My Year with PicoSure: Un-sugarcoated. Buffalo, NY

Hey guys. I’ve been a lurker here for a while....

Hey guys. I’ve been a lurker here for a while. Like pretty much everyone on this site, I was once young, dumb, 18, and ended up with a tattoo that I completely loathe. I don’t have many pictures because it’s not something I ever thought I’d want to show anyone, but I’ll put some up once mine calms down a bit as I just had a treatment four days ago. A lot of you are contemplating tattoo removal or just beginning your journeys. Mine’s coming to a close. I thought I’d make a post documenting the reality of my experience with PicoSure now that it’s almost over: The good, the bad, and the ugly. Hope it helps.


I finally made the move to get my monstrosity off in June of 2014, after years of living with regret. I had been to a consult before but never went through with it. My tattoo is small, black outline only, and measures about 1.5”x 2” on my left forearm. It was done professionally. The nurse quoted me $150 per session because it’s so miniscule. The minimum is usually $200. To date, I have spent $1,125 on the removal, and mine’s small compared to some of the other ones I’ve seen here. Reading the posts on this website, I’ve come across a lot of people who signed up for a ‘package deal’ with someone who is ‘sure’ they can take off their ginormous dense quarter sleeve in just four measly treatments. And I try not to snort out loud every time because ladies and gentlemen, that is a flat out lie. It’s now been over a year since my treatment started and I have had EIGHT sessions. And I will probably need at least two more. I’m not trying to be pessimistic, and I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’m telling you the truth. If you want your tattoo gone, it’s going to take time. And if you’re not ready to deal with that then I would seriously suggest a cover up or an excision. But for me, it’s been 1,000% worth it. The Picosure laser is an awesome tool and I’ve been totally satisfied with the results. It’s so faded now that I’m sure it will be completely gone within the next 4 or 5 months.


Does it hurt? Well as most of you know, yes. It really frickin’ hurts. Worse than getting it? Yep. Worse than looking down at the stupid ugly thing every single day for nine years? NOPE. Pain is subjective to the person. What feels bearable for one individual might feel really awful for another. But there’s no denying it. You’re not going to get through this without grimacing. Luckily, the procedure itself is relatively quick. Mine usually takes all of 30-45 seconds. My clinic doesn’t offer lidocaine but they do have this huge fan with a Shop-Vac sized hose attached that blows cold air on the area before and during the whole thing, which helps a lot. Then a quick dab of Aquaphor and a gauze pad and I’m out the door. Aquaphor is the only thing I’ve ever used on it and it’s the only thing that my nurse recommended to me. It’s great. I personally wouldn’t mess with anything else. That and ice. I’ve been lucky as far as healing goes. Mine will get small blisters for a week and then fade. I have popped a blister on accident which left a mark for a bit but it eventually went away. I haven’t had any issues with scarring so far! There’s not much pain afterwards but the itching suuuuuucks. It really, really itches. Just try to keep your hands off it. Also: no tanning!


This is what it’s really all about. The embarrassment and the guilt of getting a tattoo that you regret. Not being able to wear what you want. Feeling depressed and disgusted with yourself and like a total dumba** on a daily basis. It’s not easy. I hide my tattoo whenever I can. Thankfully I’m at a point now where I can cover it with makeup and it’s barely noticeable. But I’ve gotten the comments. “What happened to your arm? Why is it covered in blisters? Is that a really old tattoo? Did you draw on yourself with pen?” And they hurt. Every time. And I have to explain myself. Every time. I made it through eight months of nursing school with no one even knowing that I had it. Until one day at lunch when I was trying to talk my younger friend (she just turned 19) out of getting a very large cross with angel wings spontaneously tattooed on her side. She kept asking me why she shouldn’t do it before I got frustrated and loudly barked that I had spent almost a year and a grand getting my spontaneous tattoo removed and that she should think on it for a while before jumping the gun. Whoops. Someone yelled from the next table, “You’re having a tattoo removed?” And was the end of it. I went beat red. Before I knew it twenty girls had their eyes on me, and they all wanted to see it and ask a million questions. I was mortified, but I pulled up my sleeve and let them poke at me anyways. Then something happened. I realized that the questions they were asking me weren’t derogatory… they weren’t judging me. They were genuinely interested. They didn’t want to know what it was or why I wanted it gone, they wanted to know what clinic I went to, how much it cost, and how badly it hurt. I looked around at my class and realized that almost every single one of them has at least one tattoo. Many of them are inked fairly heavily. I was a fool to think I was alone in my regrets. And you are too. After my spiel one of my closest friends in the program said that she was going to look into it because she hated one of hers so much. And for the first time since this whole process started, I took a deep breath and felt okay about it. I know many of you are struggling with the same self-hate over your tattoo. But at the end of the day you have to remember that we’re all human. We all make mistakes. I hope this post has helped some of you who are considering removal or just starting down this long and emotionally and financially exhausting road. I’ll definitely post pictures of mine if anyone is interested. If you’re going to do this my best advice is to be patient. Don’t get your hopes up, but don’t lose hope either. It’ll be worth it in the end, at least it has been for me. Thanks for reading.

Here's a couple pics, 4 days post 8th treatment

The Skin Center at Southgate Medical Group

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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