Lifestyle Review: My Laser Tattoo Removal Journey

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I'm a pretty heavily tattooed person. Having gotten my first tattoo aged just fifteen (not recommended), there are naturally some tattoos on my body which I'm not entirely happy with anymore. Whilst I don't necessarily regret them, with time and maturity comes new tastes and so, when I was given the opportunity to have laser tattoo removal, I was very open to the experience. Here's my laser tattoo removal story...

Having been tattooed for almost half my life, I've grown to learn a lot about constitutes a quality tattoo. Unfortunately when I was younger, this wasn't something I was aware of and, in recent years, there have been a small few that I wanted to remove entirely. Thankfully, they were only small ones which were easily covered and I'm now very happy with. However, there is one which has bothered me for a while and, being so dark in colour, it was not easy to simply cover up. Having looked in to it in the past, I was told that if ever wanted to replace it with another piece, it was going to need laser removal. 

Due to the cost of removal, I'd always just assumed this was never a possibility but having looked in to more recently, I found that current technology is not only more effective in removing tattoos now but it's also a lot cheaper to do so safety. A few months ago, I was approached by Pulse Clinic* in London - a skin clinic which specialises in the removal and treatment of skin conditions and imperfections such as scarring and tattoos. Having been offered a chance to remove some unwanted ink, I headed along to their branch near London's Tottenham Court Road for a consultation before getting the ball rolling.

The process works by laser light being fired into the tattoo - causing the ink to break into tiny pieces which are easier for the body to absorb and to be removed. The laser energy is actually harmless and only targets the pigmented skin - leaving the un-inked surrounding skin unaffected. The success of the removal depends massively on the colours of ink used in the tattoo (for example, yellows and greens are more difficult to remove) as well as some other factors such as age of the design.

Before laser tattoo removal
My tattoo before laser tattoo removal
Before I could start the process, I had to visit the surgery to fill out some pretty straight forward forms and have a patch test. The patch test itself took only a few moments and in that time I was asked which area I was looking to remove, the assistant took photos of them before zapping a small area of one of them. Essentially, it was a taster of what to expect which I was pretty grateful for. I think this also helps to let you know whether numbing cream is a sensible option for you before the first proper session. The assistant then popped on a plaster, booked me in for my first session and off I went. Pretty straight forward, aye?

I wasn't actually advised on any after care regarding the patch test but having kept a blister plaster on it for two days, it healed an absolute treat and was back to normal by the following weekend. 

Immediately after laser tattoo removal
Immediately after tattoo removal
After my patch test, it was time to return to the clinic for my first full session. I'll admit, I was really, really nervous in the build up to my appointment and, having read experience reviews online, I was expecting immense pain. Thankfully, the process was surprisingly simple and my appointment took a matter of minutes. The lady performing my laser removal was really friendly and explained how it all worked before beginning the treatment. I was asked to hold a tube over the tattoo which pumps out cold air and reduced the pain whilst the laser did its work. As I said, it took a matter of minutes and feels like little sharp zaps. Of course, it did hurt quite a bit but not as much as I was expecting.

Removing my bandages a few hours after treatment
For the rest of our day in London and the journey home, I kept the plasters and blister wrap on to protect the wound. As you can see, it had swollen up quite a bit by this time although it wasn't very painful. I took the bandages off and let it breathe for half an hour, before gently cleaning it; first with cold water and then with lukewarm to reduce the swelling. It's important not to wash it with any perfumed or to rub or touch it too much. Instead, dry it by lightly dabbing it with a clean towel and making sure it's completely dry before reapplying any new bandages.

Once it was all cleaned up, I used some clear medical wrap. I personally cannot recommend using Dermalize enough for any wound (especially when healing tattoos) as not only does it keep the protected, clean and dry but it doesn't feel like you have anything on at all. It's expensive stuff but it'll last you ages and it's waterproof.

Two weeks after my first session 
In the first week following the session, I had experienced some very minor blistering (which just looked like tiny bubbles) but pretty much no pain at all. In the rare times when it did feel a bit sore or itchy, I found that topping it up with anti-septic cream was the best possible treatment.

Pictured at two weeks following the session, you can see that there are sections of the tattoo which have already started to fade and the ink is far less dark in appearance. It was at the most irritating part - itchiness, raised and with dry skin. Although I found that this stage was just very similar to the normal tattoo healing process. I used Ultrabalm from LUSH to reduce itching and dryness and it was an absolute godsend. I found that this balm is also super helpful with new tattoos too.

If you're thinking about removing a tattoo then it is super important to do your research before rushing in to anything. With 8 weeks required between each session and a minimum of six sessions needed, it is a long process and something that demands patience and financial commitment.

Over the coming months, I'll be sharing my progress and I'm excited to share my progress with you all. Have you ever had tattoo removal before? What were your experiences like? Or perhaps you're considering this yourself, but as always, please do leave me lots of lovely comments or questions down below.

Until next time,




*Disclaimer: This post is a collaboration with PulseLight Clinic in which I was asked to document my journey in return for treatment. As usual, all opinions are my own and do not reflect that of the brand. The products mentioned in this post are not sponsored but recommended from my own experience.
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18 comments:

  1. I got my hair removal at Pulse and was super impressed with them. I'm considering getting my first tattoo lasered so I can't wait to keep up with your progress

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    1. Oh awesome. I'd love to do that too! I'd love to be completely bald from the top lip downwards haha. Thanks hun! xx

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  2. Wow this looks so good after one sesh! I don't have any tattoos so obvs I wouldn't need this but I've always been interested in the process :) on tv it always says the pain is dreadful- but it didn't seem too bad for you? It's looking fab healed! Are you going to laser any more? Xxx

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    1. Yeah I was actually surprised at how much it did in one session. I'm actually having 2 pieces lasered at once and one has really faded, I think it might only need 1 or 2 more. I found the pain very bearible tbh - it only lasts a few minutes too. Hope you found this useful :) xx

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  3. So informative:) It looks so much lighter after just one session! Do you know what or if you're going to cover it up?

    Chloe @ https://girllgonerogue.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Not yet, I sort of have a few designs in mind but will depend how well it fades and what I can get rid of I think :) Thanks hun! Xx

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  4. I have a tattoo in the very same place that I'm dying to have removed too. Very interesting post, Sophie, thanks for sharing!!
    Gillian  xx  Eyelinerflicks.com

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    1. Ah really? Do you think you could cover it or would it need fading first? Thanks Hun xx

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  5. Yes, I think it's a good idea to do research. You want people who have a lot of experience doing the procedure. The closest thing I've done comparable to this is getting laser eye surgery. The surgery only took a few minutes. I had it over ten years ago and I've had good results. One person who had it told me that the vision in one of her eyes was much worse, though. I hope you eventually get the results you want, Sophie!

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    1. Wow I always think Laser eye surgery is so scary but I know many people who have had it done and said it's great. One person said theirs actually stopped working after a while as your eyes changed - glad to hear yours are still fine though :) Thanks Gil - im finding it interesting to see the results

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  6. I got one tattoo at 18, then didn't start getting more until I was in my mid 20s. I wouldn't get that tattoo again but it's good quality and it's on my ribs so it's hidden away!

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    1. Yeah tbf I do have other tattoos from when I was younger and I'm still just as happy with them but this one particular one had bugged me for a while :) They sort of just become a part of you and you don't notice them anymore x

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  7. This was a good read, I don't know anyone that's had a tattoo removed at all recently, it was probably the 90s last time anyone I knew had it done so it's amazing to see the difference between how effective it is now!

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    1. Ha yeah there seemed to be a thing in the 90s. It's definitely come a long way since then :)

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  8. Hey Sophie, I just want to wish you an especially great day today! I hope your dad also had a wonderful day as well!

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  9. I'm fascinated by this process, Sophie. I saw your video on Twitter and I had no idea it worked like that. It's very impressive. I can't wait to see the results!

    Ashley xx
    http://www.imamovienerd.wordpress.com

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    1. Aw thanks for watching it :) What's your Twitter account? I'll give you a follow. Yeah just had one session so far but can't wait to see how it develops x

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