Tattoo Removal - Left Shoulder, Q Switch Vs Pico - Victoria, BC

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I started my tattoo removal in November of 2013. I...

I started my tattoo removal in November of 2013. I have had four treatments with the Q-Switched Yag in Nanaimo, BC and have my first Picosure appointment scheduled for today in Victoria, BC, Canada. I have experienced a fair amount of fading with the Q-switched and am overall happy with the results so far. The solid black in my tattoo is fading and breaking up and the red Chinese characters are almost gone. I do have a bit of scarring which could be a combination of the original tattoo process or one of the laser treatments I’ve received so far.

The Picosure has been getting so much hype in the tattoo removal world so I am excited to see what all the fuss is about – and if it is actually worth the price (I pay $150 each treatment with the Q-switched and $350 for the Picosure).

Background about my tattoo:
I got this tattoo at age 17 and it is 11 years old. As you will see in the original photo, the black ink was quite heavy and dense. The tattoo is on my left shoulder. I am embarrassed that I got it.

Laser treatments:
I didn’t use any lidocaine numbing cream for my first two treatments. It is definitely a painful process. I’d describe it as someone sticking a pin into my skin and dragging it along in short little snapping motions. The pain makes my body experience involuntary spasms. It hurts a lot but is tolerable. I’ve started using EMLA lidocaine cream and it numbs the pain quite a bit. Each treatment is more powerful than the last so the pain definitely increases with each.

Okay, that is basically it. My apologies for the poor photo documentation. I can’t wait to have this mistake off of my back. I can’t wait to wear backless dresses. I can’t wait to not have to cover up at the beach.

First Picosure Experience - Fifth laser treatment

I had my first Picosure laser treatment at Cosmedica Laser Center in Victoria. In preparation for this treatment, I applied Emla lidocaine numbing cream three hours before my appointment. My skin reacted slightly with the numbing cream but the technician said that the reaction was nothing to worry about. She said most patients have a slight reaction to the Emla, either a reddening or blanching of the skin. The technician seemed very knowledgeable and professional.

My fourth treatment with the Q-switched was very painful, so I was a bit nervous for this treatment. To my surprise, the Picosure laser was slightly less painful than the Q-switched. It also seemed quicker as only one run of the laser is needed (compared to the two runs from the Q-switched).

Overall, I had a very positive experience with the Picosure. I can only hope that the results are just as positive! I hope the extra money for the treatment was worth it. I can’t wait to compare and share some photos in 2-3 weeks.

Happy fading and thanks so much for all the support. :)

Two weeks after first Picosure treatment

Hello tattoo removal community,

This photo was taken two weeks after my first picosure treatment (fifth treatment total). To be honest, I was hoping for better results. I do see some nice fading near the bottom and in the middle of the tattoo, but other than that, things seem about the same as after my fourth treatment with the q-switched. I guess I will just have to wait and see if it fades even more in the upcoming weeks. At this stage (and perhaps it is a bit early to know) I am not sure that the picosure is worth the extra cost. Although, my recovery was a lot smoother after the picosure treatment. I didn’t have to deal with nasty blisters and itchy scabs. Alright, that’s it for now. Happy fading.

Four weeks after first Pico treatment

See photo for my 4 week results. I am still a bit discouraged by the picosure results at this point. I think it may have lightened things a bit overall... I think? I don't see much of a difference from my fourth treatment with the q-switched. I am trying to be patient though.

I am still unsure which route to take with my next treatment. My work schedule really complicates things at the moment so I'm not in a big rush. I will just see where I am at in the next month or so.

Sixth treatment down! Second with the Picosure.

Hello tattoo removal friends,

Well, I am actually quite pleased with the results from my first picosure treatment. My boyfriend and I both think that it caused some impressive even fading throughout my tattoo. As we all know, patience is a key part of this process and I think I may have judged my results too soon. After waiting seven weeks I re-assessed everything and decided that the fading and the easy recovery warranted a second try with the picosure. I booked my second appointment last week and was able to get in for a treatment yesterday. I had a new technician this time and after consulting the dermatologist at the clinic she decreased the spot size of the laser (increased concentration of each blast). She also went over the tattoo twice. Today the tattoo is red and tender (as usual), but as of yet, I don’t have any blisters to deal with. I guess I will just follow the aftercare procedure and use polysporin as necessary and a lot of aloe vera. I have started using bio-oil every now and again too.

I always feel a bit optimistic after each treatment… like I am closer to the end goal. I have kind of given up on the magic number of ten treatments needed. After six treatments my tattoo is definitely still there. Still there but fading away… slowly, slowly. Oh, and I’ve also started laser hair removal treatments on my body. Just because this laser thing is so inexpensive and so fun :p Obviously sarcasm - I passed the $1000 mark on money spent on my tattoo removal so far.

Happy fading everyone :)

Results after 6th treatment

It has been almost six weeks since my sixth treatment (2nd picosure treatment) and I am quite pleased with the results. I see an overall fading of the tattoo plus some nice break up of the ink throughout the center of the tattoo. Some stubborn dark parts of the tattoo have started to break up too.

7th Treatment (Q-switch)

Hello tattoo removal community,

After waiting almost 12 weeks, I have finally had another treatment. I am fairly happy with my fading and results with the picosure (although thought I would experience more dramatic fading), but opted to go for a q-switched treatment this time. The nurse turned the laser up quite a bit this time (decreased the spot size) and I could definitely hear it in each snap. She mentioned that think the ink was reacting very well to each blast and that she was happy with the results so far.

I haven’t experienced any large blistering yet (been three days since the treatment), just minor scabbing and general puffiness. I’ve been using polysporin on it once a day after I shower and wash it.

See attached for a photo of before the treatment and a photo from 2 days after.

I’m feeling impatient and optimistic and can’t wait to see some serious fading of this ugly tattoo.

Cheers and happy fading.

8th Treatment (Q-switch)

Hey guys. Well I just had my eighth laser treatment today at Midwest Laser clinic. I was treated with their tried and tested Q-switch laser. The treatment itself wasn’t very painful, although the emla lidocaine cream helps a lot. The technician mentioned that she observed a lot of pinpoint bleeding this treatment; you can see in the picture that the area bled quite a bit. I have yet to remove the bandage but I am curious to see what is underneath! I waited for 9-10 weeks between treatments this time. It has been over a year since I started this journey and it is getting expensive. Also, I have noticed that the results are less dramatic with each treatment. I guess I don’t have as much ink to blast out. I added a comparison photo – the pic on the left was taken yesterday and is the result of my last (seventh) treatment, the pic on the right was 10? weeks after my sixth treatment.

I am starting to wonder how many treatments I have left to go. I’m guessing it will be 15-18 at this rate. I just want this thing to be gone already!

Results after 8th Treatment. Benefit to waiting!

Hello all,
Sorry for my absence. I have taken a good seven months off of my tattoo removal. I've attached a pic of my tattoo now. I think it has faded quite a lot! I get a lot of comments on it from my friends and family. I am feeling better and better about my tattoo as it slowly fades away. I think that this time off from treatment has been beneficial for my skin and my mind. I have been enjoying time out at the lake and have been cautious about sun exposure but not thinking about it each time i'm outside. Almost time for the next blast! I think I will wait for a few weeks so I don't have to worry about the aftercare when we are still experiencing such great weather. Cheers!

Long overdue update

Ok, here are my latest results. Last treatment was about 2 months ago. I'm happy with the progress and love that it is slowly fading away. I can wear tank tops and dresses and don't mind showing my back again. All this money and pain is worth it!

9th treatment results - Update - Seven months after last treatment

Hey guys,

Although the fading is not dramatic, the treatments are definitely working. I think I will book my 10th treatment for the next few weeks and am actually looking forward to it. I do have some lightening of the skin but it is much better than the dark ink! Happy fading.
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