I have been wanting a tattoo for years. My partner...
I have been wanting a tattoo for years. My partner wasn't so thrilled at the idea when I announced I had an appointment to finally get one. It isn't a decision that was spontaneous. It was the result of a long reflection and I put a lot of time in it, and choosing the place, motif and artist. However, I should have just taken more time to think given the adverse reaction of my partner at the thought, and also because of the suggestion of the artist to enlarge the design to ensure better aging. This ended bigger and way more present than I wanted. I can't even wear short sleeves now without it showing. Also, a good climate with my partner is more important than anything else, and this tattoo really put me in a situation I hate. My partner didn't ask to see the tattoo for the first 3 days after I got it, and even avoided asking or being faced with it. This made me feel really bad inside, even though at first I was sort of satisfied with the result. But I became self-conscious with time, because of his reaction and also because of my own reaction to his. And now, even though he came to accept my decision and told me he's be ok with it, it's me who can't get to quite show it to him. I feel like hidding it from him, because I know he doesn't like that at all. So the situation is intolerable. I have a child as well, old enough to notice, but I decided to keep it hidden from her since I decided not to keep it after this 2-month reflection. This will make the coming year a little bit more complicated to manage, but I prefer this to explanations and possible leaks to the extended family. Nobody knows except my husband and a few friends.
Since my tattoo has theoretically good odds of being removed, I decided to start removing it. I hope for a complete removal, but if I should experience problems with residual ink, I might look into a small tattoo for the upper part, where it could easily be hidden under a short sleeve. I hope the bottom part can disappear totally.
My first laser session is tomorrow (May 27). I had my tattoo on March 31, so the tattoo is now 2 months old. It is only black lines, made with vegan ink (Eternal), with only a little bit of shading. Lines were only made once (the artist didn't do several passes). I am scheduled with a clinic that uses a Q-switched laser and she plans anywhere between 6 to 12 treatments (it depends a lot on how the person reacts and how fast the body eliminates the ink after break-up, she says).
Also, they offer laser session to help with adult acne problems, and I decided to try this as well, since I have problems with my face skin ever since I am a teenager. I thought that going for a positive treatment at the same time that I go to correct this decision I regret would help me see this as a step forward into a more positive period of my life.
So, that's how it goes.
First laser session
27 May 2014
Day of treatment
Having read a lot about the pain and such from other people, I was a little bit anxious. Finally, I would say that the pain is a little bit stronger than for the tattoo, but less than laser depilation for armpits. So quite bearable, even without any cold air or numbing cream. I am going to a clinic where it is a doctor who performs the treatment. She says that the skin is not supposed to blister. Also, I could clearly see the frosting and it was effective according to the practitioner. The parameters were as follows: Q-switch laser wavelength 1064, spot size 4mm, fluence 2.0. The skin shows some tiny red spots at places, and the skin is slightly raised where the tattoo lines where most dense, but otherwise, everything is quite fine and good! Enthusiastic so far.
Trying to go through all this being as zen as possible
27 May 2014
Day of treatment
"If something can be remedied
Why be unhappy about it?
And if there is no remedy for it,
There is still no point in being unhappy."
2 days post Tx1
Just writing to show that the skin is slightly raised after 2 days. No scab, no blisters in sight. It's a little bit itchy. I'd say that the swelling of the lines and the itchiness compare with the healing process of the tattoo itself. The lines are more blurry, so it's obvious that the laser blasted them. We'll see how much is drained in a few weeks.
Also, I saw on the site of the clinic that their laser is a Spectra Q-switched nd-YAG. For those who might enjoy having that information.
Itching finally stopped - Fading is beginning
Two weeks post first session. I see some overall fading, and some lines are more irregular than they used to be - no breakups yet, but definitely some thinning at places. Some lines are still raised, and skin is still shedding as well. For the time being, the process isn't really that annoying or painful. The itchiness is at times distracting - you can't stop thinking about it much -- but otherwise, it's very bearable. Next appointment scheduled for July 14 (7 weeks in between sessions). Long process is long.
2 weeks post Tx 1
Just posting two pics that show the little bit of fading I have so far, two weeks after first treatment. Totally healed, except for a little bit of dry, shedding skin. Lines are more irregular and blurry. The black is less intense overall as well.
I went to an aqua park a few days ago and it was tough. I bought myself a bathing suit with half sleeves that is perfect for aquatic sports like kayak. It was also perfect for a day outside without having my shoulders burned. It was however annoying to see all those people with tattoos (most not really interesting or beautiful, in my honest opinion), and all those people with bare skin. I found myself envious of everyone else: I wish I could enjoy my tattoo that I find cuter than most I saw, yet I am unable to; I wish I could have bare skin like all the others. But well, I enjoyed the day nonetheless but it was draining because it was hard not to think about the tattoo constantly. :(
Approx 6 weeks after first tx.
Second laser session next week. This is the current state of affairs after one session. Close-up attached to show the minimal fading so far.
SECOND SESSION - July 14
15 Jul 2014
2 months post
Had my second session. Same settings. She tried to turn the laser up a little bit and did test patches, but the tattoo frosted well at a low setting too, so she decided to keep it not too high as to avoid causing unnecessary stress and damage to the skin. Didn't find it much painful. No ice, no cold air, no numbing. Will post updates whenever/if I see improvements of any kind.
2 days post 2nd Tx
16 Jul 2014
2 months post
I find important to share pics of the tattoo as I don't get macro blistering and my skin doesn't get traumatized much. I am treated by a doctor whose concern is aesthetics, and so great care is taken so as to avoid scarring the skin. The pictures attached are two days after treatment, there is some redness (spots near the black tattoo lines), some swelling, and what I would describe as "micro" blistering (you can see it in the first pic if you look at the places where the sun is shining on the skin), since there seems to be small bubbles on the black lines, but if you don't look really closely, it just seems like the skin is swollen.
There is some tiny progress already showing in the end of the line I included as a close-up. We'll see how it clears in the following weeks.
39 days post 2nd Tx
22 Aug 2014
3 months post
I have a new session planned next week, so I'm updating basically to document to fading prior to that upcoming treatment. There is some obvious fading at the end of lines and on the lines that are really thin. Otherwise, what can be noticed is mainly an overall more greyish colour and some irregularities in the width of lines in general.
THIRD SESSION - August 28
29 Aug 2014
3 months post
So, I had my third session yesterday. The fluence was increased by 0.2 this time. The doctor tried 0.4 higher, but then, it seems aggressive for the skin for no reason as 2.2 was enough with great ink frosting. It snapped a little bit more and I have had more blood spots around the lines than the two previous times. Still, not a traumatizing treatment for the skin and the healing should go well and fast.
Let's hope it fades noticeably!
15 days post Tx3
15 Sep 2014
4 months post
Some fading. Greyish. It seems like we see more of the skin colour through the ink at places. The thinnest line at the bottom is almost gone.
FOURTH SESSION - October 21
21 Oct 2014
5 months post
Fourth session today. The fluence was increased by 0.2 again this time, but still relatively low, which brings us to 2.4. The ink frosted nicely. All this seems very encouraging. Now, time to wait again! Will post pics as soon as there is something to show.
2 days post Tx4
22 Oct 2014
5 months post
Just uploading pictures. A little bit of redness, some very tiny blisters and some swelling, but overall, nothing that seems too traumatizing for the skin.
35 days post Tx4
25 Nov 2014
6 months post
It is fading. Slowly. But there is progress.
FIFTH SESSION - December 15
16 Dec 2014
7 months post
Fifth session today. Same parameters as the last one: fluence = 2.4. Still a nice frosting for the ink. A few tiny blisters again, but none bigger than the head of a needle. The tattoo is changing and fading at each treatment, but *VERY* slowly. However, it is encouraging since it *IS* changing and fading. Ever grayer... Slowly.
52 days post Tx5
Just publishing pictures of the progress since last treatment, as I will have my sixth laser session next week. It's fading!
SIXTH SESSION - February 9
Power at 2.6 J today. Hoping that it will continue to fade... Hitching is coming!
18 days post Tx6 - Comparison pictures
27 Feb 2015
9 months post
So, here's the state of things.
31 Mar 2015
10 months post
Today marks one year living with a tattoo. One full year. Simultaneously, I feel like time is flying so fast that even living 2-3 years with treatments is feasible, and at the same time, I can't seem to figure how I have managed to do it so far.
I decided that when my tattoo would be as gone as it can be, I'd be in top shape. I had been postponing exercising and losing that little extra weight. Since it can help the metabolism, and since it can help against depressive feelings, I decided to get into some sports more seriously. For now, I'm into minimalist running and I intend to do some cycling this coming summer. I've lost about 10 pounds so far (no much, but I don't have that much to lose either). However, I do feel like my cardio is much better than before and that I am stronger. This whole experience made me stronger.
I attach a picture of the bottom of my tattoo. I have an appointment scheduled after Easter holidays.
SEVENTH SESSION - April 7
7 Apr 2015
11 months post
Another session done! Power at 2.8 J today. More swollen and red than last time. Next session in June. Let's hope it's fading noticeably since then!
8 Apr 2015
11 months post
I just wanted to share a fabulous buy I just made on the Team Estrogen website: I bought a cycling/running bolero made by SheBeest. The design is great, it will protect my skin against the sun, and it will hide my tattoo in a very fashionable way. It's so amazing. Bought it for $30. The one I bought is the tigress one, but showing other pics of a previous design as well so that you know how it looks on someone.
1 week after Tx7
14 Apr 2015
11 months post
Slowly fading. Starting to see bigger breakups. Still very visible and dark though there is an obvious difference between now and before any treatments.
Just before Tx8
Updating only to post pictures before my treatment this afternoon.
EIGHTH SESSION - June 1
Power at 3.0 J today. Pin-point bleeding and some swelling, as usual. Some micro-blisters as well on the largest lines. These ones aren't breaking up yet, but they are going more and more greyish.
15 days post Tx8 - Comparison pictures
I just attached comparison pictures.
NINTH SESSION - August 3
Going this afternoon for my ninth session. I post pictures of the state of things prior to lasering. Will update in a few weeks again when it's mostly healed.
The tattoo is still very present, but grey and faded. Some lines are starting to break up nicely. End of lines at the top of the tattoo are disappearing.
TENTH SESSION - September 28
So today was the tenth session. I have mixed feelings about that. Kinda "already ten?!?" and "it's so long... ten over 1 year and a half later... still doing this" But well. I'm mostly fine (psychologically) and feeling great in my body (I've been exercising a lot). So I guess that it is as good as it's going to get for the time being. Keeping on with lasering, waiting, exercising, staying positive.
Laser set at 3.4J today.
A few days post Tx10
I tried to take close-up pictures that show the fading I do see. My other pictures don't see to show the progress very good, but it's hard to take a picture that actually show how my tattoo has faded. I hope once uploaded (with the resolution modified by RS) they will still show the awesome progress I see.
ELEVENTH SESSION - November 26
So, another session done. 4.0J today. Lots of pinpoint bleeding. The whole tattoo is getting dull and greyish, but no real breakups. It's just slowly and equally vanishing into greyishness.
TWELFTH SESSION - January 18
Session at 4.5J. Pinpoint bleeding again, Tiny blisters. Will try to post pics when healed this time! Just was too busy over the last months to bother about this thing on my arm!