Tattoo Removal - Left Shoulder, 4 Treatments So Far, Q Switch Vs Pico - Victoria, BC

I started my tattoo removal in November of 2013. I...

I started my tattoo removal in November of 2013. I have had four treatments with the Q-Switched Yag in Nanaimo, BC and have my first Picosure appointment scheduled for today in Victoria, BC, Canada. I have experienced a fair amount of fading with the Q-switched and am overall happy with the results so far. The solid black in my tattoo is fading and breaking up and the red Chinese characters are almost gone. I do have a bit of scarring which could be a combination of the original tattoo process or one of the laser treatments I’ve received so far.

The Picosure has been getting so much hype in the tattoo removal world so I am excited to see what all the fuss is about – and if it is actually worth the price (I pay $150 each treatment with the Q-switched and $350 for the Picosure).

Background about my tattoo:
I got this tattoo at age 17 and it is 11 years old. As you will see in the original photo, the black ink was quite heavy and dense. The tattoo is on my left shoulder. I am embarrassed that I got it.

Laser treatments:
I didn’t use any lidocaine numbing cream for my first two treatments. It is definitely a painful process. I’d describe it as someone sticking a pin into my skin and dragging it along in short little snapping motions. The pain makes my body experience involuntary spasms. It hurts a lot but is tolerable. I’ve started using EMLA lidocaine cream and it numbs the pain quite a bit. Each treatment is more powerful than the last so the pain definitely increases with each.

Okay, that is basically it. My apologies for the poor photo documentation. I can’t wait to have this mistake off of my back. I can’t wait to wear backless dresses. I can’t wait to not have to cover up at the beach.

First Picosure Experience - Fifth laser treatment

I had my first Picosure laser treatment at Cosmedica Laser Center in Victoria. In preparation for this treatment, I applied Emla lidocaine numbing cream three hours before my appointment. My skin reacted slightly with the numbing cream but the technician said that the reaction was nothing to worry about. She said most patients have a slight reaction to the Emla, either a reddening or blanching of the skin. The technician seemed very knowledgeable and professional.

My fourth treatment with the Q-switched was very painful, so I was a bit nervous for this treatment. To my surprise, the Picosure laser was slightly less painful than the Q-switched. It also seemed quicker as only one run of the laser is needed (compared to the two runs from the Q-switched).

Overall, I had a very positive experience with the Picosure. I can only hope that the results are just as positive! I hope the extra money for the treatment was worth it. I can’t wait to compare and share some photos in 2-3 weeks.

Happy fading and thanks so much for all the support. :)

Two weeks after first Picosure treatment

Hello tattoo removal community,

This photo was taken two weeks after my first picosure treatment (fifth treatment total). To be honest, I was hoping for better results. I do see some nice fading near the bottom and in the middle of the tattoo, but other than that, things seem about the same as after my fourth treatment with the q-switched. I guess I will just have to wait and see if it fades even more in the upcoming weeks. At this stage (and perhaps it is a bit early to know) I am not sure that the picosure is worth the extra cost. Although, my recovery was a lot smoother after the picosure treatment. I didn’t have to deal with nasty blisters and itchy scabs. Alright, that’s it for now. Happy fading.

Four weeks after first Pico treatment

See photo for my 4 week results. I am still a bit discouraged by the picosure results at this point. I think it may have lightened things a bit overall... I think? I don't see much of a difference from my fourth treatment with the q-switched. I am trying to be patient though.

I am still unsure which route to take with my next treatment. My work schedule really complicates things at the moment so I'm not in a big rush. I will just see where I am at in the next month or so.

Sixth treatment down! Second with the Picosure.

Hello tattoo removal friends,

Well, I am actually quite pleased with the results from my first picosure treatment. My boyfriend and I both think that it caused some impressive even fading throughout my tattoo. As we all know, patience is a key part of this process and I think I may have judged my results too soon. After waiting seven weeks I re-assessed everything and decided that the fading and the easy recovery warranted a second try with the picosure. I booked my second appointment last week and was able to get in for a treatment yesterday. I had a new technician this time and after consulting the dermatologist at the clinic she decreased the spot size of the laser (increased concentration of each blast). She also went over the tattoo twice. Today the tattoo is red and tender (as usual), but as of yet, I don’t have any blisters to deal with. I guess I will just follow the aftercare procedure and use polysporin as necessary and a lot of aloe vera. I have started using bio-oil every now and again too.

I always feel a bit optimistic after each treatment… like I am closer to the end goal. I have kind of given up on the magic number of ten treatments needed. After six treatments my tattoo is definitely still there. Still there but fading away… slowly, slowly. Oh, and I’ve also started laser hair removal treatments on my body. Just because this laser thing is so inexpensive and so fun :p Obviously sarcasm - I passed the $1000 mark on money spent on my tattoo removal so far.

Happy fading everyone :)
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Comments (41)

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Your fading looks great!! It is so expensive, but in the end if it's what you want it is worth every penny. You should write a review for your Laser Hair Removal, we have a whole community dedicated to that. 
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Thanks Eva. At least the 8-10 week spacings between treatments spread out the expense a bit :) I will look into the hair removal community.
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I'm glad the Picosure is working out for you! I've been happy with it. I just can't seem to motivate myself to make another appointment. I think I'm just fatigued and need a break!
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Yeah, sometimes a break is definitely necessary. Take all the time that you need - this process definitely can be draining. I find that the picosure treatments aren't as traumatic for me... the laser doesn't leave huge blisters and the recovery seems to be a lot easier. Do you feel the same?
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Absolutely! I have never had blisters or scabs with the Picosure. After each session I start wondering if the laser was turned up high enough to be effective, but then I'm amazed once it starts fading!
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I'm also a bit disappointed with my Pico results. Unfortunately I don't think Pico is that great for black tattoos when they become really faded. I'm gonna give the R20 a try next with the RevLite, have you considered that instead? :-)
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Hi Chad, yeah I guess maybe I had unrealistic expectations of the hyped up picosure. I am content with the general overall fading I've experienced, just don't think that it warrants the price difference. I think I'll go back to the q-switched again. Unfortunately, I am unaware of any revlite laser removal in my area. Perhaps I will look into it more in the upcoming weeks. Sorry to hear you weren't blown away by your picosure results either.
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It does seem to be that dense black tattoos respond better to Q switch... Picosure sure does amazing job but I can't see it being any quicker with black than other lasers. But, not having blisters must be amazing. Keep us updated on your process! :)
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this is great news. I have an all black dense tattoo and been using q switch and getting great results. was contemplating picosure lasers but hesitant because of the COST. and also heard that picosure isn't the best for darker skin tones since the laser wavelength isn't as long as the yag used in q switch so it tends to "bleach" the skin. for how long....I don't know .
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Yeah, I am curious to see what 6-8 weeks post session brings, then I will decide which route to go next. I am getting quite nervous about scarring (probably because I googled keloid scarring after tattoo removal... eek) so I am happy with the easy recovery I've experienced after this past treatment. :)
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Yes, the picosure does cost A LOT more than the q-switched. As far as bleaching the skin goes, I have noticed quite a few pale blotches of skin where the red ink used to be. I feel like this bleaching worsened after the pico treatment but I'm not overly concerned about it at this time (as my skin is quite fair to begin with). Time will tell which laser is more effective for my tattoo. I think I will do another comparison in a week or so. I'm glad you are seeing such nice fading after your latest treatment! Keep us updated :)
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Hi! In a very similar situation myself at the moment. Had my Pico treatment nearly three weeks ago and have not yet seen much difference, though I appreciate this takes time. Quite reassuring to see the comment below about seeing fading from three weeks onwards. I'm also unsure whether Picosure is worth the cost, and truthfully, I don't think I'm going to be having a second treatment with it and will stick with the RevLite. Do let us know if you see any improvement. :-)
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Yes, it is very reassuring to see the comment below. I'm just trying to forget about my tattoo until my next comparison in a week or two. If I don't see any significant fading in the next six weeks I will get another treatment with the Q-switched. Good luck with RevLite. I like your countdown calendar, perhaps I will make myself one too :)
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I've had 7 q-switch and 2 Picosure treatments. I agree the recovery after Picosure is easier, and I have had much better results with it. I don't begin to see fading until at least 3 weeks after the treatment, but I see the most around 8-12 weeks. Be patient and happy fading!
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This is great encouraging news, thank you for sharing it!
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very reassuring to heard picosure fading doesn't really happen until week 3. i have been going back and forth deciding to continue with q switch or switch to picosure. my friend had AMAZING results with picosure on all black tattoo...so i'll be doing that . if it doesn't work i'll go back to the q switch...but i with her results (with us having similar tattoos) i would REGRET if I didn' t at least try one treatment. ! :)
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Like you I started with a q switch, had a great deal of fading. I've switched to picosure and had two more treatments but to be honest, I don't see a lot of change overall with the pico. I have green ink and the picosure has faded the green well, but I think the q switch did better on the black. The pico is a bit more expensive (450 compared to 370) and it's less painful, heals much faster, but I'm thinking about going back to the first laser. I'll check in on you later this year and see if you think there's a difference.
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Yeah, absolutely! Keep updating! I enjoy following your progress since our tattoos are similar.
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Yeah, I am definitely thinking about returning to the q-switched. At over double the price plus a further drive, I am unsure if I want to continue with the picosure. I may try it once more before I go back to the q-switched. I will keep you all updated :)
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How has your tattoo doing since picosure? Send us some as soon as you get healed! :)
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wow you are getting great results! thanks so much for posting!
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Thank you! I'm glad you are seeing significant fading from your first treatment. That is so encouraging. The black ink in my tattoo is the stubborn ink but it seems to be slowly breaking up and fading out.
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It's great to see your progress! I have had 7 q-switch and 2 Picosure treatments. I'm very happy with the Picosure. I hope you get good results from it, as s well!
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what colors were mainly in your tattoo?
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Black lines (some thin, some a bit thicker), green, and purple. The thin, black lines are completely gone, and half of the green is. The thicker black lines and some of the purple are more stubborn.
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