In 2014, I decided to treat myself to a birthday gift, a tattoo! I wanted “toujours” (meaning always in French) with a small heart tattooed on my ring finger. Why? Well, I’m married & will be always (regardless of what you negative individuals may say about divorce). The artist said it was too big to fit on my tiny finger & couldn’t get me in for at least 45 minutes. She suggested I get the word on my wrist & the matching heart on my finger. I walked around the mall for 45 minutes pondering the idea. I didn’t truly like the idea, but I’m super impatient & had my heart set on a tattoo that day. Instead of the under side of my wrist, I decided I wanted it on top. I instantly regretted it! I don’t regret the tattoo, I regret the absolutely stupid placement!
(photos of my removal are shown after the video)
I couldn’t stop her in the middle of it so I let her finish the tattoo. I thought maybe it would grow on me. It didn’t. I began contemplating a removal for over a year. I then went to get a new meaningful tattoo for my birthday in 2016 & found out the owner does tattoo removal. I researched tattoo removal & then called the shop about removal. I do not regret the removal & am glad I can get it removed, or at least faded. I plan to either fully remove it (as much as my body will allow) or fade it enough to be covered with more leopard print!
What is tattoo removal?
Tattoos fade over time, but why? Our white blood cells try to consume ink particles since tattoos are seen as a foreign object on our bodies. Ink particles are different sizes, some tiny enough to be carried away by blood cells, & some too big for blood cells to remove. Tattoos fade due to small enough ink particles being removed by our white blood cells. The laser used for removal helps break down the large ink particles into smaller pieces. White blood cells are then able to move the new, small ink particles through our lymphatic channels straight to our liver. In the end, we poop out our tattoos out!
The following video is one of my favorites for explaining the removal process!
Below is a collage of my removal process. I have only had 2 sessions. My first was in May & second at the end of July. It can only be done every 8 weeks. The photo after the collage is what it currently looks like (2 weeks after the 2nd removal).
My first time honestly didn’t “hurt”. It was uncomfortable, but I wouldn’t say it hurt. To describe this feeling is someone taking a rubber band to your skin over & over again. There is a cold air blower used on the skin for a few minutes before the laser is used. The cold air (-30 or -20) numbs the skin and cools it so the hot laser isn’t as painful. The healing process was a bit more painful.
The second session, however, did hurt a bit. The best way to describe it is hot bacon grease. The professional using the laser didn’t cool my skin as long as the first time & amped up the laser compared to the first time since I healed so well. With that being said, the healing process was so much faster & less painful than the first time! I think (my opinion) it is because of the body being used to the process.
The last photo is 2 weeks after my 2nd session. The scabs just fell off a few days ago & it is still a little “pink” but that fades. My 3rd session is at the end of September. Until then, the tattoo will continue to fade (white blood cells carrying the small particles to the liver). I will post another blog before & after my 3rd session.
After care is pretty simple. Since it’s technically a burn, it can become infected. To prevent infection, I use bacitracin cream. Some people use aquaphor, but I was strictly told bacitracin is the only thing that should be used because it prevents bacterial infections. I have had great results from using bacitracin! When it comes to sun exposure, the burn should be kept out of the sun for at least 7 days (even cover it when driving!). After 7 days (if it’s scabbed over), it is recommended to put SPF on it before going into the sun. The tanner the skin the harder it is to remove (I do not know the medical reason for this). I drown it with SPF every hour if I’m out in the sun (on vacation). I usually don’t when driving, but instead I hold my arm down between my car door and seat where there’s no sun.
*Note: It honestly looks worse than it feels! It looks super painful, but I assure you it’s not.