Tattoo Regret! Two Week Old Tattoo! - Columbus, OH

Hi all! Like many of you here, I am going through...

Hi all! Like many of you here, I am going through a very hard time excepting my only two week old tattoo and what I have done to my body. Seeing all of the stories on this site has helped provide me with some comfort so I thought I would share my story in order to do the same for other people.

For the past one or two years, I've thought about getting my tattoo. It wasn't a spontaneous or rushed decision. I knew I wanted something that incorporated a Sri Yantra, a hindu diagram characterized by nine interlocking triangles. It's a symbol that resonates well with my spiritual beliefs and I knew I just had to use it in a tattoo. I decided to go for a design with the triangles making up the center of a mandala. I put off actually getting the tattoo for a very long time while I saved up the money for it.

About a month ago I finally talked to an artist that I did extensive research on to create my tattoo. He was very skilled and specialized in geometric tattoos. I didn't have my own design for the rest of the mandala, so I told him that he could come up with something for it. I had no reservations about this based on his other work I had seen. All I told him is that I wanted it to look "soft" and flow with my upper arm. Looking back, one thing that I should've taken as a warning is that he really didn't take much time to talk to me about the design. My "consultation" lasted like two minutes and he didn't even take notes on what I wanted. But I went ahead with it anyways thinking whatever he came up with would end up working out. Stupid.

As the date of my appointment approached a had a couple of moments where I thought about canceling because of financial reasons. (And also I think deep down I knew I didn't really even care about getting it anymore). But I had already put a payment of $150 down, so I felt sort of trapped. I kept telling myself, you've wanted this for years and this is the only time you're going to have the money to do it. Do it now while you can. Again stupid.

The day came and I went to my appointment. He showed me the design he came up with when I got there. I had asked to see it several days before my appointment so I could decide if I liked the design enough, but he told me he wouldn't have it done until the day of because he had been super busy with other tattoos. When I looked at the outline he had came up with, I really did like it. It wasn't exactly what I had in my head, but I thought it was a nice design nonetheless so I went for it. I figured he would fill it in with soft shading and dot work since I told him I wanted it to flow and be softer. I was wrong. He filled in the stencil with very dark and bold designs. I guess I should have reiterated myself before he started? It also ended up being a lot bigger than I envisioned, almost my whole upper left arm. The third thing that I don't like about it is the positioning. Instead of starting at my shoulder it starts just above my elbow. I think it looks off balance and it really bothers me. These are all things that I feel like I could have prevented, but when he placed the outline on my arm it just didn't look so big or off center because of how thin and light the lines were I guess.

When I left the shop I kept trying to tell myself I liked it. I had convinced myself I did, at least for the first night. The next day I had a melt down. I started panicking, examining every aspect of it and pointed out the things I didn't like. I started to realize just how big and dark it look on my petite body and pale skin. It was just all wrong for me. The style just isn't ME. I at least wish I wouldn't have gotten it on my arm!

Feeling trapped, remorseful, and oh so silly for even wanting this thing in the first place, I began to fall into a depression. For the whole first week after I got it I cried everyday. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sit through my classes or work without thinking about it. One day I left work early because I couldn't hold myself together any longer. By the end of the week I had lost five pounds. It was like I was punishing myself.

It is now the end of the second week since I got it. I can eat now, but I still find myself upset about it at least once a day. I've still been crying some days, but I guess it's gotten a little better. It seems so extreme and ridiculous that I would let something like a tattoo have this much of an affect on me. It seems like no one understands. My boyfriend tried to be sympathetic with me at first, but he thinks I'm crazy for continuing to be unhappy over something like a tattoo that I can't change. "The decisions made, it's done, just except it!" he'll say. Easier said than done! I'm trying.

The only thing that provides me with some comfort is that it's not a bad tattoo at all. It's definitely good work by a skilled artist, so things could be worse. But that doesn't change the fact that it doesn't feel right on my body. It's not me, it's not my style. I honestly don't even want tattoos anymore. It's just not the way I want my body to look. I do really like them on other people and I like the idea of them! But no, just not for me! Why did I think they were in the first place?!?!?! I'm extremely frustrated with myself. What did I do to my skin? Why did I spend all that money that I could have used for more important things? I can't help but feel like I've ruined myself :(

Since maybe the day after I got my tattoo I've been obsessively looking up laser tattoo removal. If anything looking at successful removals provides me with a small amount of comfort. My tattoo is all black ink at least, and my skin is very very pale. I've heard that these things make full removal more likely. I am scared of the possibility of skin discoloration or an outline of my tattoo persisting. I've thought that it might be worth it either way though because if my skin was odd looking after the process, I could get a smaller, lighter tattoo over part of the area to distract from it. Another thing I'm concerned about is that my tattoo may have scarred slightly. It's a lot of line work, and some of the lines are still slightly raised. It's not noticeable to the eye, just when I rub my fingers over it. It is only two weeks old so maybe this will go away? If it doesn't though, does anyone know if slight raised lines would inhibit removal or give me a poor outcome? Any advice or input is greatly appreciated!

Like I said, my tattoo isn't bad work so I would hate to go through removal and end up making my arm look worse than the original tattoo. I keep going back and forth on whether I should continue to research removal or just work on accepting my tattoo as now being a part of me. On one hand it's very ironic that my tattoo is spiritual in meaning and a Sri Yantra represents the journey from the material world to the realization of the oneness of all things. Well the way I've been obsessing about it is very materialistic and unspiritual of me. Maybe this tattoo is the perfect tool for a journey to work on these things within myself that are causing me great pain simply because of a tattoo. On the other hand, if the technology exists to remove it, maybe I should go for it. Either way though, I need to accept it for what it is for the time being and stop these negative thoughts about it. It's not healthy at all.

I have an appointment this Friday, the 13th, with a plastic surgeon in Columbus, Ohio. The consultation cost $40, but at least I can get some information from him and see what he has to say for some peace of mind. Then based on what he estimates the cost to be per session, I can start saving up. I'm not sure if this will even be possible though because, well, I'm a broke college student living off financial aid refund checks. I have no idea if I could make it work seeing as my tattoo is a decent size. I have found a place in Pennsylvania called Go! Tattoo Removal. They are a bit of a drive from me, but they charge a flat rate of $200 per session. I could possibly handle this if I got a new job maybe serving tables where I'll be making more money. $200 every 8 weeks or so seems like it could be manageable. Baby steps though. I'm going to try not to stress or think about that until I meet with the doctor on Friday. I will post an update on what he says.

And again, any advice or thoughts you all may have would be very much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read my story :)

Thoughts and Decisions..

Hi everyone! It's been about a month since I made my initial post, so I thought I would give you an update. Even if nobody reads this, it's kind of nice just to have a way to express all of these feelings I have as a result of this situation. It can get sort of lonely because nobody else in my life seems to really understand. When I tell them how upset I am, I feel like they just think I'm being ridiculous.

But anyways, things haven't really gotten a whole lot better honestly. Many people on here and in real life advised me to give it time, because maybe I'm "just in shock" or I'll "learn to love it." Well, here I am a month and a half later and I still despise my tattoo. I still think about it constantly. I still usually cry at least once a day after thinking about what I've done. When I wake up in the morning, it's the first thing that comes to my mind. At first I think maybe it's all a dream, then the impending feeling of disappointment and regret sinks in as I realize it's real. Will this ever go away? I long for the days before I got this tattoo when all of this weight wasn't on my shoulders. I'm constantly stressed about it. There was maybe a week long period after I got my tattoo when I wasn't worrying about it for some reason. I'm not sure what happened, but that didn't last long. I think it's because it's getting warming, so I'm thinking about how much it's going to suck this summer when I'm not going to want to wear tank tops and typical short sleeved shirts because my tattoo will show. It's not that I'm embarrassed of it necessarily, I just don't want to look down at my arm or in the mirror and see it myself. It's better when I can pretend it's not there.

I know that this is not okay, this is not normal. When you decide to permanently decorate your body, you should be ecstatic and proud of it. It's should make you feel happy and like you've enhanced yourself. I feel exactly opposite. I know that this is not going to go away. I'm passed "learning to like it" at this point. Besides, I don't want to force myself to learn to like something that didn't turn out right. If I don't like it because it's not my style, then I don't like it. So I've decided that I need to do something about it instead of wallowing in self pity.

Because I'm going to most likely be covering my tattoo with clothes anyways, I figured I might as well start laser treatments sooner rather than later. I don't care if it takes me one, two, even three years to get my tattoo off, as long as it happens eventually. I'd like to start my treatments around May when I hit the three month mark. What I'm thinking right now is that I'd get one done in May, then wait until August to get my next one in order to be able to enjoy the summer without having to worry about covering it too much. I figure it won't look too much different after only one treatment, so if I do want to wear tank tops and what not I could. I will most likely go to Go! Tattoo Removal, as they are the ones that charge the flat rate of $200. That's really all I could afford, plus I'm still not convinced that opting for picosure would be worth the crazy price. Because of my money situation and distance from Go!, I'll probably have to space my sessions 3-ish months apart. This will definitely be a long process for me, but I feel like I have to do it. The only thing that is on the back of my mind making me hesitant is this news of a tattoo removal cream. (Google Bisphosphonate Liposomal Tattoo Removal). It sounds promising, wayyy cheaper, and less painful, but who knows when it would actually hit the market. It could be years! I just don't know if I can wait. I think actually seeing this thing disappear will make me so much happier. Then, if the cream comes out in a year, maybe I can start using it instead? Wonder if previous laser treatments would at all inhibit the effectiveness of the cream?

As far as laser goes, what I obviously worry about the most is that I won't get full removal, or my skin will look noticeably odd due to either scars or pigment changes. However, I've accepted the fact that that is a possibility. If that happens and I don't feel like it will correct itself, I would just get another tattoo that's more my style, flows with my arm, and is much lighter. I'm thinking muted colors or just gray ink. I don't want anything that's in your face. Just something that compliments my body.

Until then, I'm working on forgiving myself. It is very very hard to do, as I've been trying and failing. Hopefully in the near future I can make peace with the situation and only think about it in positive ways. All I can do is work towards correcting my mistake. Everything else is just resisting the current situation, which obviously causes unnecessary suffering.

If I come to any new realizations or decisions, I'll be sure to update. I still plan on going to a plastic surgeon here in Columbus soon just to see what he says for some information and peace of mind.

Once again, I continue to be amazed at how supportive and helpful this community is. Thank you for taking the time to read/comment on my story, as well as share your own. This website has really been giving me strength.

The time has finally come!

So the time has finally come to begin laser tattoo removal sessions. My tattoo is now 3 and a half months old. It's gone by so fast! It makes me feel better about removal, knowing how quickly it will go by. I'm at a tough place because seeing as it is summer, I'm not sure if I should wait to begin treatments until the fall. It would be nice to not have to worry about avoiding sun exposure, but at the same time the sooner I can start the better. I just don't know what to do.

Also, as beginning the process is becoming so real, I'm starting to have concerns about health side effects that removal could cause. I don't mean scarring or skin damage, I'm talking serious health complications due to the ink migrating to my lymph nodes and being in my blood stream. Does that freak anyone else out? Who knows what kind of chemicals are in the ink. What if they're carcinogenic? Will these particles stay in my body forever? Will their presence compromise the functioning of my immune system or make me more susceptible to certain diseases? I've done a lot of research, but there really hasn't been any studies done on this topic and that's what's scary. If my health is at stake, even if it's many years down the road, I wouldn't remove my tattoo (at least not through laser). I hate that I can't find a clear answer to this. Has anyone else on here had similar concerns or found information on the subject? I've seen other removal options like tatt2away, which I like because it's not releasing the ink back into your body, but it seems like this method would 100% leave some scarring.

My final concern is that I'm starting a new job at an arborist company on Monday. It's going to be a very physical job. Lots of lifting, climbing, etc. For those who have already had treatments, how long is the downtime? I would probably go for my treatment on a Saturday, so that only gives me two days before I'd be back to work.

I really want to make a decision soon, so any input would be much appreciated! :)

The journey has begun! (First treatment)

Hey all! It's been quite a while since I've posted an update on here. I'm happy to say that as of Saturday I have FINALLY started removing/lightening my tattoo. My goal was to accomplish beginning treatments within the first year, so as the end of January approached I decided to finally make it happen. I really can't believe it's been so long already. Hopefully this next year of fading goes by just as quickly!

Over the last couple of weeks I've been doing research on places in the Ohio area to receive treatments. I first stumbled upon a place in Columbus called Goodybye Dye. Right from the start though, I just didn't get very good vibes from them. I trusted my instinct and held off on following through via that business. Luckily, I received a message on here from someone going through my same situation and in my area! They told me about a place in Cleveland called Ink On Ink Off. It's both a tattoo parlor and removal clinic, ran by a doctor. I had a really good feeling about them right away just from reading reviews and visiting their website, so I called and had an appointment within two days. When I got there, I immediately loved the atmosphere. Super comfortable, and the secretary was so nice. I then met with the doctor who is an angel, seriously. She's so sweet/caring/sympathetic. She listened to my story and told me that she wanted to help me out, especially since I was driving all the way from Columbus. Based on the size of my tattoo, their standard rate per treatment would typically be $600. She told me, however, that she would work with me and I'm getting my treatments done for under $300 a session :') That is using the latest technology as well, the picosure laser. I'm so so happy! That's a better price than I ever expected.

She asked me if I wanted to get a treatment done while I was there, since I drove all that way. Without hesitation I said yes. I won't lie and say it wasn't painful, because it was. It felt like a rubber band snapping onto you're skin, or even similar to actually getting the tattoo but worse. It was manageable though, for me at least. They did say that they were impressed I was able to sit all the way through it, so maybe I have a high pain tolerance. Idk. It took maybe 10-15 minutes.

Afterwards the area was pretty darn swollen and red. It felt like a bad sunburn, which I've heard others describe as well. That first evening was the worse, but even so not that bad. Kinda reminded me of how my arm felt when I first got the tattoo. They put bactrim on it and wrapped it for me before I left. I've been continuing to do that on my own, as I do have some blisters and pinpoint bleeding. Nothing too crazy though. Does anyone have any other aftercare tips? I'm not really sure if I should leave it wrapped up ALL the time or let it breath.

Today is day 2 and my arm doesn't feel bad at all. It's a little tender and still swollen obviously, but I think by tomorrow the worst of it will be over. I've actually already noticed that some of my tattoo is fading! Some of the super light grey dot work in parts of the mandala is gone!! Also some of the lines are broken up in the center part where the Sri Yantra is. I'm very impressed! It's only going to get better :) I posted some pictures from the day of the treatment and day two. I'll continue to post pictures until my next treatment to document the fading. My next one will be in 8 weeks!

Treatment 1 - One week later

Here's how my tattoo is looking one week after my first treatment. Swelling, tenderness, and redness is down. That subsided by day 5 or 6 I'd say. The few blisters I had are healing up as well. It's slightly itchy, but not unbearable. I'm keeping the area moisturized with a mixture of aloe and other essential oils that was sold to me as an after care treatment by the clinic I go too. Doing my best to drink lots of water..that was never a good habit of mine before so it's proving tough for me! I can definitely see fading. It's not as dramatic as I was hoping honestly. However, my tattoo is very dark and dense with lots of line work, so I'm trying not to obsess about it too much.

9 Weeks Post Treatment 1 Fading and 2nd Session

Hey all,

Just wanted to give you an update on my fading following my first treatment. I've posted some pictures to compare from the ones I posted a week after. It's subtle, but I can tell that it's faded even more in the last eight weeks.

I also went for my second session today! Pain during and afterwards has been about the same as last time; maybe a bit more tender because she ended up going over some areas twice since they were responding. I already have blisters this time too, and last treatment they didn't show up until the next day. I'm too lazy to unwrap my arm and take pictures at the moment, so I can't report on fading yet, but I will continuing taking pictures as the swelling goes down and update in a couple of weeks!

3 weeks post treatment 2

Just filling those interested in on my fading three weeks after my second treatment. Right away I could tell there was fading but wasn't blown away by any means. However, I had my roommate take pictures of it today, and when doing comparisons to post first treatment and before any treatments I'm quite impressed. Still have a ways to go but I'm very happy so far! Hopefully, the next month before my third session brings a little more fading :)

Two Weeks Post Session 3

Hi all! Just wanted to update you on where I'm at with treatments. I had my third a couple of weeks ago. Man, is this flying by! I almost thought I wasn't going to make this treatment because I got hurt at work a week before. There was a freak accident and I fell out of a tree, luckily only ending up with a really bad sprain. But crutches and all I was still determined to make it to Cleveland. I was actually a little concerned that because my foot was so bruised and swollen, I may not have as good of results this time. If my body is working harder to heal my foot, maybe my tattoo will get less microphage activity. Maybe not, idk. I think about weird stuff like that. I didn't have nearly as many blisters as last time though, and the swelling was a lot less with this one. Overall just less intense. I thought maybe the laser wasn't set high enough, but I think that I've had the same amount of fading. Maybe that's just what happens when you have less ink? Anyone else notice this? Just curious. I've posted some pictures, including a couple comparisons to the last treatment and no treatments. Quite the difference! Maybe two or three more and I'm hoping I could get my cover up :)
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