments is getting more intense (?).

10 Comments

I've only had one session on my black tattoo and haven't noticed any changes and it's been 2 weeks already. I'm going back 2 weeks from now to another doctor who'll treat me in a much higher setting than before and hope to see promising results then from there I'll be spacing each session at least 8 weeks apart. Maybe in your case it'll help to space them further apart as well. I see blistering as a good sign...like you really know that the laser penetrated the ink! Good luck with your sessions and looking forward too seeing progress pics from you.
  • Reply
Thanks for commenting! Yes I agree as weird as it sounds I was excited to see the blistering on my third session as I also felt like it meant the sessions were maybe going to start really working. I'm sorry to hear your first session was a bit of a let down. My first two were as well. I was told that many professional tattoos are placed quite deep and can take up to 4 sessions before you even start noticing fading. I'm hoping I'll start seeing results in these next few sessions, but if not I'll probably do the same as you and get a second opinion. I hope your next session goes much better!
That actually looks so cool...like a 3D tat!
  • Reply

Third treatment... hives, swelling etc

I am currently three treatments in and I feel like I'm finally starting to see results in fading. The bad news though is that I broke out in hives and got facial and palm swelling about five days after the treatment, and it hasn't gone away yet. Because the reaction was so bad, my primary doctor has advised that I hold off on any more treatments until I see an allergist and try to figure out the cause behind this. Of course I hope that it wasn't caused by the ink removal and that I can keep going, but for now I'll be waiting on any further treatments. I wanted to post this update because I've only come across a few cases of hives or allergic reaction from tattoo removal.

1 Comments

Hey hope you feel better soon. Allergic reactions are far more common with red ink and less so with others. Here is a review that was having similar symptms..realself.com/review/north-county-dermatology-clinic-lakeland-fl-picosure-multi-color-cover-removal. Please make sure to follow your dr's advice. All the best :)
  • Reply

Two months post session #3

After my third session I mentioned breaking out in full body hives, and I even suffered from facial angioedema (swelling) a few days after the session. Over the last two months my hives have very slowly been getting better. I have had multiple tests ran to narrow down any other cause of the hives and both allergists I have seen and my primary doctor think it is due to the tattoo removal. Their best guess is that my body had an allergic reaction to the pigment breaking down in my body. Because no tattoo inks are FDA monitored, it's really hard to know exactly what I am reacting to. I spent about 3 weeks living on Benadryl, followed by another 4 weeks on Zyrtec. Now I'm down to taking only one Allegra a day to stop the left over itching. I'll be glad when it's finally all gone! I thought I would just update this incase there is anyone else out there suffering from this type of reaction as I've come across a few others like me.
As far as the tattoo removal, I will be stopping any further treatment. Perhaps in another 5-10 years people will know a lot more about avoiding these allergic reactions.

3 Comments

Sorry to hear you had a reaction and have to stop treatment. I guess you just never know what's in the ink. I am glad you shared so that if anyone experiences this they have someone to connect to. Take care. 
  • Reply
That is terrible! I have never heard of a reaction like yours. If it makes you feel better, I am convinced that once I've completed 25 treatments and my tattoo is gone, someone will invent a cream that simple wipes the ink away.
  • Reply
Yeah I haven't either! I have came across a few people breaking out in mild hives for up to a month or so after treatment but never this long. I asked the woman who was treating me and she said out of all her clients (500+) she saw this type of reaction in only one other person. That's funny about the cream though! I couldn't imagine a cream getting deep enough though after all the pain the lasers cause lol but if someone ever invented it they'd be a millionaire
Sierra Nevada Wellness Center

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 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
5 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
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 1 other found this helpful