I think my story is very likely similar to many of...
I think my story is very likely similar to many of the folks in this forum. I'm 30 now, and I began getting tattoos at age 18, with various cover ups and improvements, adding small and large pieces along the way. I loved my tattoos until I was around 22 years old, and since then have felt more and more regret. My tattoos are not offensive, and they do hold special memories for me (of a time in my life when I was more punk!), but I would much rather see the images in a scrapbook than see them every day on my arm. I am tired of daily questions regarding tattoos I don't even like anymore, and the feeling of discomfort I get in professional situations, as well as the annoyance I feel in wearing sleeveless dresses in summer especially while traveling abroad. After 8 years of wishing them gone, I've decided to begin the process this year of having my patchwork upper sleeve removed. I have a small tattoo on my lower back, as well as two large ones on the back of my calves which don't bother me nearly as much so I am planning to focus on my arm.
I've read up on the various options and am not 100% certain which route to go. I have red in my tattoo so I am fairly certain I would need a q-switch or other type of laser before or in combination with picosure or picoway. Money is definitely a concern for me, so I would prefer to buy a bundle of treatments. I live in London and have been researching various options here.
I appreciate everyone's reviews and comments, and hope to share gather advice and share my experience as well!
Finally scheduled my first Picosure
Yesterday I finally went in for a consultation to start treatments with Picosure. I met with Wayne at the Reset Rooms and was very impressed with his professional set up and experience (the reviews on here were helpful in finding him). He has estimated it will take 4-8 sessions to clear up my tattoos but cautioned of course he cannot guarantee complete removal.
I am also having a small black tattoo on my lower back removed as well, which will be included in the £299 per session price along with the 3 on my upper arm (so I will be removing 4 tattoos) but the first session will be half priced.
I know that Picosure probably won't take the red out of my heart and that I may need to try another laser at a later point, but I am hoping the treatment will be effective on my other tattoos.
As for the specks of white in my deer, Wayne said that if it oxidises at first, it will clear upon later treatments. Has anyone ever had the experience of white oxidising to a darker colour, and then being treated further with the laser?
I'm hopeful about all this. Planning to have lots of sleep, water, exercise and healthy food in the next month in preparation, and get my packs of frozen peas in the freezer and my aloe vera ready to go!
Can anyone recommend whether or not its a good idea to take over the counter pain medicine before the treatment?
First PicoSure Session
28 Sep 2015
Day of treatment
I had my first session today treating 4 tattoos: the heart, key and deer on my arm and the name on my low back. The treatment was less painful than I expected but definitely unpleasant. The one on my low back was much worse in terms of pain. The cold air helped. Unfortunately the red did not respond to the laser (Wayne said he'll hopefully be getting the upgraded laser for red soon, fingers crossed!)
I was pretty amazed how much of the black and grey ink fades right away.
I've come home and spent the evening icing the tattoos through a clean cloth at Wayne's suggestion but still anticipating the dreaded blisters tomorrow morning. My arm is very sore and hurts when not being iced.
Planning to keep my immune system healthy, drink lots of water, use aloe etc and hope to see more fading over time.
Almost 4 weeks since first pico
My tattoos are healing nicely though they are still slightly tender to the touch. I never developed blisters (use ice on treatment day!) and switched from alow to E45 after the first week. I didn't drink alcohol for 2 weeks before/ after treatment and have been loading up on healthy stuff!
In the first two weeks I noticed additional fading in all the tattoos treated but I'm not sure I can see any further change. The key is much lighter, though still solid there are places where I can see skin and freckles coming through! The back tattoo is much lighter and the lines are breaking up.
Of course the deer is the amazing change as almost all the shading is gone. The black lines are much lighter there too. Unfortunately the white ink has turned grey but I was expecting that.
No change at all to the red ink in the heart either. I am hoping that the deer will be faint or gone after 4 sessions, and the key after 8. The heart will need a different laser. I am trying to be realistic but also hopeful.
Overall I'm very happy with the pico so far. I'm looking forward to my next appointment in early Dec.
Just before 2nd treatment
25 Nov 2015
2 months post
I'm going in on Friday for a 2nd picosure treatment. I've seen a lot of fading continuing over the past 8 weeks! Looking forward to seeing the results of the next session.
It's been a week since my 2nd picosure treatment and I'm seeing a lot of fading. Although it's hard to be patient, I'm happy to be seeing significant results. Wayne has got the 532 red laser but I'm not sure that my heart responded as well as I'd expected. Still it seems to be on its way, and I'm hopin that by summer my deer might be a thing of the past.
The key is still healing so will wait to post photos of that one. I still haven't had any blistering, but I think that is thanks to my intensive ice pack regime! I have been very bruised, however, with my skin yellowing. Also the area that was shaded now looks quite brown. But I think that's just the black ink fading? Anyone else have this experience?
27 Dec 2015
3 months post
It's been 1 month since my 2nd Picosure and my tattoos are continuing to fade. Here are some progress shots.
3rd session tomorrow + playing with make up
31 Jan 2016
4 months post
My 3rd session is tomorrow, excited to see more results. The ink has continued to fade but slowly, and having patience is so difficult! I will post photos after my normal healing period.
I bought a British brand of heavy cover up called Keromask and tried playing around with it. I didn't do a very good job achieving full colour, but I did enjoy seeing my tattoos nearly disappear! I think I'd have to get much better at applying it before wearing it out. I might try Dermablend next.
Three treatments down
28 Feb 2016
5 months post
I had my third picosure treatment about a month ago. I've tried to be positive about this round, but to be honest I haven't seen very much of a change between the 2nd & 3rd. Perhaps it's just really subtle so I don't notice it the day to day. Especially the key is just so dark still! But I'm not going to give up.
Already looking forward to the next treatment end of March.
Thinking about trying a Yag laser or Q switch on the key if after a couple more I still don't see noticeable results on it.
28 Feb 2016
5 months post
Before any treatment / after 3
28 Feb 2016
5 months post
Before any treatment / after 3
6 weeks post 4th Pico
11 May 2016
8 months post
I'm glad I logged back on here to update my photos, because looking at my older posts is reminding me how far I've come in less than a year.
Honestly I've been feeling pretty down about the state of my removal: I didn't see much change between the last two sessions, and now that the weather's been sunny I am really aware of how horrible and mangled my tattoos look now that they're half removed.
The deer looks great in the photo but the shaded outline didn't react to the laser last session, and the white spots are now dark grey which I fear is permanent.
Of course the key and heart are still really dark, but I'm hoping the layers of ink are thinning.
Wayne said it's best to leave the break longer this time to allow for more fading so I won't be going in right away.
This summer I'll be working in Seattle and I found a clinic with the Cutera Enlighten. I think I'm going to give it a try in July, or a test patch at the least, to see if my black responds better.
Trying to remain positive and dreaming of clear skin for next summer, if not this one!
Cutera Enlighten 'test' treatment after 4 Picosure: Comparison
1 Aug 2016
11 months post
Three weeks ago I had a test treatment at Sound Tattoo Removal in Federal Way, WA, USA using the Cutera Enlighten. While I'm happy with the Picosure 's steady progress and especially with Wayne at Reset Room in London, I wanted to take the opportunity to try out this laser that isn't available in the UK while I'm staying in the US. I'd read reviews saying it was much better at treating black ink which I have a lot of!
I went in for just a test zap but as I was already there, I asked how much it would cost to have my entire deer tattoo treated. The aesthetician (no dr was present) offered to do the whole deer for free as well as test zaps on the heart and key, I think because she expected very strong results which would make me a return customer. Of course I said yes to this offer for a free treatment.
The intensity of the pain level with the Enlighten was lower (I don't use any numbing). Likewise, the after burn was much lighter: normally after a Picosure treatment my skin feels like it's radiating heat for 48 hours and ice is the only thing that soothes it. With the Enlighten, I felt practically no pain by the next day.
Perhaps this lack of pain is related to my disappointing results. I have not noticed any visible fading on the deer or test spots. I've circled the test area on the key in the images above. I know it may be due to the experience of the technician rather than the laser trchnology, but I'm a bit let down based on seeing so many great results on this site with Enlighten.
I felt like I'd hit a plateau with the Picosure, but I think it might be slightly more effective for my tattoos, and maybe i just need to keep on with more treatments to get the results I'm hoping for. I'm going to keep watching the fading of the locations that were treated with Enlighten to see if more ink disappears over the coming weeks, but at the moment my plan is to stick with the Picosure through this autumn and winter at least. I so want to say goodbye to the key and the heart! The deer seems like it might not be responding to either laser anymore other than the lettering and the white ink around the outline turning black due to oxidization (both lasers did this, the Enlighten seems worse!) So I'll just let the deer fade on its own for a while. I'm not giving up hope, but I think I'll be sticking with reliable Picosure for now.
1 year into removal process
It's been a year since I started my removal process. I'm going in for another treatment with the Picosure with Wayne on Tuesday (it will be my 5th).
The key and heart are still very noticeable (they look a little lighter in the photos). The oxidized white ink on the deer I think will never go, it'll just stay the way it is but I am still happy with the progress.
Hoping to treat 4-5 more times before next summer and still aiming for a full removal. It feels slow but keeping my eye on the prize! I'll update again following the next Picosure treatment.
6th session soon/ Pico settings question
I'll be going in on Thursday for my 6th Picosure treatment. I'll post photos after healing.
I want to request that the laser is at a higher setting, because I've been waiting long periods of time between sessions (6 months, 3 months) and am not seeing much noticeable fading.
What Picosure settings have you guys been treated with? What is standard? Thanks for your help!
After 6th Picosure + Test patch with Picoway
I had my 6th Picosure treatment in January. It went fine, with very little pain and no blisters as usual. I haven't been getting much frosting during the treatment but my technician says this is all a good thing. I've posted a photo from last week, so 4 weeks post 6th Picosure treatment.
Because I impatient (lol) and haven't really seen much fading over the past 2-3 sessions, especially on the key, I decided to go for a consultation with the Picoway and get a patch test just for comparison's sake. I went to the Phi Clinic in London. At first the technician there told me she thought my fading was great with the Picosure, and I shouldn't switch. But then she gave me a few test zaps and there was such a loud contact popping sound and so much response in the form of frosting that she said the ink probably will respond better to the Picoway than the Picosure.
I had test patches on all 4 tattoos, and they've all responded differently (she used different settings as well), but it's been a much more gruesome healing process than I've ever experienced. I had pinpoint bleeding on the deer, a big gnarly blister on the bit of the key that took 4 days to go down, and the heart and the writing on my back have been been scabby. I'm really hoping that I don't have any scarring, but I think it will heal ok. I'll have to wait and see whether the fading is more noticeable- I'm not sure how I'll handle an entire arm of blisters and pinpoint bleeding if it looks a lot better. Will post more photos once the test patches have healed up.
update on picoway test/ 7th picosure soon
So first, a brief update on my experience with the picoway patchtest: I still have some redness and scarring but it's getting better. You can see this around the letter 'b' in the deer tattoo, that was where the patch test happened. Its pink and the skin is indented. For about 6 weeks I had a gouged out spot there, like someone had cut my skin, following pinpoint bleeding. I think the technician turned the machine up way too high for a test, even though she seemed experienced. I complained to the clinic (Phi Clinic in London) and they saw me again and gave me a topical steroid cream to use for 4 weeks to stimulate skin regrowth. Either the cream was effective or the wound healed on its own, but the redness is much less noticeable now. I still have some little black flecks of discolouration in the heart too. I'm annoyed by what happened because I can see that the picoway was really effective on the outline of the letters, but I won't go there again because I don't think I trust the clinic not to literally burn me with further treatments.
I probably should have been patient and stuck with Wayne and the Picosure (I actually feel a little guilty!) I'm going back on Friday for treatment #7. Staying positive.
I'm hoping to step up my treatments a bit and get them more like every 8 weeks. I'm engaged now and would love if they are gone or at least less noticeable by summer 2018.
Has anyone had experience with continuing treatments through the summer? I know you aren't supposed to expose the treated area to sun, but is sun screen as effective as keeping the area covered?
Will post again with healed up results post #7.
4 weeks after treatment 7
Coming along nicely. Seeing more ink breaking up in the key and in the heart.