Why the hell did I get this TATTOO? Thinking the same are you? Well if you don’t know that tattoo removal is one of the fastest growing beauty treatments in the world let alone Australia I’d be surprised, or I’d be led to think you didn’t have any tattoos. I fight the urge to tell my mum she was right and let her say I told you so.
I’ll never forget coming home from the tattoo parlour where I’d headed to earlier in the day to get a tiny little 1cm crooked line-thin cross on my outer wrist covered up or redone. I came home with not one, but two tattoos – one on each of the back of my forearms, between the tip of my elbow and the line extension of my little finger. A big thumping locket, and of course you can’t have a locket without the matching key. Right? Well, four years later my love turned into dislike which turned into pure hatred. I hate using such a strong word but I HATE these tattoos. I never thought my tattoos would affect my work, the way people judge me at work, and in social settings.
Now, you’re wondering what I do for work? Ok, fine. I’m a registered nurse. I work in one of Australia’s busiest hospitals and specifically I work in Emergency. So, I am the first person people see when they are at their worst, most venerable states. Although there is a lot of controversy about tattoos and the stigma attached to them, it has definitely affected how my patients perceive me – and their families too. It’s hard not to care what people think in the line of work I do. Because my job is to care; which I find myself caring a bit too much about things I probably shouldn’t. I’m over complete strangers commenting on my tattoos – whether they love them or hate them I’ve heard it all, and I’m over it.
I’m at the age where my partner and I are looking to get married in the near future and I don’t want to look back on my wedding photos and see this irrelevant lock and key.
Anyway, alas there is a saviour and her name (yes I named it a her) is the Cutera EnLIGHTen. Before I continue, I just want to say if you having any other laser tattoo removal that isn’t Cutera, run far, far away and cancel your next appointment right now… Great, now that your appointment is cancelled, I’ll continue. The research behind Enlighten is first class and it really is a cut above the rest!
So, here I am at my first session. I lay on the table putting on my goggles and I can feel a bead of sweat run down my back and it occurs to me, ‘Wait, stop, I love my tattoo…’ Only joking – it occurs that I’m nervous. Luckily, Barbara, my lovely technician, who is also a nurse, reassures me and puts my mind at ease. She informs me to tell her to stop at any point. Off we go.. zap, zap, zap. Ok, this is nowhere near as bad as I imagined. Yes, it’s painful; yes, it feels like someone is holding a lighter over my skin; but the pain of getting a tattoo and the pain of regret is much, much worse. I can handle this, and within ten minutes both tattoos have been lasered and I’m still alive, and I feel fine. Visually they look white-like and spotty. They are covered in a vaseline like substance, and then a dressing is applied on top along with ice for a while.
Over the next few hours I can feel the heat and swelling forming, and fluid under my skin – all very normal all to be expected. The next day I eagerly awake to see my tattoos – they are red raw, quite painful and blisters have formed. I clean them and re-dress them as I was shown. Over the next week they continue to be quite hot. The blisters go away within a few days and in their place are bright red dots. The next step is to uncover my tattoos, and keep them uncovered, and apply vaseline once a day. They slowly become very dry and the red dots are starting to flake. As they flake away revealed underneath are very faded, thin tattoo lines with some lines almost completely gone – I kid you not!
They itch like crazy. I’ve woken up twice now in the middle of the night because of the itching. I put ointment on them and then the itching subsides. By day nine or ten they are no longer itchy or feeling like an inferno, and the scabs are healing happily. The shading is completely gone and I cannot believe the result. A work colleague is up to her 13th treatment with a non-Cutera laser, and I swear parts of my tattoo look ten times better than hers, and she has scarring. So, the exciting news is my next session is in two months. By then it will be fully healed and I’m hoping I won’t have any scars. I can’t believe the results from JUST ONE treatment and I’m looking forward to my next treatment. I am one happy person. This tattoo will all be gone in no time.
* For more info on the enLIGHTen Picosecond and Nanosecond laser system, click here.
Check out our article on the Cutera University forum our Editor Trish went to as part of her research on the latest and most progressive lasers on the market.