Back in 1992, I got a tattoo. Just the outline of two little hearts on my upper arm. Not too tough or scary, kind of on a whim, but nothing I really regretted. Then, in 2005, not long after my youngest daughter was born, and against my better judgment, I got another, much larger and elaborate tattoo, to hide the original, demure tattoo. My husband at the time hated the original tattoo, so naturally, it had to go. I was SUCH an idiot. I should have ignored him!
I hated the new tattoo with a passion that burns with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. HATED IT. It’s ugly. And I’m really not the arm-band type. So for years I’ve wanted to get rid of it. When I watched “Gladiator,” I no longer drooled over Russell Crowe’s spectacular hotness. I envied the toughness it took for him to scrape off his Roman tattoo, and wondered if my friend sarcastic suggestion of sand-blasting it off was viable. After all, I had survived childbirth. Twice.
Then I heard about Wrecking Balm, a cream that’s supposed to fade (or, WRECK) tattoos. And Tat-Med, that’s supposed to do the same thing, only cheaper. And of course I looked at laser surgery, but… I wasn’t sure which one would work, or be the most cost-effective. Then I decided to try them all. Why not? I already loathe my tattoo, so how much worse would it look? This is what my tattoo looked like this morning, before I did anything to it… yuck, huh?
Today was day one of my quest to remove the tattoo, and my first stop was the Erase the Ink M.D., otherwise known as David Schwartzenfeld, his lovely assistant Terry, and their super high-tech 4-wavelength Q-switched yag laser. And the Chiller. THE CHILLER. As in, its sole purpose is to CHILL.
First, Terry asked a series of questions, concerned with my sun exposure and sensitivity or allergy to medications. Then Dr. Schwartzenfeld measured my tattoo (5.75″ long by a tapering half-inch to 1.5 inches long) and proceeded to use The Chiller on my arm for about two minutes to numb it. It worked. It was pretty freakin’ chilly, as the name implies.
Then Dr. Schwartzenfeld and Terry discussed how to laser my tattoo in a way that wouldn’t embarrass me, and that would allow me enough space to compare the laser results to the two creams I’d be using. Then, Terry fired up the laser, we put on our goggles, and she started to zap me (while Dr. Schwartzenfeld kept The Chiller going).
I won’t lie. It hurt. The Erase the Ink M.D. website compares the lasering sensation as similar to the snapping of a rubber band on your skin, and that’s really quite accurate. Ouchie! But The Chiller helps, a lot, and it’s over really, really quickly. My zapping only took about 30 seconds. This is what it looked like immediately after the laser treatment.
Then Terry handed me a sheet with after-the-laser instructions (don’t get the area wet, don’t expose it to sun, don’t pick any blisters or scabs that may form, come back and see us in 6 weeks). Then I paid (gulp) and was out the door, a little non-stick bandage over my poor arm.
Next up, the Wrecking Balm and Tat-Med. I’ll keep you posted… until then if you have any questions, please post them here, and I’ll do m best to answer them… or, have you already had a tattoo removed? What was it like for you? Please let me know…
Top Photo Credit: JennKstep
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