Matthew's Story - removal of tribal tattoo - News - Laserase Bolton

Matthew’s Story – removal of tribal tattoo

Matthew’s Story – removal of tribal tattoo

This is my first blog post and I thought I would start by giving an overview of the consultation process, as many people are probably unsure what steps are involved to get Laser treatment.

This is my first blog post and I thought I would start by giving an overview of the consultation process, as many people are probably unsure what steps are involved to get Laser treatment.

On the day of my consultation I was met by a member of staff who took some medical information from me, completed a couple of forms and talked through what it was that I wanted to achieve.

To give you some background on my tattoo, I have a tribal design on my upper arm and chest which I don’t dislike, however I’d like to have it removed or at least faded enough so I can go over it again with a different design. I thought this was going to be quite unusual but was reassured that it’s actually not and a number of clients are doing the same.

As part of the appointment, you are given an estimated cost for each treatment session to have the tattoo removed (based on size), and a best guess of how many appointments it will take. The number of appointments required varies quite a lot depending on things like how deep the ink is in your skin, what colour the tattoo is and whether the tattoo was professionally done or not.

You are also given the opportunity to have a small test done on a section of your tattoo to see how it feels. Although I didn’t need this as I have had Laser treatment before, it can be a good way of learning what the treatment feels like as there is definitely a small amount of pain associated with it.

The consultation appointment only took 15 minutes, and I left with a good idea of how much it would cost in total to get the treatment I wanted and how long it might take.

In September 2014 I had my first session at Laserase, in my next blog I will try to give you an overview of that process and what the treatment feels like.

Session two December 2014

So, a little later than I was expecting due to a broken collar bone here is my second blog.

Booking was easy I rang the clinic and the reception staff knew who I was, how long my treatment would take and how much it would cost.

When I arrived I was shown into a clean and tidy treatment room and asked about how my skin had reacted following my last visit. These questions allow the person treating you to understand what power setting the laser should be on for maximum effectiveness.

The next step was to get myself comfortable for the next hour! Once ready to go ice is applied to your skin to try and numb the skin a little and reduce the pain as much as possible. Personally I find it useful to take some painkillers beforehand, as the pain can be quite bad at times depending on the area being treated – in this respect it is very similar to tattooing.

When the machine is turned on a small red light shows the operator what area the laser is pointing at. It ‘fires’ a couple of times a second and as the laser hits the ink particles in your skin you hear a loud cracking noise.

The feeling is difficult to explain and is probably different for everyone, but the closest sensation for me is like a very thick elastic band being flicked repeatedly against your skin. Unfortunately this isn’t particularly pleasant and it’s worth saying that if your pain tolerance isn’t reasonably high it’s not something you’re going to enjoy. I think the level of pain is similar to being tattooed but the sensation is different. If you have been tattooed then I would say there is no reason why you couldn’t tolerate the laser.

As the treatment continues you see the skin over your tattoo turn a whiter colour temporarily which is due to the laser reacting with the ink. Another element worth mentioning is the smell, as your skin smells a little like it is burning. It’s not as bad as it sounds, I’m just trying to be honest about it so you know what to expect. Once the appointment is complete, a large amount of Aloe Vera is applied to the area to try and reduce inflammation.

In the next blog I will try and cover off the various after effects of the treatment as well as some of the aftercare things I have discovered.

Session three January 2015

My first removal session of the New Year and after eagerly booking it in, it’s safe to say I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it when the appointment came around!

This time I thought I’d experiment a little to see if I could reduce the pain of the treatment, which while it hadn’t stopped me going back wasn’t great!

For my third session I decided to try some numbing cream and used a product called LMX4 which was a product the nurse thought was very good.

I applied the cream as per the instructions about 30 mins before my appointment, and to cut a long story short it really seemed to help. I found that the pain became much less pronounced and instead became more of a dull ache (very similar to once you’ve ‘got used’ to being tattooed and are in the middle of a session) so would definitely recommend this and will be using it again next time.

Some tips from the nurse were to apply it about an hour in advance, and use a LOT - she seemed quite surprised at my result from how much I’d used! I got a trial tube of 5g and to be honest that was enough to help, but will try applying more next time.

Following the treatment I also changed my aftercare, and noticed some massive improvements in that area. More on that next time….

Session four April 2015

Some update photos were taken today and I’m starting to notice the treatments working. I don’t think it would be hugely noticeable to someone else, but I can definitely see areas starting to fade.

I’ll be honest, the treatment does feel like it’s taking forever (particularly as I have had two broken collar bones and so had to have a break), but I would imagine most people get to that stage. It’s definitely worth thinking of it as a medium term commitment rather than a short term fix; I originally hoped it would be done in a couple of months but in reality that’s only 2 treatments at the most.

This time I changed the type of numbing cream and used two tubes of Emla which I applied an hour before the session and after my body had dealt with the usual initial shock, the pain settled down to a reasonable level. So the cream does seem to make a difference regardless of the type. I still forgot to apply in the way that was advised by the nurse, so will give that a go next time.

Following my last treatment I opted to try and replicate the aftercare that always works well when I get tattooed and that seemed to also work for Laser. Really simply, I washed the area straight after getting the treatment and immediately applied Bebanthen cream. This seemed to prevent the area reacting badly and there weren’t many blisters. I repeated this approach daily and the area only took roughly 1 week to heal so I’d recommend giving it a go and seeing if it works for you.

After today’s treatment however my skin reacted more than it had previously, and there are noticeably more blisters the following morning. I’ll keep you posted on what happens.

Session five February 2016

After a few months break I went back for another session. First thing to definitely mention is I used numbing cream, and applying it in a different way made a big difference to the level of pain I experienced.

To apply I put a reasonable amount of cream on the surface of my finger and dabbed it onto the skin so that it visibly stayed on the surface. I didn’t rub it into the skin at all. The next step is to put a layer of clingfilm over the top which protects the cream and keeps it on your skin so it doesn’t rub off. This was approximately 1 hour in advance of the treatment, and when I arrived at the clinic I just removed the clingfilm and the lady doing the treatment wiped my arm down.

The difference in pain was massive, in some areas I could barely feel the laser at all. It was also very noticeable which areas I had missed applying cream too as they started to hurt a lot more in relation to the numb areas. So I’d definitely recommend this to anyone with a low pain threshold.

Session six March 2016

This time the numbing cream trick worked even better than previously. I took the time to make sure I applied the cream to all areas that would be receiving treatment an hour in advance leaving it on the skin to soak in rather than rubbing in myself. There was almost no pain at all; this approach would definitely make treatment possible for pretty much anyone.

As a tip, one of the things I noticed from my last appointment was that if you miss an area with the cream, it becomes a lot more noticeable when it gets treated – if anything it hurts more because you’re not expecting it!

I think either my skin has started to react differently or the power of the laser has been turned up a bit as I’m starting to see more bruising and other reaction such as blisters after treatment. If you’re planning to do any sports or go away immediately after treatment and don’t handle pain particularly well, I’d suggest leaving at least a week for your skin to recover first. My tattoo covers quite a large area though so if your tattoo is small you may need not to.