Tattoo Removal – Session 1

So it’s been 4 weeks since my first session of tattoo removal at Tatts On Tatts Off in Gungahlin.  As the name suggests, half of the shop is dedicated to tattoo application and the other half to tattoo removal, ingenious really!  Unlike other tattoo parlours which can be intimidating, Tatts Off was clean, brightly lit and had The Block playing on the TV which instantly put my mind at ease.

My removalist Bones explained the process which would start with a tattoo gun application step 1, then step 2 of applying gel over the freshly zapped areas.  A numbing spray would be used during the process to minimise the pain.  Bones did warn against the higher than average chance of scarring due to my skin colouring however by this stage I just wanted the fish gone (see my tattoo removal intro post).  Bones and the other tattoo staff were fans of the goldfish and didn’t understand what was so wrong that I wanted them gone.  I guess they must see some real shockers compared to my very non-invasive fishies.

So away Bones when and it was fine, felt just like getting a tattoo… not just a plain black tattoo but a more painful colour tattoo with shading as the tattoo gun had to go over the same areas again and again.

First round – no worries!

10 minutes in and starting to sting!

30 mins later and very red and raw

Bandaged up after my first session and a considerable amount of blood pooling

If the pain of getting the removal done with the tattoo gun was a 10, the hours after the application were probably an 8.  Unlike a tattoo, the pain in the area was pretty significant with a lot of severe stinging and throbbing.  I couldn’t actually put any weight on my ankle and was limping around like I had a sprain.  I hadn’t anticipated the pain as I thought, like a tattoo, the pain would go away once the gun had stopped.  Not the case!  From the reviews I have read this method is still much less painful than laser.

Also there was much more blood than I was expecting with small rivers of blood running down my leg.  Even once I had been bandaged up the blood continued to pool under my clear dressing for around 48 hours.

Week 0
original tattoo
Week 1
My tattoo had turned into a really thick unsightly scab, the deep cracks in the scab appeared due to regular movement and activity.  When the scab exists you have to keep the area dry which is extremely awkward when showering!  During the first week I still experienced a lot of throbbing, swelling and soreness in the area. 

Week 2
Part of the scab started falling away, the throbbing started to subside though there was still redness and swelling, especially on the top half where I think Bones went deeper with the tattoo gun.
Week 3
The scab fully fell off which was quite gross as I would fine bits in my sock, in my bed and on my towel!  Yuck!  It was a huge relief as I could finally shower without my foot on the wall.  Even though the scab was gone the tattoo was still dry and flaky and the swelling and redness were still present.
Week 4
Much less flaky though still some redness.  You can see from this photo that parts of the tattoo have significantly faded however you can also see that the skin has started to scar.  I’m applying the aftercare oil daily to reduce the chances of scarring.

Tattoo removal sessions should be done once every 6 weeks however as I will be going oversees for most of this month I can’t guarantee the scab will stay dry and clean so have opted to restart my sessions in August.  This is not ideal as the skin will rejuvenate itself too much however better that than getting an infection while on holidays!  Watch this space, my next tattoo removal post will be in early September!

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