Words of solace: Big professional tattoos & removal.
- Last updated: 8 months ago
This is an open letter to both myself and to the specific community that has large professional tattoos that aren't ugly, are well-done; that are something that you wanted - but you now feel a distinct sense of disconnection from.Picoway, Picosure, Micropens, Creams, Scrubs and everything besides won't help. Even in those rare situations where money is no object, they're simply not able to help when it comes to the full-removal of large, professionally done tattoos. I'm sorry.That biting sense of regret/anxiety/panic that nests in your gut is, unfortunately, something you'll have to work through. Professionally, well-done tattoos are meant to be permanent.What started for me as a small nagging doubt, amplified into full blown dread that kept me awake a night and nigh inoperable at work. My endless researching into removal just provided more fuel for the fire as I gradually came to realize that there is nothing out there - but I continued searching; hoping.I'm writing this note to tell you to stop. Stop torturing yourself. Stop blaming yourself. The effort that you pour into finding something to cling on to a hope is better used coming to terms with your reality. Make peace with yourself. Rediscover the meaning or allow the meaning of your tattoo(s) to evolve into something that can give you some solace. Embrace them again.There are lots of reasons to be hopeful for something in the future that are frequently discussed on this forum. Let me save you the bother of finding them yourself and perpetuating the research/torture cycle:Cipher Pharmaceuticals & Alec Falkenham - Bisphosphonate Liposomal Tattoo Removal (BLTR): The cream that targets the microphages that retain the tattoo ink and provokes the body into replacing them with new ones, excreting the old ink filled ones. The most recent update (October from the CEO of Cipher confirmed that the product has gone through testing on pig's ears and is now being considered by the FDA and Health Canada to enter what will be 3 stages of human trials. An expected 5-10 years before a commercial product will become available.ClearIt & US Stem Cell - Eraser (TM): This one is on the horizon. Not cleared by the FDA as yet but anticipated (but not guaranteed) to be cleared by early 2017, it is being described as the first (approaching) 100% particle removal from the dermis with a single treatment. Unfortunately there is practically no information about what is described only as a "unique tool" other than its ability to both mobilize and extract pigment from the skin. The lack of information over and above press releases from US Stem Cell (formerly Bioheart) announcing the intention and confirmation of the investment in ClearIt, has led many in the tattoo removal community to become sceptical of the claims or of the existence of the product at all. The page on Clinical Trials that looks to be associated with Eraser appears to have had no update since its entry in 2009.Princeton University & Smits & Suckewer - Femtosecond Laser Tattoo Removal: A continuation in the development of existing laser removal processes. The Femtosecond Laser fires with million times more intensity than its predecessors with barely any heating of the skin. Its ability to remove tattoo ink has been described as "unprecedented in effectiveness, speed, and comfort." It received the necessary funding for FDA testing in 2014. It's worth noting that this is still a laser procedure - so the cost is likely comparable to existing methods.And that's it. I guarantee that as you bounce around the net trying to find more information on these developments that you will find no more pertinent information than what is right here, you will just harm yourself more. Just breathe; let the panic subside. It is incredibly likely that we will live through times where all tattoos will no longer be seen as a permanent commitment. It is truly a question when not if.For what it's worth, I don't regret getting tattooed. I feel as though I could have had more forethought as I started to collect them. I had the good fortune of encountering a great artist on her way up, the first tattoo I ever got I loved, it is loaded with truly important meaning. Thereafter, I fell in love with her work and the reasons for my tattoos became more trivial in my wish to collect more and more of it. My latest piece was my biggest to date, a half sleeve in full colour. The tattoo itself is beautiful, it does retain important meaning to me, but a combination of both the size and feeling that I compromised on the design planted a seed that my now neurotic brain as matured into full blown regret. Of all of them. It is of course, ridiculous. I am in a much better spot than so many unfortunate folks here. I won't have to hide it, it isn't something I have to feel embarrassed about - it is, nevertheless, not a part of me yet.For my part I will be taking my money and going to talk to a counsellor. For now, acceptance is the only path available to me and while I might regret my tattoo for a while, I know that I would always regret not trying to work through this and let this self-destructive behaviour do some damage where it truly matters - my relationships, career, and life.