F^ck That Hurt
It was cloudy, raining and cold as I drove to National Laser Institute in Scottsdale. I was thinking to myself, Why?! Why was I getting lasered again? Did I really need to? Haven't I had enough? Maybe it's light enough to cover up now. It had been more than a year since I had last felt the distinct bacon-sizzle burn. I was not looking forward to it.
Getting laser tattoo removal is like subjecting yourself to a thousand snaps of a tightly pulled rubber-band from a pranking childhood school mate. It's not fun and it's a hellofa lot more painful than getting the tattoo in the first place, though, if time where used in this equating of pain, compressing the sensation of a five hour long tattoo into the five or ten minutes of a single laser session, mind you it takes multiple, they might then be equal. Regardless, it's nothing to look forward to except in it being a challenge of perseverance.
This was going to be my eighth maybe ninth, hell ten treatment. It doesn't seem to matter anymore. It's a lot for a tattoo the size of an open hand and let me tell you from experience; black is not always the easiest color to eliminate. I now understand it's the style, the application thus saturation that should also be considered. The tattoo we've been working at eliminating is a Celtic style design; Bold linework, solid black fill with very little shading which was the first detail to disappear. Most of the fading, from the laser tattoo removal, comes from the months of time where the body works at absorbing and disposing, ever so slowly, the particles of ink that the laser breaks up at each session. With this tattoo in particular, being of note, it had been touched-up with two other sessions in the years following the initial tattooing of it where the artist pretty much went over the entire design both times; not quit a touchup but rather triple saturation. Forward some nineteen years, I've just spent the last several subjecting myself to laser treatments and it shows, but slowly. I will be happy, as will M. Roper, for triumphing through it all and having a blank canvas again to then have tattooed a full backpiece that will connect to the rest of my suit. This is what we've been working toward. Since 2011-12 we've been working backwards, tattooing my arms then legs with the theme of water and eventually connecting it harmoniously with a multitude of choice backpieces, all while waiting for the lazered tattoo to fade.
If you've been thinking of getting a tattoo lasered, I offer these bits of advice; Ice the area to be treated for half an hour before and again half an hour or more after. Pack those frozen peas and while driving to and from the session put them directly on the tattoo you are getting lazered. It doesn't help one bit with the pain during treatment but it helps 100% after, greatly reducing redness, blistering, swelling and ultimately, healing time. And maybe the most import piece of advice, start early, start now.