Picosure and Enlighten - Cape Girardeau, MO

Ok, so shortly after I turned 19 in 2000, I...

Ok, so shortly after I turned 19 in 2000, I decided to get a tattoo. For whatever reason, I chose a Celtic design that appealed to me at the time. The tattoo was supposed to have black outlines and then color added later on. I liked it well enough without the color, so I never went back for session two. A few years passed by and I realized that I no longer liked it because it did not have any significant meaning to me and the lines weren't nearly as sharp and crisp as it was when I first had it done, so in 2012, I decided to start laser tattoo removal.

Going into tattoo removal, I didn't know much about it. I selected a doctor's office that had a machine and booked an appointment. I didn't really ask any questions but I do know they had a YAG machine. I had 2 treatments and I'm almost certain both treatments were underpowered. I didn't feel much pain because I had been injected with Lidocaine shots. After the 2nd treatment, there was almost no change whatsoever. I had a 3rd appointment booked but found out the machine was broken and send in for repairs. After a couple months, they got the machine back and scheduled treatment #3. Before that appointment, the machine broke again and was sent back off. Meanwhile, I grew frustrated and called a different place that had an IPL machine that promised to remove tattoos. Instead of booking a session, the doctor had me pay $50 do to a test spot. The test spots blistered and when they were completely healed, those spots had permanent hypo pigmented marks. I've since researched and learned that IPL is NOT an ideal machine for tattoo removal. Months went by and the clinic I originally visited bought a new machine since the old YAG couldn't be fixed. Their new machine was the Picosure. To date, I've had 11 treatments on my tattoo. The first 4 treatments I had used Lidocaine injections (at my insistence, not the doctor's) and tattoo barely budged. The doctor believes the medicine in the injections was blocking the laser from doing it's job. For the treatments after that, they used a numbing cream and then they eventually bought a chiller machine at treatment #6 (which helped immensely!!!). The first couple Pico treatments were at 4.0 spot size and then it was dropped to a 3.0 spot size with 100% PicoBoost. For my last two treatments, the spot size was 2.0mm, 100% boost and the joules were somewhere around 5 I think. My tattoo has significantly faded since Picosure treatment number 5 and while everyone's body is different, I truly believe the lidocaine was prohibiting the laser from doing it's job with me.

Like everyone else on this site, there are days when I feel frustrated with the process and then there are other days were I see results. However, compared to the original tattoo, it's come a LONG way and I'm hoping that in 5 or 6 more treatments (maybe less?) my tattoo will be gone for good.

4 weeks post tx #11

Here are a couple pics that I took last night. You'll have to excuse the crazy angles. It's a little difficult trying to take a picture of my lower backside by myself. The tattoo still seems a little darker than what it appears in these pics. It was exactly 4 weeks since treatment number 11 and I go for number 12 on April 4th (exactly 8 weeks since the last session). My plan is to keep going every 8 weeks, so I'm hoping this will be completely faded by the end of the year.

Treatment #12

Ok, so here are my pictures from the 12th treatment. There has been very little change that last 2 treatments and I'm becoming discouraged. Sorry for the upside down and sideways pictures. Wish I knew how to change that.

Trying out Enlighten

So I went onto the Cutera Enlighten website and found a doctor's office 3 hours from me offers that laser. I spoke to the doctor and sent him some pictures of my tattoo and he quoted me the exact same price I'm paying at the other clinic (he didn't know how much I was paying). I'm excited about trying this laser out since it's the picosecond technology with the correct wavelength needed for black ink. I've already booked an appointment for May 16th, which will be exactly 6 weeks from treatment 12.

Comparison Picture

Ok, here's a comparison pic post treatments 9 and 11. It's a disappointing to see very little fading between TWO treatments - and both those treatments were 2mm spot size, 5.25 joules and 100% boost. That's as high as the machine will go!!!

I think I've hit a plateau with Picosure because the ink was so deep and dense. I can't wait to try out the Enlighten! I'm hoping the correct wavelength of 1064 with the picosecond technology with blast the rest of that ink away.

2nd Enlighten Treatment

I'm way overdue on an update, but I was pretty discouraged after my 1st Enlighten treatment. I saw almost no change after and I believe it's because my ink was deeper than the settings they used. The first treatment was one pass with a 4mm spot size. On the second treatment, we did 6mm spot size with the highest joules and then another pass with 5mm spot size with the highest joules for that spot size. In the picture I attached, the bottom is one week after the 1st Enlighten, but there was never any real change. In the top pic, it's two weeks after the 2nd Enlighten and you can see a huge difference! I'm coming up on 6 weeks post and I'm still seeing fading. When I hit 8 weeks, I'll post another pic comparing with the pic where I'm 2 weeks post treatment.. As of right now, I'm loving the results from Enlighten!! Let me know if you any questions, I would be glad to answer them for you!

8 weeks post 2nd Enlighten treatment

Here's a comparison pic. The top picture is today, post 8 weeks and the bottom pic is approximately 2 weeks after my 2nd Enlighten treatment. A little more fading, but I think most of what I saw occurred in the first couple weeks. Tomorrow I go in for my third Enlighten treatment!

3rd Enlighten with the newly approved PFD Patch

Just finished up my 3rd treatment and we used the PFD patch, which allowed for 3 passes. 1st pass was 6mm spot size and 2.1 joules, the 2nd pass was 5mm spot size and 3.0 joules, and the 3rd pass was the same settings as the first pass. I'm really excited to see the results from this treatment!! I'm attaching a picture taken before, with the patch after the 1st pass and then directly after my treatment.

3 days post Enlighten #3

It's so hard trying to take a picture of my own backside, lol. But here are a couple of pics in different light. There seems to be a little bit of hyperpigment, but that seems to be normal for me in the first couple weeks after a treatment. I'm confident it will fade (and if not, I already have 4% hydroquinone I can use on it).
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