Removing Black Inked Background W/ Q-Switch

At my first appointment I got the colored...

At my first appointment I got the colored hummingbird and nothing else. I thought it was pretty and was OK with showing it off.

At my second appointment my artist talked me into a lacy background. I definitely wanted something unique and his other artwork is so cool I trusted him to do what he thought would look the best.

SO here we are. It's not done but I'm in full on regret mode 80% of the time, the other 20% of the time I 'almost' like it. You can see where he started shading the background at the bottom of the piece and it's kind of pretty, he also said he would highlight around the bird to make it stand out.

My third appointment is coming up soon and I'm desperately trying to decide if I want to complete this piece... if I stop now laser treatment would be easier... but if I continue I may end up with a beautiful piece.

Advice? Thoughts? Comments?

My family is saying finish it but I'm terrified lol. I keep looking at laser treatment and I have a consultation tonight for more info.

REASONS I AM UNSURE ABOUT COMPLETING
IT:
-I'm scared that it will be soo much black and it's so big.
-it seems weird to have a hummingbird with this background...
-I'm afraid it looks or will look bad/strange/trashy
-I'm afraid it will overpower my hummingbird I loved so much.
-It will be harder to remove if I let him finish it.

Laser Removal Consultation

Of course the guy I went to see last night about laser removal told me how messed up he already thought my tattoo was.

He told me the placement was weird, the focal point is basically where that piece is flowing across my chest. He also wondered why the shading that had been done is so dark and was worried the whole piece would look really dark. And he just kept going on.

Something tells me either my tattoo does look that bad (I think it does) or else he's just trying to sell me on laser removal.

He also showed me pictures of total tattoo removal, you couldn't even tell if was there. Is that too good to be true??

Emotional Rollercoaster! ~Whee! Put your hands up!

I cried my brains out this morning. I'm getting stress from myself, and then from my boyfriend as well. He's frustrated as well, which is understandable, I've spent a decent amount of money on this tattoo so far to be suddenly regretting it. So after hearing my tattoo looked like shit from that laser removal guy (*I'm pretty sure that was all a business tactic now that I look back at it), I moped all last night, and then finally freaked out this morning.

My boyfriend's frustration from last night must've subsided because he was able to pull me together with logic. I find that when I get into my "freak-out" mode that I start losing all logic and start panicking (may be a little attributed to my anxiety), and that when confronted with logic and calm, my crazy disperses. My boyfriend seriously looked at my tattoo, and started throwing out ideas that my tattoo artist could possibly do to make my tattoo more appealing to me. Like:

-The shading is dark on the bottom, and it could get lighter as my artist shades up towards the top, like a gradient. That way it wouldn't be so dark.
-Possibly add color in the meshing, like maybe in the mesh flowers? Or maybe have colored petals blowing across the mesh, on the same dimension that the bird is on.

Maybe I could salvage this yet...

Is he getting frustrated yet?

So I texted my artist yet again with my concerns... each time I talk to him about this I get sterner and sterner because I'm not sure he understands. He keeps saying he understands my concerns but that's all I get from him...

Before texting him I came up with a design that may or may not make my tattoo better. The whole piece looks like it's blowing, so I thought maybe we could add colored petals blowing across too. I'm assuming it would add color to all the blackness and would make it more feminine and easier for me to like.

I attached the pictures of my basic idea (drawn with make up on myself) and then the picture of what my artist drew on me in marker.

I'm still stuck though because #1. I'm not sure if this will even look good or if it will be too busy, #2. My artist keeps telling me how cool the finished piece will look if I just let him do it, #3. Adding these petals will cost more and I've already paid more than I wanted.

Advice/Opinions/Thoughts?

Another Idea?

So I noticed some lace tattoos have these little dots at the intersections of the lace... so I drew on a few with eyeliner...

It feels more feminine and adds something to the piece flowing across my chest.

Those dots, paired with lighter shading may be the trick to winning me over with this tattoo.

***

On the other hand I went to another laser removal clinic. This one was trying so much less trying to win me over and so much more just providing great information. They knew their sh**! They were also very realistic.

I just don't know if I want to spend 1 to 2000 dollars lightening this thing so that I can spend 500 to 1000 dollars adding more/covering some up!! It's expensive for so little to show, but it's the only way to really lighten and almost if not totally remove a tattoo...

I also don't know if I have the patience to get 8 treatments over like a year... a year!
Maybe more! ...guhh.. (maybe less....)

It's all maybes. All of this. Everything.

....forgot to add picture last post

Artist Says No To My Idea

Well he didn't say no but said that "It might work. I think it kind of takes away from the flow."

I suppose he's an artist and should know best.

SO I think I'm finally GIVING IN. If there's nothing I can do to make me like this tattoo... then my only option is to be done and consider lasering. And to be honest, I don't think I would have liked the tattoo for long even if we did add one of my ideas. I still don't think it's feminine enough and overall it's just... not attractive. Sure it might have ended up pretty...but as a piece to hang on your wall, not on your chest...

This is really disappointing and I feel like I'm way too smart to have this happen to me but... here I am. And even though I'm ready to cry at any given moment, the only way to go now it's forward...

2nd Consultation. FREE treatments?

On Monday I visited a different laser removal clinic. If you remember the first one I went to... well I found out he's a liar and all about business. This new place is half laser removal and half tattoo shop. The laser removal guy just does laser removal and nothing else. And he's got tattoos, which is cool.
They seemed so knowledgeable and down to earth, which is great.

They have a Q + C Quanta Laser. Apparently it's a decent laser. I'd like to maybe find a place with a Picosure but I am extremely skeptical that it's "so much more effective" than the Q + C. Anyone have any thoughts on the Picosure for me?

Also this place said they would honor the price I was quoted at the last clinic I visited, which is $75/treatment for 8 treatments, and then after that they will continue for free if I still want to continue. FREE?! I feel like I'm missing something lol. Although he said since he was honoring that price he would really appreciate if I got any cover ups I wanted done at their tattoo shop... so like a "I help you, you help me" thing I suppose. But that wasn't required.

Again, this place seemed legit and they were very down to earth. I want to like them and trust them but want to see what anyone here thinks.

Next I will be getting a consultation from a way more expensive place with a Picosure, even though I feel like it might be unnecessary if this Q + C works just as well......

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Times running out and I'm counting down the days until my next tattoo appointment that I've had scheduled from the very beginning, before this mess started.

I contacted my artist, yet again, and yet again he tells me to just come in and let him finish the tattoo this Wednesday. As a reminder that means we would be shading in the rest of the background (making it look flowy and more like a lace) and then touching up the bird and highlighting it so it really pops and stands out from the background. He said after he finishes it, if I still don't like it, I don't have to pay him for that session. I could get it finished for free.

Just finishing it sounds appealing because then I would at least have a finished piece. It might actually look good... Actually I'm sure it would look good. He's a good artist.

I just really don't think I could ever love it, for reasons I mentioned in my first post here. And also if I finish it, it would be much harder to remove. Even more impossible than it is right now.

*Just as a note if you didn't know I am only panicking about this appointment because if I miss it I won't be able to get another one for probably 3+ months. WHAT?! Yeah... Not that that should influence my decision strongly, but it does a little. I want to keep that in mind just in case I suddenly want to finish my tattoo.

Laser removal is the other option. But there seems to be no hope in my situation for complete (or very nearly complete) removal (based on my research anyway). I feel I will always have a faded net on my chest. At least maybe I could cover some near the bird with flowers or something, and the rest with cosmetics. Realistically that's probably my best hope. Of course, there's the chance of scarring and more effects, which could lead to me not even being able to get more tattoos near the bird...

*sigh*

I will let you guys know, as always, how this week goes. If I decide to go to the tattoo shop again (...probably not) or if I get more consultations for laser removal (still need some to check out the Picosure that I am skeptical about).

Any thoughts/opinions/concerns/uplifting comments are appreciated. The best way to make decisions is to bounce thoughts off of other people and having them bounce thoughts off of you.

3rd Consultation, This place has a Picosure!

1st Consultation: Renewal Laser Clinic (Q-Switch Laser), Not Impressed.
2nd Consultation: Northeast Tattoo And Laser Removal (Q-Switch Laser), Very Impressed!

The third consultation I went to today was at Invisible Ink in Minneapolis. They also have clinics in Pittsburgh, PA and Richmond, VA.

I have gone to 2 consultations at places with a Q-Switch laser, so I figured it would be best if I checked out a place with the Picosure.

To be honest I was skeptical at the efficiency of the Picosure laser. Honestly, I couldn't find a lot of proof that it was worth what it costs to get treatments done, however there is a lot of evidence. I've read quite a few reviews here and elsewhere saying that they started with a Q-Switch, plateaued, and then went to a place with a Picosure, and the ink came out. I just wish these people would have posted some pictures on the internet for the rest of us skeptics!!

The consultation went great...much to my surprise. I went in there with poor expectations, expecting a technician without much knowledge to try to sell me into starting procedures with them. The person who I had the pleasure of talking with was very knowledgeable and was even able to answer my tough questions and address my doubts about the Picosure laser without flinching. She definitely gave me a different view on this new laser. I'm not as skeptical as I was. I'm still not sure it's worth the money... but it almost sounds too promising to pass up.

She gave me some very good news when it comes to my tattoo removal. She quoted me 5 sessions, expecting that the tattoo 'should' be gone by the end of this coming summer. And if it wasn't they would give me free sessions for a year. Wow! At the other places I was quoted 8! She also told me that it's good to have a newer tattoo removed, apparently. Obviously you want the skin healed, but according to her a newer tattoo is easier than one that's 1+ years old because then the body has gotten used to the presence of the ink or something. Although a really old, faded tattoo is good too.

However, I almost cried when she quoted me the price. $500 per session!!! [panic mode initiated] And I believe they require so much down to get started...I think it was 50% down... so $1000 to get started and then 2 more payments of $500. WHO CAN AFFORD THIS?! I mean seriously, I just paid around $1000 to get a tattoo I am unhappy with, I would be paying $2000 in laser treatments, and then probably another ~$800 for more tattoo to make it look the way I wanted originally! That's ~$3800! I had to save up all summer for my $1000 failure tattoo... and now... *pouty face*

Apparently, they have a discount of 20% your total if you start laser treatments the same day as your consultation... but I was SO not ready and refused to be pressured into anything ever again since my tattoo fail.

So I guess I have a lot to think about, eh?

The Decision Has Been Made ~!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope it will be a good one for all of us.

I just wanted to update to let you all know where I'm at. Basically, I had (keyword 'had') narrowed it down to:

-Northeast Tattoo/Laser: half laser, half tattoo shop; extremely affordable; newest q-switch laser; free treatments after my first 8 are done; very knowledgeable, personable, down-to-earth guy who only does laser removal and nothing else, also offering to help me talk to the people in their tattoo side of the shop for a future cover-up.

-Invisible Ink Tattoo Removal: strictly laser removal done here; very ritzy looking; not affordable whatsoever lol (I'd have to get a loan or something); seem like they may be setting me up for disappointment by raising my hopes too high; seem slightly sketchy in some of the things they told me; they have a PICOSURE laser.

I really wanted to go the Picosure route, just because it 'might' be miraculous and be 100% gone only in 5 treatments! That's right folks, 5 treatments!!! Compared to possibly removed in 8 at Northeast!.... But I've come to think that 'might' isn't good enough for me to want to pay $400 per treatment, also taking into consideration they want 50% down right now before I start. Gross. I'm floundering with money the way it is, I don't think I want to spend a total of $2000 for 5 treatments on hopes and dreams that may be crushed. If they had irrefutable proof on the other hand...but they don't...

SO I have decided, good people of realself! I have decided on Northeast laser. I really think the guy there has my best interests in mind before his own. He's giving me an amazing price and is extremely concerned about keeping my skin healthy and not rushing things. Although, maybe he is keeping his interests in mind a little, because I may very well be using their tattoo shop for a cover-up tattoo. He better treat me nice and then we'll see. :)

Also, considering Northeast has like, the second best laser technology that's out there, if I get to a point where I think there's some residual ink left that this Q-Switch can't remove, and I want to try the Picosure out to see if it will get rid of that last little bit, I bet I totally could and it would be cheaper for me overall then just going straight for the Picosure now. The total I would be spending on treatments at Northeast is $600, and then if I need an extra treatment or 2 from Invisible Ink... my total would have to still come out under $2,000, don't you think?... The route I am going to take is probably just going to take longer (which is still no fun). But with my financial situation I think this is much smarter.

Since I am going on vacation to Arizona in January, my plan is to start laser treatment early February. I will keep you all updated, as usual.

Feel free to share thoughts/concerns/comments. I need them and appreciate them. :)

~Again happy new year!

First Big Comittment Since "That Day" - Scheduled 1st Appt!!!

So I JUST literally got off the phone. I scheduled my first laser removal session for Feb 7th. It was kind of hard to call them because this is basically the first major commitment I've had since my last tattoo session (the one that started this mess!). And the commitment is scary. It's like I'm not sure if I can trust myself to make big decisions anymore because I messed up so bad the last time.

I also don't know what my cover up will be or what it will look like or if it will even work, I guess I don't need to know for sure until...basically next December or January (when my sessions are almost done). This unknown is bothering me a lot as well... I just want it all planned out and promised it will be OK, ya know? But that's not how this works unfortunately.

I'm kind of afraid I will start crying uncontrollably in front of my tattoo removal guy. But he already told me he's almost more of a therapist than a removal specialist... so he's used to people being emotional. Which is kind of nice that he's prepared, lol!

...So other than being a worry-wort, I'd like to ask YOU guys for any tips or advice on having healthy skin, or how to promote faster healing. I know that drinking lots of water and being healthy is a big one. But how about any lotions or oils you have been using or swear by? How about any supplements your removal person has suggested?

Let me know, thank you all!

First Treatment ~*

I just got my first laser treatment done the other day. I was sooooo, soooo nervous but my laser specialist, Joseph, washed it all away with his caring attitude and intelligence regarding laser removal.

The pain was just about what I was expecting. It really is like when you get hit with a fleck of hot grease, but repeatedly. It felt maybe a little bit worse that getting a tattoo, but it was SO much faster. My tattoo felt like it went on, and on, and on forever. There was a few times where I thought I might need a break, but I held on just a bit longer, and then suddenly it was over. Really fast!! I didn't use any numbing cream or anything, just an ice pack, but I think if you can endure a tattoo, you probably got this in the bag.

Did I mention how great Joseph was? lol. The process went so much easier and I was so much calmer, just because of him. The guy's good at what he does!

Afterwards, you can see by my pictures, it was basically reddish and getting a little swollen. Basically a bad sunburn. No bleeding, no immediate blisters. We didn't even need to bandage it up or anything because there were was no broken skin. So nice!!! A few hours later though, I got tiny little blisters in some dark black lines... but that was it! Not bad at all!

And the weirdest part is... I had like... a 'high' afterwards that lasted all the way to today. I'm not sure if it was from all the anxiety I had washing away once it was over, if finally starting to get rid of the tattoo made me feel this way, or the great conversations (and free therapy lol) I received from Joseph? I am not sure what did it...but I LIKE it. I'm happy that I feel so good afterwards and not depressed. It will make me look forward to my next appointment even more.

1 Week After Session # 1 - THE ITCHINESS

Itching, itching, itching. You all told me it would happen. I've been keeping as hydrated as possible and using scent-free lotion like no other mother, but it's still pretty itchy!

Also, scabbing/flaking skin. That's probably the big reason why it's so itchy. Plus I know from the past when wounds or burns are healing they itch. So I'm on the road to recovery!

No pictures because I'm lazy and it looks the same. I am really not expecting much fading at all until at least after the 3rd session. I'm trying to give myself realistic expectations so that my very fragile, explosive emotions don't bubble up when I don't see results. Sometimes I get an ever-so-slight bit of disappointment but I just remind myself that this takes time...It's fine...I'm fine...it's VERY LIKELY that it will work out in the end. I knew in the first place I wasn't going to get immediate results. That it is actually working, but it's all under my skin. No need to be sad.

I'm also becoming increasingly concerned with the fact Spring is coming and it will start to get difficult to find clothes that covers my collar bones. I NEED to keep it covered as MUCH as I can so that I don't have to look at it and so others can't see it and ask me about it. It's not like I care that much about what people will think of it because I don't even want myself to see it...

So, that's where I'm at. I'll give another update when things start healing up. I'm assuming another few weeks maybe?

Session #2 - One step at a time.

Sorry I didn't give an update before this session but to be honest my tattoo looked pretty much the same to me. It's difficult to tell considering it wasn't finished to begin with. My laser guy pointed out plenty of spots that were faded, but he is good at seeing these things.

What I CAN tell you is that there are quite a few areas that have turned slightly brownish rather than the black and grey it was before. I know that some people here were concerned with their tattoo turning brownish. Joseph (my laser specialist) said that that is just ink breaking up. So it's a good thing! :-)

After this session I had another 'high'. I think I figured out what the deal is lol. I have anxiety so I get myself all worked up about going to these sessions. I feel sick, sweaty, irritable, and have heart plantations. It's no wonder than when the session is over, I feel GREAT. The session is over, stress is gone. I guess it's a good think I will be relating these sessions to a good feeling afterwards. Yay, the little things!!!

This session hurt the same as last time, but I participated in more of the conversations Joseph was throwing around and thus it seemed faster. So my new bit of advice is try to focus on any conversation your laser-person is trying to strike up. It helps!

Now it's time to heal again. Can't wait for the itchies to return. :-P I will try some of the recommendations you guys have offered. I promise you that if I get any crazy blisters I will share their glory with you lol, and once I heal up I will post a side-by-side of the first session vs the second session to see if we can spot any changes, woo!

Discovering How To Hide A Chest Tattoo - outfit #1

It's especially hard for a female to hide a rather large chest tattoo that goes up to your collar bones. A lot of people have told me to just let it show because it doesn't matter what other people think. Honestly though, I'm not worried about other people judging it as much as I'm worried about myself judging it. I've actually discovered the best way to keep from driving myself nuts and into an impending depression is by not looking at it, thinking about it or talking about it. Basically I'm pretending it doesn't exist during my everyday life. It's pretty hard to do that if you can see it in every mirror and window and if people are commenting on it or obviously looking at it.

So I had a request recently to show any outfits or anything that I have found to still look nice (and not completely like a prude) while covering my chest tattoo.

The pictures attached to this post are pictures of the outfit I wore on Monday of this week. I'm really, really lucky that high-neck items are starting to come back into style. I was able to find a dressy high neck tank top that isn't a stinkin' turtle neck. I paired it with a cardigan and a necklace and honestly it doesn't look half bad.

This process of finding clothes that covers a bit more of the chest area is eye opening to me. There's little to no clothing out there that covers up to the collar bones. I've also discovered women's 'crew neck' t-shirts and clothing actually are much lower cut than men's 'crew neck' clothing... Why is it so normal to show so much skin, and abnormal if I want to cover up a bit more in the chest/neck area?

I'll be posting more outfits as well as possibly some cover-up makeup tips if anyone wants to know. This is all such an adventure and it feels good to share it with people who want to hear, rather than my family who is sick of hearing my complaining lol. Also coming soon will probably be another tattoo update with pictures.

3 Wks After Session #2

So it's a little over 3 weeks since my second session and I'm not seeing too much change, which isn't too surprising considering it's only the 2nd session. It's rumor that the 3rd session usually yields good results, here's to hoping. :-)

However, it's extremely difficult when looking at the line work of my tattoo (which is most of my tattoo) to determine if the breaks in the lines are new or were originally there. My tattoo was never fully finished so a lot of the lines were just 'blood lines' or basically 'place markers' and were sort of broken up to begin with. It's much easier to see broken up lines in a finished tattoo...

I am excited to report though that the shaded area of my tattoo actually has some obvious fading. WEEE! :-) It's also turning quite brown, which is alarming, but I was told by my laser specialist that that is just ink breaking up. Sweet.

I attached a couple comparisons of two different areas on my tattoo. The shaded part, and the part with just lines.

3rd session is in about 5 weeks. I BETTER START SEEING SOME PROGRESS. lol. I just keep telling myself that there's no reason to panic, I'm doing the right thing. If I give up now, this situation will never be fixed. The only way to move is forward.

Forward march!

3rd Session Tomorrow! Anxious as ever! ~Also more new wardrobe updates...

So discovery, I find myself wandering to this site a lot when I am feeling anxious or depressed. Typically right before sessions. I think that I have finally adapted to the fact that in between sessions, there's really nothing I can do to help my situation (besides taking care of my skin and body) and I actually tend to forget my tattoo woes, at least temporarily. When it gets close to another session (like my THIRD ONE tomorrow, WAHHH) my anxiety comes back and I get a little depressed. I guess I am happy that I'm learning to banish dreary thoughts most every other day (for the most part), but I have the feeling that these anxious and somewhat depressed moments will remain before each session. I really must thank all of you that have a review here or those that like to comment, it's really a nice place to go when I need to vent. As I am now. Thank you. :-)

THAT being said...
tomorrow is my third session so here's a new picture of my tattoo now and the original. The lighting in both pictures is a little different, sorry, but you can still see some shading and some 'browning'. Can't wait to see what tomorrow's session will bring. Lucky session #3?!...

ALSO, (**you can skip this part if you are male or don't care, lol)
I posted a couple more of my new wardrobe choices. Honestly, it's really fricken hard to hide a tattoo this high up on your chest, and guys have it easy with their t-shirts that cover much higher than womens t-shirts... I'm trying to cover it and still look as normal as possible and without wearing too many guy shirts lol.
Choice #1 posted here is a 90's-ish light sweatshirt. It's got the cut-out shoulders and then the neck part is very 90's-ish. Basically the collar looks like it's cut-out, leaving just the collar... if you can imagine that - google 90s neckline... A lot of dresses are now using this style (thank god for fashions that comeback in style...). But I wore a scarf with the sweatshirt to sort of create a false neckline... or I guess to maybe just add something... I don't know lol. Scarves are my best friends right now, especially if the neckline is a bit lower, I just tie the scarf up higher. (thank you scarf inventor!)
Choice #2 is slightly similar to a previous outfit. The tank top is actually the exact same one as the black one in my post with the tan cardigan. If it works BUY IT IN MULTIPLE COLORS/PATTERNS. lol

Session #3......JUST KIDDING!...

This is the first poor review that I am going to give Northeast Tattoo and Laser Removal… and it makes me sad because I really do like the place. What happened is pretty minor, but when you have intense anxiety like myself, and tend to wear your emotions on your sleeve like myself, and have all these things amplified by the fact that you are getting a hated tattoo lasered off like myself, it feels like a pretty big deal.
So my laser specialist is having me wait 8 weeks in between each session so that I am completely healed each time. That’s about 2 months. So finally when it comes to the day of the laser session I get increasingly anxious. My boyfriend probably thinks I’m a nutcase, but I really try to reign in my crazy for him (it’s hard!). I remember confiding in him last night how anxious I was, and he kept telling me it was fine, and I believed him but you know…I’m crazy haha.
It’s a minute before I need to leave and it hits me, I never got my confirmation e-mail and call that they always give me. I mean, I remembered scheduling and I even had an appointment card with the time and date of my scheduled appointment but they always, always confirm, and they didn’t. Panic sets in. I’m basically explaining to my boyfriend how I have this horrible feeling I will get down there and will not be on the schedule. Honestly, it doesn’t sound that bad, but I’ve been looking forward to this session for 2 months and have been excited all week. You know, ‘lucky session #3’… If I went down there and they told me I had to go home…I just…I was scared my major disappointment would be so plainly obvious and that maybe I would cry in front of them (and I hate that).
My boyfriend tells me just to go and try calling them up on the phone as I drive. So I’m driving along and give them a call, thinking I’m freaking for no reason.
Girl: “…uhhhh, it doesn’t look like you’re on the schedule. Let me check something else.”
Me: “……soooo…… I’m not on the schedule tonight?”
Girl: “No, but it does look like you were in exactly two months ago…”
Basically after each session they immediately book your next one for exactly 2 months from the date if they can. So she realize that I SHOULD have been on the schedule that evening… I wanted to be like, “I HAVE THE APPT CARD WITH YOUR HAND WRITING ON IT…” But what would that have solved?
So we scheduled for next Thursday. *sigh*
I have to admit, I cried on the way home like a child. Just kind of bummed out ya know? It feels petty because it’s only a week but this is such a big deal to me.
So yay… next week. *depressingly throws a skimpy handful of confetti*

Session #3 - For real this time. :-)

So I had session #3 last Thursday! Finally! Joseph did actually apologize in person for the scheduling mistake, which I appreciated.

The actual lasering was as ouchie as usual. The conversation keeps my thoughts off the pain though, and the fact that I'm a bada## LOL. Joseph was telling me a story of a girl that comes in and just shrieks the whole time he lasers her. I guess I'm glad I'm not like that. :-D The pain sucks but it's totally manageable because the laser is constantly moving and it goes fast, unlike with tattooing...

As far as laser settings, I have no idea. He told me he's been fairly aggressive with my tattoo, and this time even more-so. He even had me keep the icepack on afterwards extra long. I think my skin reacts really well to the laser treatment... I mean I hardly get many side effects. Typically redness, swelling, and some tiny blisters (didn't even get blisters the last time). For being a ginger, I guess I have pretty tough ginger skin. I really don't even get sunburnt that easily (but I don't tan either, lol). But anyway, I guess I just hope that the fact that my skin is so tough isn't hindering my progress. It doesn't seem to be so far, but time will tell.

So that's that. So happy I got my 3rd session done. Next is the 4th, which means I will be exactly halfway through my quoted sessions. YAY FOR LITTLE WINS!

I'll post an update with some more terrible wardrobe choices lol and then probably when this thing starts healing up.

6 Weeks After Session #3 - Those Dang Lines

It's been 6 weeks since my last session, so I'm all healed up and waiting for session 4 of 8, which will be on August.

So as you can see by my pictures, previous and most recent, that the shaded stuff is just melting away. That's nice but... ALL THOSE FLIPPING LINES! They won't budge. Some of them show slight discolorations here and there, but they love me too much to leave. I thought for sure that those especially light lines would be gone already, but I guess not! My tattooist said he had a "light hand" when he tattoos, but I'm starting to think a "light hand" doesn't make too much of a difference with heavy black lines. In one picture you can actually see a change in my skin where a dark line is, could it be scarring from the needle? If so, I hope it doesn't cause future problems with a cover up...

I know I'm only on session 3 but I'm already disappointed in my progress. Everybody wants to be that one-in-a-million person that has their tattoo just fly off. I mean, 3 sessions feels like a lot! But then again, it's only 3 out of my quoted 8, and at least I have some progress right?...

Lastly, I have another fashion choice picture posted for women covering up chest tattoos. A popular style of top right now is the one with the baby-doll type collar, which is usually a bit higher up than normal, and not too high that it's choking you. These tops are typically super girly, but I just pair it with a edgy earring and it makes it more my style. (UGGHJFJKD- It's kind of weird but I can't wait to not be afraid to show cleavage again!!! More style choices!!!)

Oh & as always, to myself and others, don't get hung up on the past, the past is gone. The future is now and beyond. ONWARD TO HAPPINESS!

4th Session TONIGHT. Halfway, hooray!

4th treatment = TONIGHT.
I was quoted 8 sessions. So that means I'm technically HALFWAY DONE. NICE. SO NICE.
However... to not totally disappoint myself in the future, I'm giving it a bit of leniency. I'm thinking, oh maybe, 12 sessions? I get everything after 8 sessions for free though, so that's a nice little deal.

So that's tonight. It's my 4th session and I'm as nervous as ever. Dang me and my anxiety. Must. Keep. Calm.

On another note, just got back from a summer trip. Went up North to Potato Lake (teehee, potato..) I spent a lot of time in the sun but with the help of a ton of sun screen my chest is as WHITE as ever. Sunscreen works wonders man. My arms, back, and face got a nice tan (for a ginger). Apparently a tan could disrupt the lasering so I'm glad my chest is still translucent, lol.

As always, I'll post pictures from tonight's session tomorrow or possibly Saturday so you all can see the damage. :-P

Session #4 - Turn that laser up!

OK so I know I said I was going to post my 4th session review last Friday or Saturday BUT my weekend was pretty busy, so here it is. :-)

The session went as usual, except Joseph decided to turn up the laser a little bit more than usual. I know I said that he turned it up the last time too, but he must've been extra brutal this time. I typically get maybe one or two small blisters and that's it. You can see by my pictures this time that uhhhh, I have quite a few more. Especially where the ink is more dense. I also had some pinpoint bleeding, mostly under the skin, which is new. It looked way worse this time... but it really doesn't feel any different.

Before he turned up the laser we were discussing how tough my skin seems to be. I usually just get one or two small blisters. Also, I noticed the last couple times that some of the very light lines didn't look red afterwards, basically meaning the laser probably wasn't effecting them as much as the darker lines. So I'm glad he turned it up. All my ink was red this time. I feel like I might get some great fading this time around... we'll see. (fingers crossed!)

I'll be sure to update you guys again with any changes. ;-)

Couple Days After 4th Session , A New Side Effect Appears!

My boob is jaundiced!!

No, haha, it's just bruising. It did freak me out at first though. Joseph mentioned something about bruising and I remember being like, "Nawhh, I don't bruise easily." Ha, well, here ya go. Nice and sickly yellow looking. And the little orange spots are just healing blisters.

I thought I would share this just in case anyone else around here wakes up some morning with "jaundice arm" or "jaundice foot" ! You aren't dying. In fact, 3 days later the yellow is hardly visible. :-D

4 Weeks Since Session #4

I'm completely healed now after session #4.

At this point in time I'm starting to worry about scarring and hypo/hyper pigmentation, since my last session was so rough. I want to prevent scarring as much as I can, but it may be futile. So far I've just been using unscented lotion and massaging the area. (TIP: I read online that massaging the healed area may fade current scars and can help to prevent future scars or make them less noticeable.) I've also heard good things about BioOil but I'm a little leery to try it since it's $20 per smallish bottle... Anyone have good experiences with BioOil or any other product?

Also around this time I'm just trying to stay positive. 4 sessions feels like SO MUCH for so little fading, but in reality, I'm only about halfway. There will be more good fading to come and I just have to be patient.

At least winter is on it's way right?! I hate winter with a firey, burning passion but... it will be sooo much easier to cover-up!! YAY POSITIVITY. lol.

Session #5 - I learned about spot sizes. :-P

This update is a little late because I've been soo busy. Session #5 was on October 1st. YAY OCTOBER! I love fall. :-) (...but it also means winter is coming and that is just sad...)

First off I must apologize for my bad pictures this time around. I took them very fast and in the 'after' pictures you can only really tell how inflamed and red my skin was in one of the pictures because of the lighting. Stupid poor lighting! :-P I wrote in the descriptions so you can figure out what you're looking at. I posted 'before' pictures but my tattoo didn't change much from the last time I posted, so you can look at those for reference.

My 5th session went as they usually do. Since Joseph turned the laser up again this time we were expecting my skin to look pretty brutal, and it did. Much swelling and redness and some small blisters and petechia (pinpoint bleeding under the skin from broken capillaries).

I also learned something new this time around. I heard people here throwing around the term "spot size" so I asked Joseph about it. He told me that the bigger the spot size, the deeper the laser penetrates into the skin. The smaller spot size gets hotter on the surface of the skin. You learn something new everyday! :-)

I'll update again soon because this tattoo is healing up already and I swear it looks different than it did previously... exciting!

~7 wks Since Session 5 - Do I see changes??!?!?!

Hello all! Sorry it took me a bit to update this time around. You know, life and all.

So not long after my last session I thought I was seeing differences in my ink compared to how it was just before my session. After comparing pictures, I noticed there is slight differences. Especially in the shading. Which is cool since I never really catch fading in action like that! :-)

Session 6 is set for December 3rd! I can't believe it will be 6 sessions already. In some ways I feel like I just started this process. I'm only about midway through but if the second half goes as fast as the first, I'll be done in no time! Some days I still have my doubts and fears, but being this far in there's no point in stopping! Have to ride out the storm! It actually really eases my mind to have this schedule of continuously having sessions, and to be moving forward.

I have sort of stayed away from thinking about cover-ups so far. I mean I have quite a few more sessions before I'm satisfied with my fading. And I don't want to get too ahead of myself. But I will let you guys know when I'm thinking about them, and then I will be needing some help on great ideas for a background or an addition to my hummingbird! If you have any good ideas you may post them now, and I will save them for consideration later. :-)


Alright, thanks for reading. Let me know how you guys are doing if you don't have a review up!
(I've been reading most reviews. :-D)

Session #6 Thursday - Anxious?

Session # 6 is this Thursday. I can't believe it will be 6 sessions already! So why am I so anxious still? Does that ever go away? I mean, I understand having anxiety the first few times a person goes to get laser treatments done. But the 6th time? Does anyone else have anxiety?

Ugh, anxiety and then the snow we just got, plus the cold and the earlier sunsets really just makes me want to hibernate, eat, and just not do anything or talk to anyone lol.

Session #6

Sorry it's a little late, but last Thursday I had session #6!

As usual, it went well. Mostly with Joseph talking a lot to try to distract me from the bacon-greasy-burnyness. Not that I mind. He's probably the most interesting person I've ever met.

Joseph and I talked a little about Picosure and Picoway vs Q-Switch lasers. I swear we've talked about this topic 4 out of 6 times that I've visited him now. But I can't seem to satiate my desire for details on these lasers. Joseph has received so much "behind the scenes" knowledge about the Picosure, it interests me to no end. All these meetings with Picosure representatives buying him lunch and things. I think maybe a keep bringing it up in case there's a "miracle break through" or something. But so far, nothing. He says that as soon as there's a laser company that can prove to him that their laser is better than the Q-Switch, he'll switch in a heartbeat. But so far, he still has the Q-Switch. He could easily make a ton of money with the Picosure, but he actually cares about his patients, and being honest, and that's awesome.

Sorry for that long paragraph on Picosure. I still don't know much on Picoway, and Joseph didn't seem to know too much about it either. Based on what he says, and what I have read on the internet, I think it's similar to the Q-Switch (as in, it possibly has the 1064 nm wavelength required for black ink that Q-Switch already has and that Picosure doesn't have) but it costs 2 to 3 times more... If anyone knows any other information on the Picoway, lay it on me please!

That being said, thanks for reading and supporting me along my journey. :-) :-)

Post Session #6

Skin is all healed up from session #6. I don't think there's really any obvious changes from last time.

Session #7 is either the first or second Thursday in February. Session 7...gosh...

Per usual, I'll keep you guys updated as I go. The next few updates should be interesting since I'm getting close to my quoted # of sessions (8 sessions) and if I'm not satisfied by then I get free sessions... I'm 95% sure I will decide 5o continue on after 8 sessions. Hopefully not more than 15. Guess we'll see!

Session #7 is tomorrow!

Trying not to think about tomorrow's appointment because I tend to get myself all anxious days in advance. Surprisingly I haven't really had anxiety over tomorrow's appointment as of yet... we'll see how I feel tomorrow!

I'm fairly certain at this point that I'll be going over 8 sessions. The fading hasn't been as fast as I wanted but my progress seems fairly normal when looking at other people's reviews. I guess it's not the end of the world that I'll probably be going over 8 sessions, especially considering I get them for free after 8. (I hope my laser guy remembers our deal! I have documentation but I don't want to make it awkward, lol.)

I'll be sure to let you know how tomorrow's session goes with some lovely pictures for your viewing pleasure, haha.

Session #7

Session 7 completed!

Not sure of the actual specs but the laser is definitely turned up a lot more compared to how it was originally, which is standard procedure. But I can definitely feel the difference, especially on spots that didn't get as numbed by the ice pack. Yowch!

I can also see the difference. There's a lot more broken capillaries under the skin, which makes it look extremely red. In fact, I was bleeding a tiny, little bit while I was still at the place, which isn't abnormal at this point.

I'll keep you guys updated on the healing and fading as always!

Post session #7.

Couple more weeks until my next session and LAST session that I have to pay for!!! FINALLY.

I put up a couple pictures from session 6 to compare with this session. I can tell some areas are slightly lighter than they were at this time last session. However this whole piece still isn't light enough to my liking. I'm pretty sure I'm not stopping after 8 sessions. I'll probably continue going as long as I see gradual fading for maybe 2 to 7 sessions after session 8.

Stay tuned for session #8 coming in a few weeks. Hoping my laser guy remembers they are free after 8. I don't want any drama lol.

Session 8 Tomorrow ~ Somber feelings

Hey All!
Session #8 tomorrow. Sorry if I said a different day to any of you. I was a little confused since I originally had my appointment scheduled for April 14th and had to reschedule due to my laser guy deciding not to be available that day.

My feelings about tomorrow are anxiety (per usual) and somberness. Anxiety because well, that's just me, if my mind and body can find anything to be anxious about, it will. But also because it's session #8, which is a mile-marker for me and also another reason why I'm feeling so somber. Session #8 is the last session I have to pay for, which is fantastic! But then again, I was kind of hoping to be further along at this point. Not that I haven't had good fading, but I, like everyone else, wanted to be that lucky person that had SUPER-AWESOME-FANTASTIC fading.

Also feeling slightly down because I learned that the legend, Prince, has died today and just yesterday found out my boyfriends mother has melanoma (a deadly skin cancer). So I'm kind of, yuck.

However, through all my feelings, good and bad, quitting is not an option! I refuse to be unhappy with my tattoo forever and will continue with the Q-Switch laser until I am not noticing any fading. At which point I may try a different, more expensive laser. I hope I don't have to do that though!

Wish me luck for tomorrow!
I'll let you know how it goes, as always.

Session #8 Compleeeeeted!

Session 8.
0:19
I was extremely nervous for this session because it's a big milestone for me. I originally told myself I had to at least get to session #8 because, for me, I get free sessions after that. It's good to set realistic goals, even if you don't get free sessions or anything. So here I am, 1 year and 2 months later and not planning to stop quite yet. I believe if my tattoo had been older originally I'd be satisfied with my fading by now but I'm not so I shall continue on. Now my goal is 10 sessions. We will see where to go after that! The laser was turned up yet again on this session and it was definitely a little more brutal, but I'm tough. :-) Some of the very, very, almost invisible lines are so faded that they're having trouble responding to the laser. Maybe we could just turn it up a little more to get those better? Not sure. But those lines would be pretty easy to cover up anyway in the future. I posted a photo and video for you guys on this one. Thanks for following along as always and I'll update you guys with the fading once I've healed up and stuff!!! :-)

About A Month And 3 Weeks Since #8

Session #9 coming up in a few weeks so I thought I should quick post an update on how things are going. I just wanted to say, for all of you who aren't sure if you'll ever be happy... just having my black ink faded by more than 50% has made this worth it for me. Of course I want full removal, or at least MUCH MUCH lighter, but at this point in time I'm a lot more comfortable with showing it when I have to or at times when I don't really care what I look out (example: the grocery store in my PJ's, lol.) I provided a comparison picture of my tattoo after session 3 compared to my tattoo now. It's so light compared to how it used to be! Also I included a comparison picture of one trouble-spot on my tattoo from session 7 compared to now and it surprisingly looks slightly lighter. I feel like it's not by much but it makes me feel better to know the laser is probably still effective. It still snaps when it hits my ink and still hurts quite a bit so I think I'm still good. :-D Anyway, I hope things are going OK for the rest of you. This is hard but seeing your hated ink get lighter really is worth it. And I know if feels like forever but believe me, having laser appointments to look forward to really makes time fly by. MUCH LOVE!

Session # 9 Completed -1st Free Session - Laser turned DOWN?!

Hey guys!

I completed session #9 last Thursday. I took some pictures while in my car and you can see it kind of looks like it normally does. Red, splotchy, tiny blisters, and you can even see the swelling in these pictures since I took it in my car with natural light. (Like you really wanted to see my swollen skin, haha).

I felt kind of guilty during this session since it was free. I know that that was part of the deal, 8 paid sessions and then free sessions after that until I'm satisfied. But I felt bad because I felt as if I was taking the spot of a customer that would have paid him... and he was kind of working for free on me. I really shouldn't feel bad, and he seemed to think it was funny I felt bad, but I'm a nice person dang it! Haha!

On another note, the laser was turned down from 9 (last time) to 6 (this time), and a physically could tell the difference. Much HOTTER last time! But DOWN?! Don't we want to keep turning it up? ... I should've asked him to clarify what these numbers meant. Amount of power, or spot size? I sort of feel like it might have been spot size. The bigger the spot size, the hotter it is on the surface of your skin, but the smaller the deeper the laser penetrates because it's more focused.
Whichever it was, he explained that he will be switching it higher and lower with each session to make sure he covers all the bases. By that I mean, one setting might work more efficiently than another, but we aren't really able to tell because the results are not instantaneous, and so he will switch back and forth to make sure we continue seeing good results.

I trust my Joseph and am very happy he's not doing the same thing every time because that might not be the most effective way to do things!

SORRY guys for the novel I wrote this time. I hope you enjoy my icky pictures.
Thanks as always for sticking with me. I hope you're all doing OK with your journey!

2 months+ Since Session #9 Update

Summer has been busy so I haven't had a ton of time for Realself, but here I am to check-in with you all!

Session #10 was originally scheduled for this week but I decided to postpone it until October. "OCTOBER?! But your last session was in June! That's over 3 months!"
Yeah, it's a long time to wait and I am so impatient! However, I felt it was necessary because in a few weeks I will be attending a WEDDING AT THE MN RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL! Yes, I'm dressing up! And I didn't really feel like my chest looking like hamburger would be a good look...

That being said, I will be back on here posting an update as I try to figure out if I can cover parts of my tattoo with makeup. That might be interesting for you all. I assume I will fail, and I will show you my failures as well as any success. But I sort of figure in the end I may just have to muster the confidence to proudly display my inky mistake. That thought doesn't bother me as much as it used to, especially since my tattoo is so much lighter than it used to be (see previous updates... so dark!). I also added a picture of my dress and will definitely share more later, STAY TUNED!

The other pictures I have shared are just what my ink looks like currently. Still fading bit by bit. Very impatient for session #10 in October but so excited for the REN FEST! :-)

Does anyone else have a Ren. Fest or medieval fair or anything where they live?

Renaissance Festival & Trying Coverup Makeups

Hello all!

Last time I updated I said I would be testing makeup to see how light I could get my tattoo for the Renaissance Festival wedding I was attending. I uploaded some of those pictures.

This time around I just tried drugstore makeup (Loreal True Match Liquid Foundation). I have tried Dermablend products in the past, and they work surprisingly well when applied correctly, but for the life of me I can not match my skin tone! I know some places that sell Dermablend will help you match your skin tone, but I've read online that people will do that, and then get home just to have the foundation dry a totally different color than it is when it's wet. If I had more money I would purchase several shades, because I've had some great success with Dermablend in the past, but I just can't afford to do that right now.

The Loreal liquid foundation I was using was almost my exact skin tone, but with most foundations you typically want to cover the whole exposed area, rather than just on your tattoo, so that it all blends and looks similar, which is what I did. I would apply some foundation (rather heavily on the actual ink), let it dry, and then apply more until satisfied. Then I applied the lightest powder I owned to set it. Clothing would definitely rub it off but my necklace surprisingly did not.

Just the little bit of makeup I used made a gigantic difference in my confidence level!

So checkout those pics if you want. I also uploaded a picture of my boyfriend and I in our costumes. (He's an assassin, LOL).

3 months and some odd weeks later .... SESSION 10!

HAPPY OCTOBER! I love fall. <3 Except for the fact that it means winter. 3

Session #10 was last Thursday! Sorry I didn't post sooner, I've been a busy girl.

This session wasn't too different from the last. Laser is very hot, turned up pretty high. Session is pretty ouchies, but it's so fast that I barely have time to contemplate the pain. (Plus the lovely numbing from the ice pack helps of course!!!)

No bleeding and only a few tiny blisters, even though the laser is pretty ouchies. My skin is pretty tough when it comes to laser I have discovered. (I've been known to get hives from raindrops lol!)

A new development that has become more and more noticeable with each session is this whiteish, silvery color to my skin underneath areas of ink that were heavily shaded. I have determined that this silvery color is probably scarring from the original tattoo needle. I have ruled out the laser causing the scarring because I'm seeing this scarring in only a few spots where there was heavy, heavy shading or a very heavy, dark line. And it's not from blisters because I don't normally get blisters in the areas I'm seeing scarring, and where I do get blisters I don't see scarring. In the areas of lighter shading and lighter lines, I see healthy, normal colored skin underneath (YAY!).

Am I scared about a few scars from the original tattoo needle? At this point, hell no. Just get this ugly black ink off of me! lol! A few scars will add to the story anyway right? After all this, I'll be proud to show my scars. And I know after reading other's reviews here that scars can fade quite a bit, even to the point of barely even being able to tell they're there! (I've seen amazing pictures.) Plus I have some scars of my own from various injuries that have faded so I think I'll be just fine. And anyway, any little old scars might not even matter if I decide to get a cover up later on. We'll see. :)

Speaking of cover ups. As I heal after each session I take some time to decide if I'd like to continue, try a new laser, or stop and get a cover up. At this point, I have no idea what I'll do. I'll update you guys next month sometime and hopefully I have some answers. It's one step at a time with this process so that you don't get overwhelmed and lose hope.

As always,
thanks for reading. Wish me continued luck. :)

Here's a little collage with pictures of my progress. :)

Just for fun. Here's a little collage of my progress. I've had 10 sessions, but picked points in my journey with real obvious changes.

Top left is the original, top right is session after 3, bottom left is after session 6, and bottom right is after session 9.

Isn't that funny. Every 3 sessions is like a major, obvious change.

If you need hope. I'm selling it right here, lol!
Joseph Downing (CLS)

I have an unlimited amounts of good things I can say about Joseph. He was probably my #1 reason for choosing Northeast Tattoo and Fade Away Laser Tattoo Removal. Right off the bat he came off as VERY personable and soo easy to get along with. I normally am shy and quiet around people but Joseph and I hit it off right away. The second thing I realized is that he is extremely knowledgeable in the field of laser tattoo removal and seems like he enjoys discussing the topic. He even has quite a few tattoos himself and has done laser removal on himself, so he knows what you're going through. He also knows you don't get the best results from cranking up the laser and getting your skin blasted. He cares about aesthetics and the health of your skin, not just getting results fast. And most importantly I noticed that he was very honest. No promises or '100% guarantees', which everyone knows there is no guarantees with tattoo removal... Joseph told me like it is but was very optimistic an positive. Overall, he definitely makes you feel like you're in good hands, even during the procedure. I didn't even have much time to think about the pain because he was so talkative and friendly. If you're in the area and considering an affordable, yet good laser treatment for your tattoo, I HIGHLY recommend Joseph at Northeast Tattoo and Fade Away Laser Tattoo Removal.

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