Why did I want a tattoo?
This all started 11 years ago when I was 16-17. For some reason, I got the thought of a tattoo stuck in my head and nothing could make me change my mind. My parents would tell me no, tell me to think about it long and hard before I went ahead with it. “You will have it for life” they would say and “what will it look like when you are older!?” would be another they said to try and make me realise what I wanted to commit to.
The day came when I was getting it done. I looked over all the examples on the walls but couldn’t really find anything I truly wanted. But that thought and urge was there again that I wanted a tattoo and I was going to get one. So I picked one, just like that. I picked one I thought looked okay and this was the “thing” I was committing to for the rest of my life.
I’d finally got my tattoo. A few years went by where I didn’t give it a second thought or to what I had committed to. I even wanted another and started thinking about getting one. This time I put much more thought and planning in to it. I pressed on and got another.
Was I really happy with it…?
A few years later, when I was about 22, I looked in the mirror and there was a nagging feeling that I just was not happy with what was on my arm. The image I had in my head when I was 17 hadn’t really come to fruition…at all. Looking back now, I don’t know what image I had in my head or what I was expecting to look like. But I knew I wasn’t happy with it. I looked over pictures of previous holidays and thought to myself, that looks stupid. I realised I wasn’t happy with it and my bright idea to solve this……..get another and add to it. I did and a few years further down the line, I still wasn’t happy with it.
My biggest regret was having a tattoo done that had no meaning to it whatsoever. I’m not against tattoos at all, I have another that I actually thought about and it does have meaning to it. Whether this one will stay or not, I’ve not yet decided. Upon reflection, my whole attitude towards tattoos has changed in terms of having them for life and whether it is something that you will like and be happy with…for life.
The ice pack on the area beforehand was helpful and the first 5 minutes of the laser does hurt. It does actually feel like being struck with an elastic band. After 5 minutes, the pain, although still there, tends to die down a bit and you sort of get used to it. A bit like when having the tattoo done.
Initially, the area just feels really hot, and stings a little. However, this soon fades and the next stage was keeping the area moist. I initially found this difficult, just simply due to being in work (office environment) and the tattoo is at the top of my arm.
Over the next week or so, the area feels fine whilst it scabs slightly. I was advised to use sun block daily and it has now become a daily habit.
After the first week and the area has stopped scabbing, comes the itchy phase. This I would say lasts approximately another week, maybe less, but I find the area itchy. Not so much that I need to scratch, but there’s an itch nonetheless.
The next two weeks until my next treatment is fine and is as if nothing has happened. I’m just continuing to use the sun block.
I forgot how much it hurts! I kept thinking about whether it was actually worth the money I’m paying to have it removed. Is it really bad enough to remove? I just kept on thinking back to the reasons I wanted it removed. If I wasn’t happy with it now, I’m not going to be happy with it in the future.
Treatment 2 was much the same as the first. Ive not noticed much in terms of fading at this stage and I’m pleased to say I’ve not had any skin irritancies other than the itchy stage a week or so after the treatment.
Again, the only problem I initially face is keeping the area moist.
It seemed like it hurt even more this time. I kept on thinking if it is worth it and could I not live with it? I continued anyway and again kept on thinking why I wanted it removed. If I didn’t do it now, when I had the money to, I won’t later on in life.
This treatment felt quite painful if I’m honest. Although I think because of the 4 week recovery period, I forget how much it hurts. It is however a pain that can be taken. Like I’ve said previously, if you can stand having a tattoo, you can stand having it removed. I forgot to take the paracetamol prior to this treatment but will ensure I take them next time to see if it helps with the pain at all. The ice pack I feel helps a lot.
The only annoyance and difficulty for me is trying to keep the area moist for the few days after treatment. If I’m wearing a light coloured shirt, the moisture seeps in to it and I was worried people would see if I have a wet arm! I have been using Vaseline for a couple of days after treatment, and then move on to the sun block which in itself keeps the area moist without the need for the Vaseline.
I feel like there has been a slight fade in the whole tattoo, it is now more grey in colour rather than jet black.
For my fourth treatment, I was advised that the laser would be turned up. The pain was pretty much the same as the previous treatments in terms of level of pain, however, following this treatment, I experienced a slightly different healing process. I found that the area bruised somewhat, a slight yellow tinge all over the treated area. It didn’t hurt anymore than the other areas, it just left a bruise on this occasion. Instead of using Vaseline, I used e45 to keep
the area moist and hydrated.
This I found worked a lot better and was cleaner to apply and didn’t leave any visible markings on my clothing. I feel like it healed quicker using the e45 and I applied this before putting the sun screen on. The itching stage seem to come around quicker and was quite intense, but I feel that using the e45 was of significant benefit. The area didn’t scab or blister anywhere near as much as previous treatments.
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