Two days ago I had my first treatment in what I know will be a long, brutal journey; yet it is something that I just have to do. I've lied to myself for too long and put up with what was an INCREDIBLY stupid decision I made in my late teen years. My tattoo is all black, raised slightly in one portion (scarring I understand is a possibility as such), and quite heavily layered. I am having the removal done with a Picosure laser and I've been told I should expect 8+ treatments for complete removal.
The treatment itself was marginally worse than getting the tattoo in the first place, but it was a different type of pain, think elastic bands thwacking you constantly for 5 minutes, so I can see how some would find it worse than I found it. I am going to a clinic in Surrey, BC with Dr. Shah and so far him and his staff seem very knowledgable and fill me with confidence that I have come to the right place. They bandaged it up with a special type of bandage to let it breath and then once I got home I proceeded to take off the bandages to see multiple blisters forming. I was warned with Picosure these are very common and just part of recovery. One blister, as you can see from the picture, burst whilst I snagged it on my couch napping. This lead to a panic on my part that I had effectively scarred myself but I called in and they told me that I needn't worry too much but never to pop blisters on purpose (which of course I never would)!
Day two of recovery and I have been applying Polysporin periodically, stayed indoors and let my tattoo completely air out. The site of treatment is slightly itchy, blistered (with some giant ones!) and looks like it has a whitish sort of film over the top which could be either the Polysporin or recovering skin. Impossible to judge anything so far but I am glad i have finally got the ball rolling after multiple consultations without wanting to commit. But deep down I know this has to happen. I plan to buy lots of long sleeved shirts and skin tight arm covers (like you see in the NBA) to keep it covered from the sun and also to hide the area most of the time during treatment from others since I imagine it will start looking pretty awful!
Ultimately my expectations are to have all the ink removed, however long it takes, with at best an imperfect skin surface and at worst a ghost of the tattoo. I am hopeful that if it does become a ghost it will be not TOO noticeable or that it will just look like a birth mark of sorts to someone who didn't know I previously had a tattoo on my arm. I've talked to three different laser clinics who have all told me that these expectations are very reasonable and that they believe the end result will actually be better than I imagine (since I went in with the expectation of scaring and a ghost).
I will keep this updated periodically if people are interested and answer any questions anyone might have. We're all in this together eh, there's no real outlet in real life!