April 26th 2016
During the intake all sorts of thing around discussed. They give you general information about the way the laser works and why there are different ones. Not all lasers have the same result on a certain tattoo.
This is influenced by the type of skin you have, the ink that was used and whether or not your tattoo contains colors or just black lines.
In my case, I turned out to be lucky. My fair skin doesn’t get much sunshine, because I tend to burn quickly, so my tattoo had not been in the sun a lot. This keeps the ‘quality’ and prevents fading. Also, the ink was all black, since I never actually went back to have it finished with colors as originally planned. (Read my previous post if you want to know why.)
And finally, it turned out my artist was relatively good at what she did and the tattoo wasn’t placed to deeply. The owner of the Veldhoven Kliniek explained; If you can feel the lines of your bodywork when moving your hand across the skin (after healing), this indicated it was place to deep. And that would make it harder to remove.
If I understand correctly, the darker your skin, the harder it is to remove. I’ve talked to some others removing their tattoo, they told me the laser had to be turned up higher after a few treatments. This caused them to have more point hemorrhages and some small blisters than I had. If you ask your clinic about this, they should be able to give you an honest answer about what to expect.
Then they gave me an estimate of the amount of treatments I would need. The measured the tattoo and calculated the price for each session. Both these things are based on everything I described above (laser preference, size, skin type, etc.) I signed an agreement that I was aware of the possible risks and we were ready to start!
My tattoo’s just before the treatment:
We moved to the laser room, where me and my friend were given special glasses to protect our eyes from the laser. Because we started right after the intake, I didn’t use the numbing creme (more about that below), so it was quite painful. She would test the laser with one ‘tick’ on my tattoo, to see how effective it would be and then we began.
You can imagine the laser making a ticking sound every time it hits the ink through your skin. The louder the tick, the more ink was being hit, so the black lines made a lot more noise then the shading did. It took about 20 minutes to do the first half. In my previous post I told you how I made the mistake of sitting up at first and not communicating about the fact that this made me uncomfortable. After laying down, the second half was done a lot quicker because I could hold still.
Here are some snapshots of the treatment with the Picoway Laser:
The clinic staff checking to see if my skin is cooled enough before starting the laser treatment.
They were very good at explaining every step of the process.
The Picoway laser and skin cooler in use.
You can see some lasersnow and redness appearing on my skin on the areas she’s treated.
My skin after the whole session was done.
I tend to get red skin véry easily and as you can see there are a few small point hemorrhages.
I think the best way to describe the pain is to have an elastic band snapping against your skin very hard. And then one snap after the after, moving around on your skin slowly. This is definitely not a pain free treatment, but I do think it varies for everyone how painful it is. Also the location on your body and whether or not it’s close to your bones or spine matters! I found the hardest part to be when the laser reaches my neck, the sides (close to the armpits) and at my spine. The other parts are more fleshy and not so bad.
And I guess you should remember what it felt like to get the tattoo in the first place. To me, what feeling was best described as if someone was pushing a sharp scissor in my skin and moving around with it. At least as painful as laser treatment and that took 8 hours instead of 45 minutes.
The thing with the numbing creme:
A big difference between the first and second treatment was use of numbing creme on my skin. Like I said, the first laser treatment was right after the intake, so I didn’t have time to apply it. It was painful, but I managed. The second time I went in, the creme didn’t work and it was completely my own fault. I had applied way to little, only using one small tube of creme to cover my entire back tattoo. That is the amount normally used the cover a tattoo the size of a post-it note. Also, I covered it up with kitchen tissues to protect my T-shirt. That was me being stubborn, thinking it would be fine. Needless to say, it did nothing to stop the pain during the laser treatment and the tissue had absorbed what little amount I had applied.
Completion and aftercare:
After completing the treatment, I was given a thick layer of creme that would help take out the heat the laser causes underneath your skin. The cooler before/during the treatment helps, but when you’re done its best to keep this going. Then they patched up the area with cotton bandages and gave me some more creme to use at home if the heat would stay sensible. So far, I didn’t need it afterwards.
I was allowed to take the bandages off before I went to bed that day and take a lukewarm shower in the morning. In this post I gave some tips on preparing before your laser treatments, but also some things that may give your relief afterwards. Have a look to see if it works for you or ask me more about it in a comment below!
Result before and after two treatments:
Personally I’m very happy with the results so far. You can really see something happening! The lines have started to fade, some of the shading is gone and the older tattoo (on the right) is really responding well. Soon I’m going in for the 3rd treatment.