Lesson Learned: Now lets annihilate this thing! - Scottsdale, AZ

About two weeks ago I had a very large colorful...

About two weeks ago I had a very large colorful cover up tattoo done on my stomach. I had to have two 6-7 hour sessions done to cover up the old tattoo and it is still not even completely finished but I've had enough done to know that I hate it so needless to say I will not be going back. The original tattoo I got when I was 18 and it was black vines and leaves and some black stars (something that is very difficult to cover up and should never have been attempted. The new tattoo is a bunch of roses (?) leaves and other flowers. I realize that this is a very difficult tattoo to remove by laser because of all the green and blues. I will definitely be getting the laser procedure done but I'm considering using an alternate method first to lighten the tattoo and hopefully lower the cost and number of treatments needed with laser. I have read some promising things about TCA chemical peel and the tattoo vanish method. There is a place that does tattoo vanish about 5 minutes away from me so I will probably go for a consultation. I am however, very worried about this causing scarring. Has anyone had experience with this?
I am also concerned about what type of laser treatments I should get. There is a laser school in my area that offers laser treatments for $50 a session and I believe they use just the standard q-switched laser. There is also a place near me that offers the R20 but for a much much higher price. I have also looked into the picosure laser but unfortunately there is not one in my area. The closest place would be California so I'm considering going there and getting that done on any green/blue ink left remaining after my laser treatments. I would really appreciate any advice anyone has to offer. I've been extremely depressed and self conscious over these past couple weeks and I'm not feeling any better. I've been obsessively looking at information on the Internet to the point where it's the only thing I can focus on. Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated!

So I went for a consultation...

So I went to my first consultation at Phoenix Skin which is the only place in the area that has the picosure laser. I was really impressed at how fast they were able to get all of their patients in and out because they have a very busy office. The lady I spoke with was also very friendly and knowledgable. She said that the picosure works great for all colors except for red so my tattoo would be treated with both the picosure and the medlite lasers since I have quite a bit of red in my tattoo. I was quoted at $750 a session. Yikes!! But that is a fair price considering the size and colors of my tattoo and I will be getting the best laser available and they will be giving me injections to numb the area. The only thing I did not like is that she was not really able to give me an estimate on how many treatments it would take to clear my tattoo. She said most tattoos are completely removed in 3-6 treatments with this laser. I expect mine should take about 7 or 8 hopefully! My first session is July 2. I'm really excited to see what I kind of results I will see with this laser!!

I have my first treatment today

I have my first treatment today. I'm pretty anxious about it but mostly I'm excited to get this process started and because it is the picosure laser I'm hoping to see some pretty good results out of this first treatment. It's pretty crazy how much the tattoo has faded already. I conducted a little experiment. My tattoo artist told me to really avoid the sun while this tattoo is new he said that color tattoos should really be kept out of the sun for three months or else there will be a lot if fading. So I did exactly that! While I was in Jamaica on vacation I let my tattoo get a little sun. Not too much because I did not want it to interfere with the laser treatment but just from that it has already faded a lot!
I will let you all know how today goes and will update with pics.

1st treatment

I just finished with my first treatment about two hours ago. It took about 40 mins since my tattoo is large. I opted to get the cooling machine instead of the lidocaine injections because they said it would be challenging to numb the whole area since the tattoo is so large. The actual laser treatment was not so bad. I do think it definitely hurt worse than getting the actual tattoo. It hurt a lot in some areas like near my belly button and ribs but in some areas I could barely even feel it. So I think the placement of the tattoo makes a difference. If you have a small tattoo then there's no need to worry because its quick but because mine is so large I definitely had to endure it for a while. After the laser treatment was finished was actually when the pain was worst the car ride home was almost unbearable. Luckily I had someone driving me because I don't think I could have made it on my own. Now I'm feeling much better though it just feels like a very large burn. I still haven't un wrapped it I'm kind of scared to honestly but I'll try to get some pics on here tomorrow.

Few hours after first treatment

Just changed my wrapping and got to see it for the first time! I was pleasantly surprised to see most of that green and the blue and purple already faded out! Can't wait to see how much it fades in the next week or two!

Aftercare?

So I'm a little confused about what I should be doing at this point as far as aftercare. I have been applying aquaphor and some prescription antibiotic cream on it twice a day and keeping it wrapped up with sarand wrap. I was told to only do this for 3 days and then I can leave it unwrapped but I need to keep it moist with aquaphor. She stressed that it was very important to keep it moist and to not let it dry out or scab. I've been continuing to wrap it with sarand wrap because if I don't the aquaphor gets everywhere and it starts to dry out pretty quick so I have to put it on like once an hour. Which I just would not be able to do when I am at work. I figure the wound has to dry up at some point so the skin can start to peel and flake. I'm trying my best to follow the instructions she gave me because I don't want to damage or scar my skin but the instructions are just too vague. What do you all do? Any products you can recommend?

1 week after treatment

My skin is just starting to peel. You can tell on the upper flower that the red is quite a bit lighter where the skin has peeled. Can't wait to see it when the whole things peels!

2 weeks after treatment 1

So my skins still has not completely healed but most of the skin has peeled. Unfortunately, when the skin was peeling I noticed that some green started to show through on the new skin. So some colors are not as faded as I thought they were but I'm still really happy with the results of this first treatment. I still had a lot if fading

Second Treatment Complete!

I just got finished with me treatment a few hours ago. I prepared a little bit better for the pain this time. I used some Dr. Numb and I do think that it helped but only a little bit. I put it in about 40 mins before and kept and ice pack around my waist to try to numb it as much as possible. I also had them give me some lidocaine injections this time in a few spots. I had them numb the area near my belly button and ribs and that helped a lot! But the lidocaine injections are pretty painful as well. Can't wait to see my results. I'll post some pics in a few days

Week after second treatment

Sorry I still haven't put up any pictures. I am still waiting for it to heal and all the dead skin to peel off. I had a little bit of a harder time with the healing process this time around. I know she turned up the laser this time so I had a lot of blisters and a lot more pain and discomfort after the treatment. The past couple of days it has been extremely itchy. I've been trying to leave it alone but I can't help touching it and rubbing it. When I originally got the tattoo I had an allergic reaction to the red ink so now everytime I get a treatment done I get a reaction. I've had to sleep with an ice pack on it at night to keep myself from tearing my skin off in my sleep. I've already caused one small scar from picking at my skin so I need to be careful. So far I do notice some fading especially in the black this time around but the change isn't that drastic. Definitely feeling a little more discouraged after this treatment. It is just so painful and so expensive! I also broke up with my very long term boyfriend a little while ago and it has been hard trying to date when I have this huge gross wound on my side! I'm not waiting quite as long for my next treatment. I really just want to get this over with so I will be going back in again September 25. I will hopefully have some pictures up here in the next day or two.

Pic

Here's a pic. Still healing but it's almost there

Two weeks after second treatment

Tattoo is still healing. I'm starting to get really concerned about what this is going to look like when I've removed all the ink. I've accumulated many scars. Oh well, maybe a cover up is the way to go.

Third treatment is done!

I just had my third treatment done yesterday. This was a hard one to get through. I could feel the difference when she turned up the power this time. Plus, the cooling machine decided to stop working mid way through. So she did a little bit without it which was incredibly painful. But luckily they got it back up and running again to finish the tattoo. The pain afterward wasn't as bad as usual though because she sent me home with some tylenol 3 which helped a lot! Starting to get a little burned out on this but at least I'm already 3 treatments in. I can't believe I've come this far. I will be taking a break until December because my laser tech is going on maternity leave and I'd really like her to be the one to continue my treatment. Plus, I could definitely use a little break anyway. Can't wait to see the results of this treatment. She said it looked like it responded really well! Pictures will be coming soon!

10 days after treatment 3

Noticing more fading in the red after this treatment!

4th Treatment: Achievement Unlocked!

Hey guys,
I know I haven't updated in a while. It's been about 3 months since my last treatment. Finally bit the bullet and got another one done. It's definitely starting to wear me down a bit. And I'm starting to get a little skeptical about the results that I have been promised. But I'm hoping the fading will be good this time around. Pictures to come soon

Is this thing working?

Here it is 11 days after treatment 4. Noticed a little fading but not much. I don't think she is turning the machine up high enough. Right now I believe she has the setting on the picosure around 3 and I believe it goes up to 6. Does anyone else, who is getting treated with picosure, know what setting it is at? It does not look like the yellow is getting picked up at all and the black is really fading slowly. I'm wondering if I should go get a few q-switched treatments because it may work better on the black and save me some money. But I do realize I am only on treatment 4 so my results are pretty good so far. I was only planning on having 4 more treatments. I can't really afford to do any more than that. So it is looking like I will probably have to get a cover up.

Update

Hey guys, I just wanted to post an update before I go in for my 5th treatment tomorrow. It's been almost 2 months since my last treatment and I haven't seen much fading from this last treatment. Hopefully I'll get some better results with this next one. Overall, I have seen some great fading so I wanted to put up a side by side comparison as well as some pre treatment 5 photos.

Pics

3 months after treatment 6

Here's an update of what my tattoo looks like, currently. Treatment 6 is June 19th!

Sorry meant to say 3 months after treatment 5

Got a little ahead of myself!

6th treatment

I had to push my 6th treatment back, so I just had it this morning. This time, I really pointed out to the technician which spots I wanted her to hit hard. Like the black stars and some of the darker areas in the tattoo. They numbed all those spots and from the looks of it, she did zap them pretty hard. Also, she said my red was so light, that we'd be taking the medlite up to the highest setting. I think I'll be seeing some good results with this one. They also are going to quote me a new price since this was my 6th treatment. So I'm crossing my fingers, hoping I'll get to pay a good amount less! Can't wait to post some photos soon :)

Treatment 6 pics

Here's some pics now that my tattoo is healed after treatment 6. Once again, no drastic fading but there is fading. The black star at the bottom is definitely lighter and that part really bugs me. But I'm sure it will continue to fade over the next couple of months just like it did with my last treatment.

Good news!

I just had to share my good news with you all. I just called to find out what my new price quote would be now that I've exceeded 6 treatments. Now I will be paying $300 a treatment instead of $750! So I think I will definitely be going more frequently. I'm really ready to get rid of this thing now that I've been going through this for over a year. Hope everyone is doing well!
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Comments (161)

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If I was you, I would continue lasering. I think you'll get complete removal if you give it TIME, like 2 more years or so.
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aloha fullofregret, Your fading is amazing and now you have an amazing price to go along with it. You are definitely on your way to getting rid of the ink. Good luck! aloha...k PS. Soon you'll have to change your name from fullofregret to something more appropriate. :)
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Going in for my first appointment today. They said the green is the hardest to get rid of but the black and red that i do have will be the quickest. I'm hoping I see results within the first 3 treatments. :(
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I know it's tempting to get treated more frequently with the lower price, but remember that time really is your friend in the healing process. More time = more fading and it also helps prevent scaring or skin texture changes. I've started spacing out my pico treatments by 16 weeks after noticing some roughening of my skin. Hang in there!
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Oh yeah I know. I've been waiting about 3 or 4 months between treatments. I will probably go every 2 months now. My tattoo is usually completely healed within 2 weeks. The more treatments the faster it heals
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Hey! What a great news! :) hopefully not so long to go! Have you decided what you want for a cover-up?
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Not yet. I have to see what I have to work with once I et enough treatments
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You've had a lot of nice fading, it's looking good :) I feel like the yellow won't budge from my skin either... How's that coming along for you? Any better? Or does the yellow seem to keep on lingering for you as well??
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Unfortunately, I don't think the yellow is going to go :( I'll be getting a cover up anyway so I'm more concerned with getting the darker parts of the tattoo to fade.
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Awesome postings! I have an all black tattoo. Do you feel you see more fading of the black with. the picosure or qswitched laser? Thanks so much!!!!
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Honestly, I don't feel that picosure is much better at removing black compared to a q-switched laser. Picosure will dominate purple, green, and blue tho
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Thanks soooo much for this helpful info!!!!
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Your pic on 5/20 looks great! Can't wait to see the results from your recent treatment. Can you give details on what "zap them pretty hard" means (settings)?
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Great news! :) you have come so far! Congrats and let's hope for more fading!
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That's fantastic! You're seeing fading and now you'll be getting a reduce price. Good news all around. Looking forward to the new pictures of what I'm sure will be amazing fading. aloha...k
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You just made me soo much more hopeful. It's hard to find tattoos as large and colorful as this for removal on this website and yours is looking SO GOOD!!! You decided to go with the PicoSure laser?
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Thank you! I'm glad my tattoo could give you hope and peace of mind. I'm certainly feeling hopeful, at this point. Yes, they use picosure on everything except red. The medlite is used on the red
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It is amazing how much your tattoo has faded... I wish you continuing success...
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Thank you! Same to you!
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Thanks for posting. I always look for you specifically when I log on because you have so much red being treated with the pico. It looks great which is very encouraging! I also see a big difference in fading between the 11 days post pics and the most recent. I got a little discouraged immediately after my second treatment because I didn't notice any initial fading..... but it does show after a couple weeks. Looks like your did too.
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You all are giving me hope in seeking out the Pico to be used on mine instead of the qswitch. Amazing fading..
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Thank you! I'm glad the progress of my tattoo can give you some hope as so many people on this site did when I was first starting removal. Just to be clear, the red in my tattoo is being treated withe the medlite laser and the rest with the picosure. I don't know that I would use the picosure on red ink. But I have seen some people on here that do and it does look like you can potentially get some good fading with it.
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Congrats, you have come a long way!! Thanks for keeping us updated and good luck with treatment 6!
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Thanks! You're cover up is looking awesome btw!
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