I Tried Laser Tattoo Removal ... And This Happened

Let's just say discomfort doesn't quite cover it.

I got my first tattoo when I was barely 19 and I thought I was pretty damn tough. Back then only bikies and ex-cons sported ink -- bikies, ex-cons and me. Oh and sailors. Apparently. Didn’t know any -- still don’t actually --  but that’s what I’ve heard.

Still, back to me. After I got a tattoo I delighted in announcing the fact I had one to all and sundry and insisted on showing not just my friends but complete strangers who, in hindsight, had ZERO interest in seeing them! Still, I insisted. I’ve got tattoos damn you! SEE THEM! Like I said, I thought I was pretty ace.

Some 20 odd years later and my tattoo collection (six) seemed less rebel chic and more totally naff. I was an adult. A parent FFS. And so I decided they had to go. I did a little research as to the best way to make that happen and decided on a course of PicoSure laser treatments.

At my first session Doctor Saras Sundrum, of Dr Saras and Co, explained that my tattoos would likely need five to seven treatments before disappearing altogether. Damn.

She also let me know that the treatment can be ‘uncomfortable’. Ha ha ha. Doctors. They love to throw that word around. When I hear it I know exactly what they mean. This is going to F-ing hurt. A lot. Still, I wanted those suckers gone and so I told her I was up for it. She applied some numbing cream and left it work its magic. Some 15 to 20 minutes later we got to work.

Well, Dr Saras did anyway. I just kind of held my breath and pretended I was somewhere else. It was time to press on. She fired up the laser, I popped on some dark glasses in order to protect my eyes, and then we got started. As she worked Dr Saras explained that PicoSure uses patented technology to deliver short pulses of energy into the skin.

This energy targets the tattoo ink which then breaks up into tiny particles. These particles are so small they are then absorbed into the body. Of course I didn’t really hear anything she said … not really … because the laser was making a weird and very loud crackling noise and it hurt like a million burning suns. Did you get that? A MILLION BURNING SUNS.

Anyway, that’s how it went. But, and this is a big but, five super speedy treatments later, and my clean skin fantasy is close to becoming reality and the ahem ... ‘discomfort’ has been worth it.

Does it hurt? Honestly -- yes. It’s not discomfort. It’s F-ing agony. But my tattoos aren’t large and the treatments are over before you know it. If you have a full sleeve or a large tattoo, things might be different. Still, some doctors, Dr Saras included, will provide a local anaesthetic if it’s needed, so do ask about that. Plenty of folk get one so you needn’t feel self conscious. I mean to say, don’t! Why be in pain if you don’t have to?

Anyway, after my sessions the skin around my tattoo swelled ... and dramatically! I have a couple on my inner wrists and I swear the swelling in those areas was golf-ball sized. But after icing the area this calmed quickly and then I was out of there and in no discomfort whatsoever. Amazing when you think about it. In fact, the only discomfort I experienced was my favourite barista looking at me a little suspiciously given I was sporting bandages on both of my wrists. Otherwise all good and those bad boys are GONE. Well, almost. And as far as I’m concerned that’s a major win.

Would I recommend it? Damn straight I would. Many times over. The only thing I would say is don’t rush out and get more ink. I know it’s tempting when you see all that fresh and lovely skin but you had them removed for a reason -- don’t forget that.

And now for the details …
  • PicoSure Tattoo Removal costs vary depending on the size of your tattoo and who carries out your treatment, but you’re likely looking at $500 a session and you’re likely to need quite a few.
  • Some ink colours are easier to remove than others so your tattoo may disappear quickly or take longer than expected.
  • The number of treatments will also be affected by the placement of your tattoos. Mine are on my inner wrists -- a tricky place for removal as it’s a long way from the heart and the blood moves slower here … or something like that? Like I said, it hurt like F&^% and I was a wee bit distracted.
  • Apparently those on the chest and body areas nearer the heart do break down more quickly. I wish I’d known this before I had them tatted on. Ah hindsight.
  • On that, Dr Saras recommends you do plenty of research before you book in to see someone.
  • Ask which type of laser will be used, what type of training and qualifications the practitioner has and how experienced they are at tattoo removal with this particular laser.
  • You want a professional -- not someone who bought a laser to make a few bucks. A doctor is the way to go -- and an experienced one at that. Let us know how you go! We love ink here at ten daily. And we love seeing it removed even more.