Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tips for the Day of and the Days Following Laser Tattoo Removal

While I was at my last treatment, there was a slight back-up of people getting laser tattoo removals. I think this also had something to do with the new second pass method that was being implemented. This meant that I got to overhear others also waiting in the "lounge" (see photo of trepidacious me). One thing I overheard was a woman talking about going to work after the treatment. It was her first treatment. I also happened to see her walking around, so I noticed that she was very dressed up. I thought that was weird, because of how messy removals can be, so I thought I should offer up a couple of tips in case of any of you will be going in for the first time.

My first tip would be to wear clothing that you do not mind getting lidocain, skin ash, blood, or polysporin on, as this tends to happen. Even if you can mange to keep it off at the doctor's office, you might still have to pass over the area or dirty bandages when removing the clothing. I am getting my tattoo removal on my left upper arm, so I typically wear a tank top and zip-up sweater if it is cold. No matter what I wear, I still face the problem of melting polysporin as the day wears on, and this always results in a stream of liquidious goo running down my arm. So if your tattoo to be removed is on your back, you'd also want to be careful what pants you wear that day. I can say that, while much of the antibiotic ointment/cream has gotten on my clothes over these many years getting lasered, that cream has never stained anything, but definitely leave the nice outfits for another day.

My second tip would be to take the day off if you can. The person in the lounge had scheduled herself to go back to work that afternoon. Second degree burns may seem like something you can do on your lunch break, but mind you, they do take a lot out of you even if you do get anesthesia.  The only thing I ever plan after getting a treatment is a nice nap! This usually helps me feel back to normal for the day. My ideal time to get a treatment is first thing in the morning, so that I can make it back home in time for a nap and wake just before lunch. If not, I usually try to cut of out work late in the day, so that I can go home and rest.

Following this tip, my third recommendation for first-timers is to take the next couple of days off, completely. I wouldn't plan anything, because the days following the removal is when the real pain sets in, the blisters form, the bruises darken, the swelling increases, and you feel the fatigue from your immune system trying to heal the wound. It makes for a pretty lousy few days. My suggestion, if possible, schedule your removals for Fridays or whatever the day before your days off may be. This is why I like taking one day off from work (Friday) then having the treatment done first thing in the morning, and having the weekend to get nasty without any commitments.

The gist of what I realized from the first-timer is that it is hard to anticipate the fact that the burn on your arm will melt the ointment, your bandages will be bloody (though I'm not really a bleeder...I've seem some removals that look like massacres), and you're going to be tired. This process is not nothing, so be prepared. This way you won't find yourself in an awkward or uncomfortable situation. Or maybe your job sucks all together, so having to deal with a laser tattoo removal burn might help distract you from the usual torture! And if you dislike your coworkers, you always have the option of showing off your new burn at lunch time!


  1. Hi! I wish you had wrote this about two weeks ago. I went to my first treatment roughly 1,5 weeks back. I didn't really know what to expect, or what should I take into consideration. Yes I had read alot of information on the internet but most of the articles just tell you how painful it is etc..

    I had huge blisters and a little blood also. My tattoo is so new (and therefore at the surface of the skin) that it bleeds a little bit when lasered. My clothes were all covered in this disgusting bloody mess :D

    Well now I know Im not going to wear a white t-shirt to my next appointment :D

    Im very happy with the results so far on my tattoo removal

  2. Larsson,

    Glad your seeing pleasing results, and sorry I didn't get this up sooner :/

  3. Just had my first removal session. Now I know what that weird stuff was I found inside my bra - skin ash! Ewww