After an enormous amount of research and countless...
22 Jul 2014
Day of treatment
After an enormous amount of research and countless consultations, I am beginning my Picosure treatment with the Laser & Skin Surgery Center in Manhattan. I will be using anesthetic, so I will not be able to treat both tattoos at once (meaning both during one visit). I will instead be treating each tattoo individually, with treatments in between one another.
I have chosen to start with the color tattoo on my lower back. I am terrified of scarring, so I want to begin this process with the tattoo that gets the least exposure (generally speaking), though, from what I have read, seen, and been told, my all-black shoulder tattoo is likely to be much more responsive to treatment.
Both my tattoos are between 5-6 years old, they were professionally done, and they were done by two different artists (back- San Diego, shoulder- Denver). I am removing them for a number of reasons. Some reasons may be obvious, but truly I just don't feel tattoos are something I want as part of my identity anymore- or for the rest of my life. I got my first tattoo at 14, so now, at 26, I feel I have had plenty of time to come fully to this conclusion (unlike the process of deciding to get most of my tattoos). It's been fun, but I am ready to begin the process of removal, and return to my natural state.
I will be documenting the entire removal process for both tattoos, and depending on how these go, I will be removing at least 3 more over the next several months. I plan to share my experience both on this site and on a personal blog which I will link after my first treatment.
Tx1, Back Tat, Day 1 Post Treatment
This is what my back looked like about 12 hours after treatment. It only hurt for the following 4 hours post-treatment, and at this point, during the process of changing the bandage for the first time, it didn't hurt at all.
I will continue updating throughout the healing process. My next treatment is scheduled for mid August.
Tx1, Back Tat, Day 3-5 Post Treatment
Over the first week post-treatment, I was prepared for anything, and I got a little bit of everything: light scabbing, a variety of blisters, some spots that didn't seem to mind the laser at all, and so overall redness.
The pain was pretty intense the first couple days. By day 3 it was down to a dull ache, but in the evening of the 3rd day, I finally let the tattoo air out and left the bandage off, and within 10 minutes it felt like it was on fire. I tried a number of things: numbing cream, aquaphor, washing both aforementioned things off with luke warm water, but ultimately the only thing that relieved the pain was bandaging it up again and icing it.
I am now writing from day 7 (and will upload a photo later today when my boyfriend- whom we can all thank for these gorgeous photos of my disgusting back- gets back in town because I cannot reach to take the them myself), and the pain is completely gone, though it has been replaced by a light itchiness that I personally have to make a concerted effort to avoid, because I am an aggressive 'itcher' as well as a 'picker'.
The big blister was serious and didn't appear to want to pop on its own, so admittedly, I popped it around day 5- but please, let me explain. I sterilized a needle first, then cleaned the blister and poked the tiniest hole in it, then washed it while applying pressure to the thing to drain it. Please note: I realize this information would otherwise be totally gross, so just know- I am fully aware of that; however, I am including everything from my experience that has answered the questions I had before I began this process, and whether or not/how to pop a mega-blister was one of them. So, that being said, I hope this information is helpful to some of you. As I mentioned previously, I am petrified of scarring so I am not sure if I am helping myself or shooting myself in the foot by relieving the blister pressure, so I guess we'll see.
In conclusion, I have to say, this first week was, for the most part, exactly what I expected. It was a lot more uncomfortable than I anticipated, just during normal everyday tasks like dressing, peeing, running/jogging, sitting, cuddling, and having sex (this one was particularly stressful and after the first try on my back, it was decided that perhaps this first week would be a nice opportunity to try positions). The fading has been significant and will continue hopefully throughout the next few weeks.
I should also mention: because I am a volunteer in a study, the doctor and technician will be performing small experiments, comparing and contrasting different lasers on certain parts of my tattoos. This should be fairly informative (see the center blue are & two sets of leaves on either side- one laser was used on one side and a different laser on the other- I will get this information next time). Clearly, in this case, one is more effective than the other.
Will post more later.
Thanks for reading.
Tx1 Shoulder Tat, 24 Hours Post Treatment
18 Sep 2014
2 months post
I went in yesterday finally to do my second ever Picosure treatment, this time on my second tattoo - the roses on my right shoulder. This was the first treatment on this tattoo. I am part of a research study for the Picosure laser, so the doctor and technician decided to split the tattoo in half and treat each side with a different laser. The less affected side is the current Picosure laser, and the more irritated side is the research Picosure laser.
This treatment was a breeze, pain level was basically zero (having had full lidocaine injections throughout the area of the tattoo), and the heat and pain afterwards only lasted about 4 hours. Today, 24 hours later, there is no pain - the only discomfort is from the packaging tape I used to redress the bandages here at work because I left my nude bandage tape at home. I was initially going to wait until I got home tonight to remove the first bandage (from yesterday), but the bandage started leaking (gross, I know), and it really did not look good, so I ran to the bathroom and took it off. I was afraid it would look really nasty, but it really looks amazing, even the side done with the more powerful laser. See the original photos to compare.
Feel free to ask any questions. I will be update through the healing process.
I will also be going in Friday for my second treatment on my back tat. I will post an updated photo of how that one is looking tomorrow.
Tx2 Back Tattoo
20 Sep 2014
2 months post
PLEASE NOTE: Since this site shows how long each 'update' was since the original post, and I am doing my tattoos at different times, I am going to use this 'Review' for just my color tattoo. Although I posted a few days ago that first photos of my black shoulder tattoo, I will start a new review for that tattoo starting today. Please see that review to follow my shoulder tattoo!