I have to warn everyone… If you don’t like seeing gross photos, I would suggest you not continue reading… I have been waiting a couple years to actually publish this post; it just had to be the right time. At this point, I have given up on all laser tattoo removal and you will see why shortly.
Here’s a little run down on why I started the process in the first place, since that is what I get asked the most. The tattoo on my foot was not an issue and I had no desire to get it removed, but kept hearing advertisements from all of the success stories on laser removal. I thought, why not give it a shot, it can’t be THAT bad. SO, I went in for my first session and it wasn’t THAT bad. The cost was about $125 per session at Austin Laser Clinic for the basic machine and then around $200 for the better machine.
I went in for the second time and requested the stronger and quicker machine so I wouldn’t have to come back the 10-12 times they suggested. Honestly, I don’t think they had ever tested the laser on a foot before because the reaction was a little disturbing… Not only to me but to everyone else. Not only did it hurt like a B*#$% but an hour later I started getting blisters on my foot which didn’t happen the first session. The blisters weren’t that bad at first but continued to grow. My foot swelled so much that I could only wear one pair of shoes but even those were too tight. The placement of this tattoo is right where straps from thong sandals would go, so I was strictly limited to flats. There was no way I could put anything on top of my foot with how swollen it was and how big the blisters were.
Six weeks later I went back for my third treatment with the strong machine, predicting the same aftermath as the last treatment. WELL, I got that and MORE. This was by far the worst experience I ever had with laser tattoo removal. Not only did the blisters come back, but they grew so large they all combined into one large blister covering, almost the entire top of my foot. AND I had sausage toes… These blisters were’t like normal blisters you get from wearing terrible shoes… This particular blister would not pop on it’s own. I had to wear my one pair of flats that actually fit and had a massive bandage covering the top of my foot. The blister was 2″ x 2″ and about 1.5″ tall on the top of my foot. When I walked, I could feel it moving… That’s how large it was. My foot hurt every single day. Two weeks in, I finally had to pop this blister so I could actually function like a normal person. I went to Walgreens and asked what the most sterile way to clean and pop this thing would be. Was that a fun process… The popping was quite enjoyable and a massive relief from the pressure of the blister. The healing process was the painful part… A week or so into the healing process the skin started to dry up a little so I decided to take that layer off. That literally looked like someone took a scalpel to my skin and just dug a massive chunk out. Nasty.
I get asked how the actual laser process is quite often as well. The process itself isn’t TOO bad. It definitely hurts (I think more than actually getting the tattoo itself) but it is over in 20 seconds or so, depending on how large your tattoo is. The clinics will either ice your foot or put lidocaine cream to numb the area before they start the process so you don’t feel the laser as much. Once they get started you can hear a loud popping, which is the laser breaking up the ink in your skin and you can also smell your skin burning, which was quite gross.
Here is the entire process in photos and one video: (remember, do not look at these if you don’t like blood…)
This is after the first session – Not too bad, just very swollen.
Here is after session #2:
This is after session #3:
Disgusting right… Well, that was the end of that for a while. I started looking back into tattoo removal when I heard of the PicoSure laser. They are so rare, Westlake Dermatology was one of the only clinics in Texas that had one of these lasers. I gave them a ring and found out each session was $450!!!! The good thing about PicoSure is that the laser is so strong and gets every color, that you only need to go 3-4 times total instead of 10-12. So the money evens out. I tried this laser twice and saw absolutely no results.
PicoSure is so new and not many people have used it long enough to know they should NOT be performing this treatment if any of their patients have had blisters caused by a previous laser, like me. The scar tissue, I assume, prevented the PicoSure laser to penetrate my skin deep enough to get to the existing ink. The pain from this laser was the same, but I had absolutely 0 blisters and low swelling after each of my two treatments. I would definitely recommend PicoSure to anyone who is wanting to get a tattoo removed, as it is much healthier for your body.
Read more about PicoSure HERE.
Here are the after shots from using the PicoSure laser:
The first shot is before they even started, which is still how it looks to this day.
My overall recommendation is to just not get a tattoo! And if you do, get it in a place that’s not a pain in the ass to laser off, like your foot! And do not try the tattoo removal creams… Those definitely don’t work.