Tattoo Removal – Laser Or Coverup?

I’ve previously had two tattoos covered up, which out of around 50-60 tattoos isn’t too bad! I like to think that the bodyart choices I make are deep and meaningful to my life and so tattoos are not normally something that I tend to regret in life because of this. The two tattoos I’ve previously had covered up with new ink were a playboy bunny and a tribal design that I had at a young age back when tattoos were more permanent stencils rather than bodyart. Silly, quick decisions made in my youth… *sigh* what it is to be young and carefree!

I recently made another poor decision a couple of years ago to have two matching tattoos with an ex partner, something I’d never previously considered, nor would I ever do again. After my longterm relationship ended at the start of this year I deliberated for quite some time over what to do about my matching tattoos, which granted could have quite happily sat on my skin forever alongside all of my bodyart and somewhat blended in without being massively noticeable to others.

But whilst others may not realise my two small tattoos were a tribute to a past relationship, deep down I knew they were there and their meaning and really didn’t want to carry something from the past into my future. As part of my healing and self growth they just had to go! So five months after the relationship ended I made the decision to remove my matching tattoos and seeing as I have two to remove I’ve handled them in two very different ways…

Laser Tattoo Removal At Expert Centre

Laser tattoo removal works by using a precise pulse of light targeted at the pigment of the ink in the tattoo. This treatment breaks down the molecules within the ink and the body can then naturally absorb and remove it without damaging the surrounding skin.

Immediately after being exposed to the laser the tattoo appears slightly white and becomes coated in a residue which is known as frosting which indicates the treatment was successful as this is caused by gas bubbles heading towards the surface of the skin as the pigment is broken down. The skin is then left to restore for the following weeks until the next treatment, with each session making the tattoo lighter until it eventually disappears.

I Had My First Laser Tattoo Removal Treatment At Expert Centre

A patch test prior to treatment determines if this procedure is suitable for you, with black ink being the most effective to remove. Everybody is individual and the amount of sessions and time frame for removing a tattoo will depend on the size, colour and age of the tattoo. All skin types and tones are suitable for tattoo removal but is recommended that you wait for fake tan or a natural tan to fade before treatment for best results.

A reduction in pigmentation is noticeable after the first treatment but typically it may take between 1-10 sessions to fully remove a tattoo, it’s very much down to the individual. A six week recovery must be left between laser sessions in order for the skin to heal and the body to absorb as much of the ink as possible. However, a course of treatments may be recommended for the best results.

Directly after treatment the skin is slightly sore and may be red for a few hours but it goes down pretty quickly and isn’t painful. Laser tattoo removal is the safest and most effective way to get rid of ink from tattoos and the older the tattoo the more it will have faded and quicker it is to remove.

(L) Before & (R) Immediatedly After My First Laser Tattoo Removal Treatment

I’ve heard and seen many horror stories of people online saying how painful laser tattoo removal is, which is why it’s important to go to a specialist and use the most state of the art machines to achieve the best results with the least discomfort. As my matching tattoos are two years old they haven’t yet faded with time and are still quite thick and black seeing as they were created with a deep outline needle.

The treatment involved laying on a bed whilst the laser technician cleansed my skin and gave me goggles to wear to protect my eyes from the light of the laser. The laser is a handheld device that is positioned an inch or so above the tattoo which fires a pulse of concentrated light for less than a second at a time at the ink of the tattoo. I felt a hot pinging sensation which wasn’t painful but more unusual; seeing as my tattoo is a simple heartbeat line it took just a handful of seconds to complete my treatment and I was thrilled with how quick and easy it was.

My tattoo immediately raised up and turned white as my skin reddened to show the treatment was successful. Being a thin heartbeat line it wasn’t very noticeable and didn’t feel sore, however a larger area or picture may feel more involved. It was certainly far easier and more comfortable than getting the initial tattoo and I feel excited and positive about seeing it fade and disappear with time. A fantastic process that fit seamlessly into my lunch break and will allow me to remove past regrets from my present and future; after just one treatment my tattoo is already less dark and the ink less precise as it begins to blur and dissolve.

Inklectic Ink Tattoo Coverup

To remove the matching tattoo on my wrist I took a more immediate approach and decided to have a coverup tattoo with some bodyart that is both empowering and meaningful to me. I’m a very spiritual person and had the idea of an angel stood confident and proud on my forearm which my tattooist James King of Inklectic Ink custom designed for this purpose.

My Tattooist Designed An Angel To Cover My Unwanted Tattoo

As soon as I saw his design I was so excited and the thought of sitting in a chair with a needle in my arm for nine hours was a discomfort I was more than happy to go through in order to achieve the end result.

Black ink is often considered to be the best colour to use for covering a tattoo as it works by concealing the image beneath with something more prominent on top. The lighter the tattoo that you want to cover, the better the results will be, as people often have laser tattoo removal prior to coverup tattoos in order to clear the skin and prevent old images from showing through or limiting the extent of the design of the new bodyart.

My Tattoo Coverup Took 9hrs To Complete

Coverup tattoos are notorious for hurting more than initial tattoos because the skin may have scarred from previous ink and that’s certainly been the case when I’ve had tattoos covered in the past – much like driving in the dark, it’s the difference from an approaching cars headlights being bright or blinding with their full beams on!

So I was thankful the tattoo that I wanted covered up was rather small and quick to hide. As with all tattoos, different areas of the body are more sensitive than others for pain, especially around areas with thinner skin and less muscle such as over bones and near nerves.

I Love My New Meaningful Bodyart Which Has Covered My Old Tattoo

I was expecting the elbow to hurt but it wasn’t too bad, the bones of my wrist were a little pinchy but the worst part was going over the scar tissue of my previous tattoo with a shading needle. We completed my coverup tattoo in one straight session which took nine hours and I’m beyond thrilled with the results!

The Conclusion

With two tattoos to remove, now that I’ve had both laser removal and a coverup tattoo I can truly appreciate the two very different approaches. Cost wise, the process depends entirely on the area of skin to be treated and the time that it takes, so that’s not something I can really compare here as my coverup tattoo extended to my entire forearm and didn’t just cover my initial tattoo whilst the laser just focused on the tattoo I wanted to remove and not the rest of the arm that was ink-free.

Pain wise, laser removal was so quick and convenient and something that I could happily do as many times as necessary without really impacting on my day or affecting my lifestyle for downtime. The coverup tattoo took up a full day of my time, obviously hurt and has meant that I’m missing training at the gym as my arm heals much like a cut or burn would. For this reason coverup tattoos are far more involved than laser tattoo removal.

Time wise, the laser removal treatment took just a matter of minutes, however the six week healing time required between sessions, which can range between 1-10 depending on the individual, could potentially mean that it may take just over a year to fully remove my tattoo with it becoming far less noticeable with each session. My tattoo coverup took nine hours and my unwanted tattoo was covered directly after. After my initial 7-10days of healing my skin is back to normal.

Both of these procedures are great ways to deal with unwanted tattoos and I think combining the two will undoubtedly achieve the best results – to lighten unwanted ink to have the best flexibility to create new meaningful bodyart. It all depends on your needs and whether you want to have more tattoos in future or clear your skin so that it is entirely ink free; each to their own.

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Tracy Kiss

Social influencer, Bodybuilder, Mother, Vegan
London, UK

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