Black Outline on Forearm

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I got my entire forearm outlined in black ink...

I got my entire forearm outlined in black ink 3/28/15. This is my first and only tattoo. I have not gone back for shading. I am currently in a weird limbo place with my tattoo. It is not finished and prominently displayed, but I am scared to get more work done. After getting the ink, I experienced a lot of lymph pain in my armpit. Very swollen and tender. Now that it has been 2 months, I am experiencing itching. I am worried if my body can handle the ink it already has, much less get more. Is it safe to laser remove a tattoo with Picosure that has proven to be hard on the immune system?

Emotional process

I am so nervous about this process and didn't realize the array of emotions getting a tattoo and saving up for removal would do to my psyche. I wish I could claim that I didn't care, and I do have a sense of humor about it all, but good grief I was not prepared (even after 10 years of planning, 1 1/2 years of being waitlisted) for the insecurity. I chose to get a forearm tattoo because I have existing scars on my arm since I was 14 and wanted to adapt them into art. My tattoo feels enormous, it is only outline complete, and I chose the artist for his photo realism. He is amazing but I don't think I can continue. The itching has me nervous. Did I mention, it is enormous and cuffs my hand. Really hard to hide.

I want to test removal on the back part of my tattoo, but doubt that will be the most economical, if indeed I continue for full removal. I am also a single parent and have a crazy work/grad school/parenting schedule. Sleep is not something I get a ton of. I wonder if tattoo removal will work because of my stressed immune system, or perhaps it will be the inspiration needed to slow down and sleep more. Mostly, I can't believe this is something I am going to try and budget for. How do I do that and slow down simultaneously?? Good grief.

Which laser and Olympic Dermatology & Laser Clinic in Olympia, WA, anybody?

I have black outline only. Am debating between ruby/yag versus picosure. The ruby/yag approach is cheaper, but are adverse effects higher? Is the ruby/yag laser faster and more effective on rich black line work than picosure? Has anybody been to this clinic in Olympia WA with an experience to share? Thanks!

Apt booked

Ok, I found a clinic near me, Olympic Dermatology and Laser Clinic and booked an appointment for Oct 1. I wanted to wait 6 months from when I got this tattoo to begin removing it. I have been advised that it takes that long for the ink to settle, and by waiting the likelihood of fuller removal and less scarring increases. Can't wait to begin but am super nervous. I decided to go with the ruby q-switch laser because the clinic is close to me, the tech has 20 years of experience, and they offered me a 4 session package deal, which equals 288/session. The downside is the tech was super honest with me and told me that full removal is a likely pipe dream and that due to the density of my lines, I may need 20 treatments.... to attain optimal fading. Ugh. Not what I wanted to hear, but I appreciate her honesty. She also recommended I start immediately using a product, Biafine as a preemptive measure and an aftercare measure against scarring. It's a french product and can be bought from their website for quite a deal. It is not over the counter in the US. And ofcourse stay out of the sun, wear spf 10,000 and cover up.

I am still holding on to a fantasy that picosure will result in less treatments, less scarring, and fuller (hopefully FULL) removal. I would need to travel and pay much more money and I am slightly skeptical because my hope is based on the picosure market campaign promising those ideals. On the other hand I have seen some amazing picosure results through this forum. Does anyone have personal experience comparing these two treatments for black ink who would like to share? Also has anyone used Seattle Skin and Laser or Millcreek Skin and Laser who can speak to tech ability?



First session complete - q switch yag

I am still all bandaged up, so there is no picture to upload yet, but I wanted to say that after deliberating, researching, and saving money, I wasn't expecting to feel so excited after treatment. Finally doing something to change my situations. I know it will be a long road, but it feels good to be proactive.

Two weeks post Tx #1

It has been a couple weeks since I had my first laser treatment. Since the tattoo cuffs around my forearm, I was cautioned not to laser it all at once. When the area swells it can cause a tourniquet-like pressure to the area and diminish circulation. This made sense to me. So, I focused on the parts that bother me the most: the long stretch from elbow down to wrist bone on the pinky's side and the wrist work. Although, I wish we could just hit it evenly with the laser, all at once. This piece was intended to be a variation of bio mechanic/ nature inspired black and gray work. A fox, birches, and pinecones. It is incomplete and huge. As a result, there is a skeletal feel to the line work and it is is super contrasty. Blah, blah, blah. I know it's not the worst, it's just so prominent and I don't like it.... so, I'm doing something to change my situation, which feels good. There is even very subtle changes to some of the more shallow linework, which is promising. I hope this long laser process that I just embarked on will render the results I am looking for: full removal. One step at a time, one step at a time.

3 weeks after Tx 2

I had my 2nd treatment. She bumped up the laser to 4 joules. The cold air jet wasn't working and I didn't want to spend money on numbing cream, and holy mother, it stung. I use Biafine cream as an after treatment. It's supposed to boost my microphage productivity. Hopefully it works. I also drink tons of tea/ fluids, take some immune boosting vitamins, and sleep a lot. I am so busy right now in life though, that I couldn't fully relax and focus on healing. Stress dammit. Anyway, one step at a time. I love the fox on my inner arm, he's staying, its the blade on the outer arm, the wrist cuff, and the back elbow burl, I'm working on. I honestly want it gone, not just faded, gone. Sooo, I'm in it for a long haul. It's also starting to be nice weather here and I wish I could get over feeling self conscious but I so am. Winter equals sleeve normalcy and it relieves me the embarrassment. This is truly a life test of acceptance and I'm not stuck in regret, just still sensitive about it.

Tx 3..

It's been three weeks since my third treatment. (I'll upload pics later) The tech thought that I was already experiencing hypo pigmentation (the lightly laid down black ink was a brown color) so she hit it hard with multiple passes and another wavelength, supposedly targeting the hypo pigmentation. I have been using a mix of biafine, aloe, manuka honey, and calendula oil.... and it's still so red. My skin was really angry in response to this treatment and I am starting to think the less aggressive the better, even though I want this gone, and shirtsleeve season is upon us. My poor sensitive skin.. I wonder if I should switch to Picosure when my package of 4 treatments are up. Tattoo removal is really a testament of morale tenacity and perseverance with no guarantees. Ugh. #initforthelonghaul

Tx3 pics/ hyper pigmentation

So I have only had 3 treatments. This is the first time the tech passed over twice with the yag (I forget the settings right now- but pretty moderate-my skin can handle the yag) and then switched over to the 532 laser with a smaller spot size and destroyed my skin. I'm taking the summer off, and the tech said that the post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation will fade overtime, but keep it out of the sun.. maybe and great [sarcasm]. I don't have a lot of faith that the hyper pigmentation is going away. Any suggestions for what I can do to treat the hyper pigmentation? Oils, creams, supplements, something? Thank you!!

TX 4

I just got my 4th treatment. Everything is fresh, red and swollen. The tech just got a new machine, so I felt a bit of a ginea pig, but am glad that it is more powerful. Hopefully she doesn't scar me as she figures it out! I had no choice but to bring my kiddo to the appointment with me, safety glasses plastered on his face, I hope I served as a cautionary tale. But even more, the lesson I served was in hope and faith. There is no guarantee that laser will remove the ink fully, in fact the odds are actually against me, and yet I continue to try. Anyway here are the one day post TX4 pics... Happy autumn everyone!


I am currently under a lot of stress and am still wanting to remove this tattoo. I hesitate to book my next appointment because I do not want to overload my system while it is already working hard. Although, I have only had 4 treatments to date, and it's already been a year since I started laser treatment. I will likely need many more, like 10 more. Trying to be realistic. Full removal may not happen. My skin may be worse off. And how at risk is my health exactly? Things I know will help:
1. Sleep
2. Hydration
3. Biafine lotion, manuka honey, aloe, calendula, etc..
Some questions:
How important is icing initially? Getting the heat out?
Are there any immune boosting supplements, preferably natural that could be helpful? I'm sure there are, just looking for insights from this amazing community!

TX #7!!!!

I haven't been on here in a while. Thank you for those who have replied and offered encouragement. So appreciated!
While my lines are fading, my optimism for full removal is waning and I have been considering just finishing the tat already. I am NOT giving up on my removal journey, I just fully get why some do. It is exhausting. On my immune system and my emotions. It's about to be summer and my arm is a hot mess. Since this removal journey, I have so many more long sleeves in my drawer. On the one hand it seems easier to cover up than field questions, it is better for my removal to stay out of the sun (I thought-is that true?), and on the other hand I do not want to feel so self-conscious anymore, thus the thoughts of owning it with more ink. But I have come this far, and I will continue creeping along, I'm just getting tired.
My aftercare regime looks like an icepack for the first 12 hours then Manuka honey and Biafine. Lots of water. Always open to more suggestions and others' experiences. Thanks for reading. Good luck with your fades!
Olympic Dermatology and Laser Clinic

Professional, informatic, and kind. My experience so far with this clinic is positive.

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