A Lot to Handle but Committed to the Process - New York, NY

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Hey everyone, I have a lot of tattoos and...

Hey everyone,
I have a lot of tattoos and recently I just woke up one day and realized, "What have I done? I don't want to look like this anymore." So I decided to change. I have been doing a lot of research on tattoo removal (as I'm sure you all have been, hopefully) as well as the process itself and how to boost the immune system in order to optimize results. Since I have so much ink, I'm 100% serious about this. I literally have changed my life and dedicated it to removal and getting healthy. I quit smoking, drinking, even drinking coffee. I only eat organic raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, low-mercury fish and sometimes chicken. I have adapted this lifestyle now for over a month. I take more vitamins and supplements than I can probably count, including a liver cleanse and complete metal cleanse that I got from my local health food store. (I highly recommend doing one or both of these if you are in the removal process!) In the beginning, when my regret first hit me, I spent a lot of time punishing myself with the "whys," "if only", "what if"....this was so counter productive and just led me into a dark depression that made all my loved ones upset and worried about me. I now have been proactive, trying to see this long, painful process as a blessing in disguise-something that has gotten me healthy, both mentally and physically. Don't get me wrong, I still have negative self-talk, and when I take off my long sleeves and see my tattoos, I feel the guilt and shame coming on...but I've learned to coach myself through it. Each day, I visualize the ink gone, I remind myself that this is all part of my journey, that everything is a process, that it's going to be okay. Worrying whether it will be gone is not going to make it gone, and only the future holds that answer. Googling incessantly about tattoo removal is also not going to speed up the process; a miracle eraser is not here today. But I am committed to removing all of them, and I know that day will come.

I had one treatment so far, three weeks ago at Tataway in NYC. I went there initially and decided it was sketchy and overpriced and I wouldn't return, but then after having consultations with several dermatologists, I ended up there. I felt bad vibes from doctors and disconnected from them, as if they were inexperienced with tattoos and the whole process. They seemed too clinical and like they didn't have time for someone like me. I always left their offices feeling upset and more hopeless than before. Tataway, though they weren't doctors by any means, knew their shit. I just didn't appreciate that they charged per sq. inch (especially since I was getting a half sleeve removed)...they wouldn't even do custom pricing for my large amount...I tried to negotiate. In the end, I was tired and just wanted the damn thing removed already. Interview time was over. They had the experience and the PicoSure. They did the whole thing in one sitting, something I'll never do again as I believe I would've gotten better fading if I broke it into sections. But so far it's looking pretty good. All of the background shading is completely gone, and the purple color is gone. Lines have broken up nicely. But they were a total rip-off. I'm not going back. For my next Pico, I'm going to CleanSlate Laser in White Plains. She charges less than half the price I paid at Tataway for an entire sleeve!!! I will also request MedLite in addition to Pico to get rid of the pesky reds.

Money is not much of a factor here but time certainly is. I am going to remove my smaller tattoos with excision (don't care about scarring in these areas, they are discreet) and then black outline tatts with R20 method at Schweiger derm. In my experience Pico is not so good on thick black, only thinner lines.

Anyway, I am not sure if I will post pictures, I feel weird about them being on the internet for anyone to see...maybe at a later date when I feel more comfortable..message me if you want to see my progress but for now there is not much to see. And remember, don't get inside your own head, we are just molecules, just atoms floating in space, you're entitled to make mistakes. It's human nature! Be easy on yourself and trust the universe to work it out. Live your life and don't let this impede on your positivity.

Love & Light

Second Treatment on Left Arm

2 days ago I had my second laser treatment on my other arm. It's been almost a month since I was treated with the Pico on my right arm and seeing as I'm removing a lot of ink, I want to give my body ample time in between sessions (even if it is separate tattoos). The process is a lot to handle physically, though I am eager I have to remember that and take care of myself. I went back to Schweiger Dermatology and got the R20 method on 3 all-black ink tattoos on my left arm, as well as a small black tattoo on my left hip. I got 2 passes on all of them, and the PA (Monique, she is such an awesome person, highly recommend her!!) said she wants to first see how my skin reacts, and next time we will bump it up to the full 4 passes. Unlike my Pico treatment, I was injected with Lidocaine and also used a bit of numbing cream. At first I told her not to use it because I was afraid it would decrease the results, as I've read on here...but she assured me it wouldn't, and seeing as they didn't use a cooling machine or anything else I figured that I'd better use it! I was so numb I didn't even notice when she started! It was awesome. Monique only charged me for 2 "areas" (she counted my 3 tattoos as 1), so I was only charged for getting 4 passes total! This office also offers a great payment program for removal, so you don't have to pay it all at once (unlike Tattaway, those criminals...). I was charged $1600 total, which I think is pretty good for 2 passes on 4 tattoos..and they are not small either. I really like this method, I already see a lot of fading and it is scabbing/raised more than blistering. To me, logically, it makes sense to do it this way..it seems effective and why not laser as much as possible in one sitting if you can? I'm also wondering if they've ever tried the R20 with the Pico laser yet. (They still use Q-Switched.) Wonder if that would work faster/better?

I hope that I get results with the R20. They told me that it also works great on colors, though I have read that it is best only on darker blacks/purples. Anyone have experience with this method on large pieces and/or colors?

Since I have some very complex colors (and they are LARGE pieces), I'm still looking into Tattoo Vanish...not too many people in the NY area. Only found one upstate and another tech in Boston. Been in contact via email and phone with both and seeing what I can set up. I think it would be worth a try, maybe first on a smaller area just to see how it goes. One of my large tattoos has a lot of red, yellow and green that I know will never come out with laser. And I really hate it. Impulsive decisions in Thailand. (sigh). Anyway I have a consult this coming Monday with a plastic surgeon in Long Island, I will try to remove all of my smaller tattoos via excision. I don't care about scars, as long as they don't look like tattoos haha! Plus scars fade over time. Wish me luck!

Natural Treatments

I thought I should share with you some of the natural methods I have also been doing to try and fade my tattoos and take care of my skin. Call me a crazy hippie, but I have always been a believer in nature and natural healing. Essential oils have worked magic for me in the past as far as treating medical ailments and they can do great things for the body. I have been reading up on what I need for this journey, and I've gotta say, some things have actually been working! Small portions of my black outline in my sleeve have actually broken up altogether and are GONE! (Very small small areas, don't get too excited..but they are gone!) I use several different oils and some house hold products. I made a scrub out of brown sugar, avocado oil, tea tree oil, orange oil, lavender oil, lemon juice, and rose hip oil. I scrub this on my tattoos (not the laser treated ones, obviously!) in the AM and PM. You can also substitute the sugar for sea salt but this is a bit harsher on the skin. I have also added blended papaya and avocado for added benefits, you can really add anything you want, just research what is stimulating for the skin and macrophages! Afterwards, I rub either grape seed oil, aloe vera, or tea tree onto the skin. Sometimes, I also rub orange oil onto my neck and pelvic area (this oil is good for cleansing lymph nodes..very important!!). Sometimes I also have used a mixture of lemon juice, aloe vera, and hydrogen peroxide. This is not as natural or recommended but I think that this works just as well. I only use 100% aloe (the kind that you also drink) and 100% lemon juice. All products that you use should be all natural and pure. Also, if you are experiencing any post-laser or surgical scarring, Vitamin E, rose hip, or Emu oil are amazing! Rub on the scarred area several times a day, and that thing will be gone in no time.

In addition to this, I take a detoxing mud bath 2-3x a week with carbon bentonite clay. I highly recommend this! You can order a lb. of it online for only $7, just shop around. The clay can be ingested (sometimes I put a teaspoon in my tea) and applied topically. It usually comes in powder form; I mix it in a bowl with water until it becomes "muddy" and then smother my whole body (even face). Keep it on for 10-20 min but not longer because too long and you could dehydrate and pass out haha! Then take a relaxing bath or shower. However, be sure to wait 3-4 weeks or until the skin is fully healed after a laser procedure or any other removal procedure (or avoid that area). You can also spot-treat a tattoo with this by applying the clay "mask" and leaving it on overnight. However, it gets very messy and will dry and crack all over your bed so beware! The clay has natural healing benefits and has been proven to absorb and adsorb heavy metals and toxins such as cadmium, mercury, and aluminum: all of the nasty shit that inks are composed of! It has many other awesome uses. I love it and am going to use it for life, long after these atrocities are gone from my skin.

Well I hope this helps. These are just my suggestions and this is what I have been doing during my removal process. If anyone has questions please ask! Again I'm sorry I'm not sharing photos I just feel they are very personal and identifying so I will try to help by sharing as much info as I can about my journey.

Trying A Different Approach

So this coming Tuesday I will be traveling to PA to try non-laser removal. I am very excited and truly feel that this is a much better and more promising approach...but I guess I can't quite judge until after I try it! But I think it is worth the risk because laser can also scar and leave a "ghost," and either way you can spend $$ and end up with the ink still visible. With this method there is still that risk of course, but it is much more affordable and less harmful to your body. The ink is extracted out rather than into the bloodstream, and thus the process is faster and also does not discriminate against any colors. I have several complex colors in my tattoos and they are very large, and laser will take me years and cost tens of thousands of dollars if it even works at all. My health is more important than my vanity and so I could really care less if I'm covered in scabs for a few months. Even if I'm scarred it's worth it to me. In the end, I will have spent less money and these hideous tattoos will be off. Who knows, maybe I will end up covering my arms with better art, I don't know.

The hardest part about all of this is that it's summer and it's getting hotter and hotter. I am typically a real outdoors kind of person, and love to swim. I haven't even been to the beach yet and its been really hard for me..I just try to focus on my work and other things. I went to a wedding last night that I was stressing about for months, and finally decided "fuck it, who cares I'm just going to wear a sleeveless dress" but then it turned out to be a super shitty cold, rainy day and I wore a long-sleeved kind of hippy looking thing. I was definitely not the only one with sleeves and it made me feel better, though I've also become immune to caring. I've completely changed my wardrobe and gotten a lot of cute things for the summer actually, I try to make it work...found some long-sleeved crop tops and just wear those with shorts or a skirt. Also living in NYC makes it easy...you can wear whatever you want here and there are always people looking weirder than you haha.

The tattoos that got treated are still fading significantly. I can see that the R20 method is working and I think it was the right way to go with the black outline. I really don't think that if I did Pico on black it would have worked as well. The Pico on my other arm seems to look ok, I still think it doesn't look as faded as it should but other people tell me it looks great. I guess when you see something everyday you don't notice. Right now my focus is my arms, I have a kind of large upper back piece that I'm still debating whether I want to keep or remove (its really well done but in my opinion just too big for my body). I have other smaller ones that I would like removed but still considering whether that should be done now or later. I have decided to come to peace with my tattoos on my upper arms and just remove the forearms..they can be hidden by shirts if needed and they are not bad. I will just focus on what I really hate right now and get on with my life.

Anyway, hoping that this procedure goes well this week. I'm traveling quite far to meet with this woman as she is the best and her results are amazing. It will take me two days to get there because I'm taking the bus. Staying with strangers in hostels and couch surfing. I'm excited to see results and go on this adventure!
Carmen from Tataway

3 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
2 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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