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So what’s it REALLY like to get a tattoo removed? – Coventry Telegraph

Posted in Tattoo Removal on Jul 03, 2017

Tattoos have become one of the biggest fashion statements of the 21st century.

No longer the preserve of sailors and skinheads, it seems everyone from grade A students to respectable retired grannies are getting inked up these days.

But as with flares, flat-tops, dralon sofas and go-faster stripes, things go out of fashion, and the same is true for tats.

Tribal was big a few years ago. Now it’s full sleeves, and huge chest and back pieces with hyper-realistic artwork or geometric designs.

So what happens when your ink starts to look dated, or you’ve just fallen out of love with it?

Maybe your kids are laughing at that Tazmanian Devil you got as a drunk 19-year-old, or perhaps Claire is now Laura?

Until a few years ago your options were limited.

You could have had it surgically removed – you still can if you really want your skin cut open and sewn back up (no thanks), or you could have tried tattoo fading creams (don’t waste your money, they don’t work).

But the advent of lasers means tattoo removal is now more readily available and effective than ever, as news editor Duncan Gibbons found out.

My tattoo started off as a simple black circular sun in the mid-1990s, but got extended into a tribal cross in 2007.

Japanese wind bars and flowers were added in 2014, but I never really liked the overall look and the quality wasn’t great.

You get what you pay for, and I had rushed into it without doing my research.

The time had come to get rid of it. To be honest I missed my natural skin.

I looked into laser removal and the internet was awash with success stories of large, dense, tattoos being completely erased, or faded enough for a decent cover-up.

But don’t get me wrong, it’s by no means an easy, cheap or painless option.

According to Chiltern Medical Clinic, a laser removes tattoo ink with the energy of light.

Just as natural sunlight is made up of light wavelengths of many colours, a laser produces one or more specific wavelengths of light which are either absorbed, reflected or simply passed through objects.

Tattoo ink is removed by using a specific wavelength, which passes through the skin but is absorbed by the ink.

The rapid absorption of light causes the ink molecules to shatter, after which it is removed by the bodys natural filtering systems.

Are you kidding me? It’s ridiculously painful.

Getting a tattoo feels a bit scratchy, and sometimes you hardly feel anything at all. In fact you can sit for hours getting a tattoo done, with only the occasional grimace.

But laser sessions are so painful and damaging to the skin they’re typically restricted to about 20 minutes.

It’s like being splattered with dozens of drops of red hot oil every second.

Thankfully the laser technician gives you a countdown from three so you can brace yourself, and then gives you a breather every couple of minutes.

My advice would be to use skin numbing cream which does take the edge off it. But only just.

While the treatment is underway, you wear goggles to protect your eyes, while the therapist wears full face protection to stop tiny flecks of your skin and blood covering his or her face. Seriously.

When the laser hits your skin, carbon dioxide is released which causes frosting on the surface of the tattoo. This soon disappears and the skin quickly turns a pinky red with pin pricks of blood.

Oh and it smells like burning hair and skin. Because essentially that’s what’s happening.

On the plus side you’ll probably be transfixed by the tattoo being erased in front of your very eyes.

Once it’s over the treated area will be dressed – and then the fun really starts.

The treated area will sting for several hours, and will be red, sore and painful for several days. A bit like the worst sunburn you’ve ever had.

Deep scabs and huge water blisters might form, but DON’T pick or pop them, no matter how tempting, because you might be left with scars.

Although only my upper arm was treated, my forearm swelled up to twice its size the next day, and there appears to have been some internal bleeding or bruising.

I went to A&E thinking it was infected, but I’m told this reaction was perfectly normal, and the swelling did go down after a couple of days. As they say, no pain, no gain.

Oh your clothes and bed sheets will be ruined, because invariably the treated area will ooze blood and other gunk for a while.

A few days after treatment, the colouring of the tattoo will begin to fade, illustrating that the treatment is effectively breaking down the unwanted ink.

However, you may need several laser tattoo removal treatments, depending on the size, colour and density of your tattoo and the type of laser used.

Laser tattoo removal is particularly effective on black, blue and red inks. Tattoos done with Indian ink can be resolved in as little as two treatments. Green ink is the most resistant to laser treatment.

It’s best to leave at least six weeks between treatments to give your skin chance to heal.

I’ve only had one session, but the tattoo has already faded so much, and some of the shading has disappeared altogether. I know there’s a lot more pain and discomfort to come, but it will definitely be worth it.

Prices vary wildly, but typically each treatment for a small tattoo is about 50. But remember, you may need several treatments.

The tattoo on my arm was broken down into three 100 sessions, meaning one treatment for the entire tattoo was 300. If I need four treatments that’s 1,200. A lot of money, yes, but I’m looking forward to having my old arm back!

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So what’s it REALLY like to get a tattoo removed? – Coventry Telegraph

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