Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic physician, liposuctionist)
Templestowe Lower and Berwick Clinics
Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2004, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction, fat transfer, skin needling, and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections.
Two Months Later
Since last writing, my Hubbie and I enjoyed a wonderful trip to Queensland. Happily, I was able to wear singlet tops and bathers without being embarrassed about my ugly tattoo. As you can see from the picture, I applied some skin-coloured zink cream to my tattoo for sun protection and my arm looked absolutely normal.
The only problem with protecting the treatment area with zink cream was that it easily rubs off onto clothing and after a couple of weeks exposure to the sun, the area covered by the cream was much paler than the rest of my arm. No big deal though!!!
After the trip I began to wonder if it was really necessary to have any more treatment because I could disguise the remaining ink in my arm quite well with ordinary make up. However, I decided to keep the appointment which had been made after my last visit.
Fourth Treatment – October 26
Dr Chan commented that my tattoo seemed harder to inject with anaesthetic this time, perhaps due to hardening of scar tissue from the infra-red treatment. Although this process took much longer than usual, there was no discomfort because of the numbing cream which was applied earlier.
Treatment began with the ruby laser first, but it wasn?ɬ?t having any effect. I thought this meant that nothing more could be done to treat my tattoo. Then Dr Chan said this was a positive sign because it meant the ink had faded quite significantly and the laser could now be reset to penetrate at a deeper level.
After the setting was revised, the laser immediately reacted to the faded green ink again. I could smell it working at this stage but it didn?ɬ?t bother me. It just confirmed that the ruby laser had found something to work with at this level. It seemed like only seconds before it was time to finish off the session with a quick burst of the medlite laser.
The wound frosted over much more heavily than the previous treatment, so obviously the new setting had quite an impact.
On the way home, my upper arm felt hot to touch through the dressing. Later that evening, I noticed a tingling sensation which I had not had after previous treatments.
When I removed the dressing after 24 hours, my arm was very inflamed and covered with red lumps. I had been so used to not thinking about my tattoo much over recent weeks that the sudden change seemed very dramatic.
This treatment was definitely the most powerful to date. My skin felt very sensitive to touch for the first few days. Applying the antiseptic cream was done as quickly and gently as possible. Wearing sleeves was aggravating so I resorted to keeping a bandage on during the day for almost a week, to prevent friction.
There was far more pinpoint bleeding and scabbing this time, but into the second week, all was well and my skin returned to normal. The ink seemed much lighter, so I thought I would try one more treatment in a couple of months time.
Fifth and Final Treatment – December 7
At the completion of this session, Dr Chan suggested it would be better to just wait and see how my arm goes over the next couple of months rather than making an appointment straight away.
This was very good advice because since then, I feel as though the laser has done a fantastic job and I am extremely satisfied with the results after only 5 sessions.
During the past couple of months, my tattoo has continued to fade and is barely noticeable when I apply some makeup before I go out. I have hardly ever worn sleeves over the hot summer months and people rarely notice my tattoo. If they do, it is not even recognized as a tattoo. The scarring caused by the initial infra red treatment is quite noticeable but the faded green ink just looks like light bruising. In places where there was not much ink to begin with, my skin has lost some natural pigmentation, but these paler areas are certainly much more acceptable than the ugly image I had on my arm 9 months ago.
On the couple of occasions, when I have been out without wearing sleeves or cover-up make up, my treatment area was noticed at very close distances. For example – recently my GP was diagnosing a shoulder tendon tear on the same arm as my tattoo. After a while, she quizzically noticed my treatment area and I needed to explain what had happened. She was very impressed by the results of the laser treatment.
I have also been very encouraged by comments from relatives and friends who have witnessed the entire process of laser tattoo removal from day one. Not to mention, another friend who was completely unaware that I had even had a tattoo in the first place?ɂ