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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Almost 3 months since my last treatment
It has been almost 3 months since I went in for treatment 6. I have noticed some more fading but it still has a ways to go. I'm getting treatment 7 done this Monday the 29th.
Treatment 7 went really well. The medlite laser they had been using on me in the past broke, so they got a new updated medlite and the expert for the new laser was sitting in on my treatment. I asked her some questions and she seemed to think full removal of my tattoo is possible, but I'm still a little skeptical of that but it's nice to have a little hope. I asked her which laser is best for the yellow and she said the pico was best. She also said she did see frosting on the yellow so it is picking it up. I insisted that they really turn up the power this time. They had me at a 2.2 and they claim that 2 is actually the highest setting so I was only 2 notches away. I could certainly feel the power increase and my tattoo hurt for a lot longer after this treatment. It burned for about an hour and a half afterward. The tattoo also looked really really red after this treatment so I'm taking that as a good sign. As always, I'm very excited for this to heal so I can see the results and share them all with you :)
Treatment 7 pic
Here's a picture 17 after treatment 7. I notice the most fading in the black and red
Approaching treatment 8
I'll be having treatment 8 this Friday the 21st. Here's an update of what my tattoo looks like 6 weeks after treatment 7
7 weeks since treatment 8
Sorry I haven't updated in a while, life has been pretty hectic, but in a good way :)
I've noticed that my tattoo is still fading since the last treatment it's been 7 weeks since T8 and I'll probably go for #9 in a month or so. Still trying to work up the courage. Treatment 8 was the worst by far. I'm usually pretty tough and can make it through the 30-40mins with just 1 or 2 breaks. I constantly had to keep stopping her. Think I even passed out a little, but the results have been worth it! Hopefully just two more treatment till I look at getting a cover up
I just had treatment 9 done 2 weeks ago. The treatment itself wasn't too bad. I really prepared this time. I put my numbing cream on an hour prior and had a couple painkillers left from a prescription and it did wonders! I didn't have to take a break at all! I notice more black fading this time. Some outlines have disappeared. I honestly thought my tattoo would have been a little further along by now, but I am still glad that it's continuing to fade. I'm remaining hopeful. Especially after seeing a couple articles about this new tattoo removal cream coming out. I think technology in the upcoming years is going to change everything. So I just need to be patient. Best wishes to everyone and happy fading!
Just got treatment 10 done this morning! Saw her put the laser on the highest setting. So we shall see what happens... Pics will be up when it's healed
Treatment 10 results
I wanted to post some pics after treatment 10. After now reaching the double digits, I'm really starting to get frustrated with the removal process. I am happy with the progress I've made, but I can tell that I still have a ways to go. I was originally planning to get a cover up around this point, I just thought it would be more faded... I'm also terrified of screwing it up more with another cover up. I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm tired of being in this removal process. Just the thought of going to a removal treatment sends me into a full blown panic attack. This last time I used numbing cream, took Xanax and pain killers (both prescribed) and received lidocaine injections. All that was not enough, I was still screaming in pain all the way home.
Is there anyone else feeling this way? I was feeling so hopeful but I'm starting to feel that diminish. When I show people my tattoo they are shocked that I've had 10 treatments because the tattoo is still so visible. I'm sorry for spreading this negativity, I just needed to vent and I feel that this is the best place to do it.