Painful Beauty – Adventures in Tattoo Removal

28 Sep

When I was younger — under 20, I got a tattoo… and another.. and another.

At the time, I thought they were awesome, now, I don’t feel the same way. Luckily, I’ve got 2 of them hidden on my body (no dirty thoughts, they’re totally viewable when I’m wearing a swim suit), so there’s no need to get them removed right now. I do worry about pregnancy though, they will look beyond disgusting at that point (not that they look “hot” now).

Anyway, the third tattoo is located on my ankle, and I hate it. I don’t regret much in life, but I certainly do occasionally *wish* I hadn’t done something. This tattoo is one of those (I wish I hadn’t…s).

About a year ago, I made the decision to remove it. I did some research (even wrote an article for it) and checked out some local clinics and shops.

I’m now 4 treatments in and I’ve had some major changes to the tattoo. Here’s my condensed version of the journey.

Day 1 – the guy I’m working with (he owns a skincare clinic) explains the process and starts zapping away. It felt to me like a rubber band being snapped against my skin (not unlike laser hair removal) and I notice the distinct smell of burning (hair? skin? I don’t want to know what!).

The first image is AFTER that first treatment. I have NO idea why I didn’t take one before it began.

I had to wait 6 weeks or more between treatments and must wear sunscreen when in the sun (so those 2 winter trips to Mexico slowed the process a bit, but were TOTALLY worth it!). I actually apply an spf 50, then use a sunscreen powder that acts as a coverup and matches my skintone.

Treatment 2 is noticeably more painful, but is still manageable. I obviously noticed a different after treatment 1, or else I wouldn’t return. Jay attacks black ink on this visit.

Treatment 3 hurts the worst of all (at this point). As I left the clinic, I found myself limping a bit and discovered broken skin (and blood!) trickling down my ankle in one spot. I’m not going to lie, it hurt! But it was still manageable. I told myself to take a pain reliever for the next appointment, but completely forgot.

Treatment 4 was out of this world. Let me tell you about pain. Jay went over the blue, then made a second pass on the black. It hurt so much, my shoulder was twitching and wigging out. When I finished, I was limping, badly. I could feel the blood running down my ankle as paid, and decided to cut my post-treatment mall trip because of how much it hurt. Photos #2 and 3 are of the site 5 minutes after treatment, and later on in the day. Those icky white things, and the larger red things are nasty blisters. This laser treatment would probably be classified as second degree burns. The pain was amazing.

Now it’s all good. Blisters did their thing (gross, I know) and it was all icky-scabby. Scabs are gone and the color is SO MUCH LIGHTER. It’s pretty amazing.
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Now, I can’t turn back. I’m scared of how much it hurt last time, but I’m also excited with the prospect of a right ankle without ink. I’m scared of the skin changing (I’ve heard of texture/color changes). But, having invested $200/treatment, I feel like I owe it to myself to have at least another treatment.

Luckily we’ll be going to Dominican Republic in November, so I’ll have to postpone my next appointment (and thus will forget the pain by then). <

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One Response to “Painful Beauty – Adventures in Tattoo Removal”

  1. Missy January 24, 2010 at 11:53 pm #

    OUCH!!!!!!! Those pictures made me wiggle in my chair!! I have one tattoo I like and 1 I hate (both covered) but I can’t imagine getting that done. I have had laser hair removal and that is about all I can do on pain. OOOOOOWWWWWW!

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