A friend of mine wrote this and sent it to me for Innocent English. It’s her true story of her journey towards becoming de-tattooed. I can’t quite tell if it’s a funny essay, a tattoo removal guide, or just some journal therapy. However you categorize it, I found it entertaining and funny (and a bit sad) and appreciated the chance to add it to my site. Thanks M. L.
A few months ago, one slightly intoxicated night, I apparently consented (and even paid!) to have a tattoo jackhammered into my upper arm. I [heart] Cass. The tattoo guy dug out a nice bright red heart. How cute!) What an unpredictable turn of events that scarcely two weeks later, Cassidy decided his love for me was mostly out of appreciation that I introduced him to my now ex-best friend. How cute!
Even before Cass upgraded to a more upscale model, I felt embarrassed and awkward for those two weeks, about declaring my love for him on my arm. But once we were over, embarrassment turned to humiliation. I clearly had to lose my tattoo.
So I googled tattoo removal to check out my options. Basically, it was pretty straight forward:
1. Live with that tattoo, in eternal humiliation and shame.
2. Find a creative way to change what it says by adding or changing a letter. Maybe “I heart Class. Or maybe I haaate Cass.
3. Use a tattoo fading cream, like Wrecking Balm or Tat B Gone for a couple of hundred bucks.
4. Buy the same basic ingredients that are in fading creams, but at a drugstore for $12.
5. Dermabrasion (sandblasting the tattoo the hell out of there)
6. Excision, a surgery where they just cut out the tattooed skin (not recommended for those with 100% tattoo coverage on their bodies, or for those with tattoos in more intimate places).
7. Laser tattoo Removal, where they burn your tattoo to a crisp and bombard it until it’s smashed to smithereens.
A stayed up all night with some redbull and vodka- small doses of each so they wouldn’t battle each other in my brain too badly- and I mulled over my choices.
Option number 1: NFW! No Fricking Way! Not even a remote option.
And Option 2: While the thought of having “I haaate Cass” on my arm made me smile with revenge, my refined sense of subtle wisdom, back from a two week vacation, somehow sensed this may not really be the most mature way to go.
As for Wrecking Balm and the other tattoo removal fading creams, at least according to some sites, people who have shelled out the $200 have found that the ingredients are available at your local drug store: 1% hydroquinone, which is a skin whitener that has apparently recently become more available since Michael Jackson has slowed down his hording of it (whether or not he actually took baths in it full strength, and who might have been with him during those baths, and what age they might have been, I have no idea and certainly don’t mean to imply anything or start any rumors about his scandalous underage hydroquinone bath escapades.)
The other main ingredient, a “demo-abrasion” spray, is apparently a dressed up exfoliator spray, also available at drug stores. And the final ingredient is multi-vitamins including all those good skin-de-tattooing ones like E and A and some of the other early letters. I got the feeling the marketing team was like “We need something else to make them feel less ripped off. How about detattooing vitamins? They’ll buy that.
Based on what I saw online, while some people say they had some luck with their tattoos getting gradually lighter than before, the vast majority of the comments on the forums I lurked at consistently reported a very noticeable lightening of their wallets, but very little or no noticeable results for their tattoo. Given that derm-abrasion techniques have been used for centuries to remove tattoos, it’s likely that over time- say 2-3 decades- real improvement would be noted. But gradual fading is different from actual removal, and Options 3 and 4 just didn’t seem very dependable, efficient, effective or good for impatient, humiliated people.
Option 5, sandblasting away the tattoo by way of a professionally trained derma-blaster, which is a more intense version of gently scrubbing at home, will fade and lighten most tattoos up to a point, but it takes many sessions, costs a lot, causes a lot of pain, and is almost always less effective than lasers. Besides, if you’re gonna go that route, scraping your skin with e brick a few hours a day would probably just about equate it.
Option 6, tattoo removal thru excision, seemed pretty extreme to me, and is no longer recommended in the vast majority of cases. It can leave scars, unnatural localized skin tightening, and just isn’t worth it.
That left me with option 7: Laser tattoo removal. All the info said it isn’t fun, it isn’t cheap and it isn’t instant. But it works better than anything else if you really want to get rid of that tattoo. I googled “tattoo laser removal” for my city and found a few candidates. Satisfied my night’s work was done, I congratulated myself with a several more little sips of vodka (which a downed all at once for efficiency) and called it a night.
First thing in the morning, I called around and most tattoo removal clinis had quite the waiting list. At least I wasn’t the only fool who broke the golden rule of tattoos: NO NAMES. I found one a bit cheaper than the others, a nice sounding man with the right experience and credentials, who could see me the next day. I went in first thing the next morning, nervous but determined.
He took a long hard look at my arm and said “Nice tattoo.” I told him he was welcome to have it second hand, cheap. He started with the C, since it was the biggest letter, and while he worked he started telling me about his wife, and how they were expecting their first child in a few days. He finished the C, and to my surprise, it didn’t look that different, aside from some pretty strong redness and irritation. “It will take a couple of weeks for it to clear out” he said. He also said one treatment likely wouldn’t be enough, but I would see the fading noticeably. Right about then he got a call- his wife went into labor. “Sorry, I have to go NOW.” And before I could say anything, he was out the door.
Just as the door slammed it hit me. Not the door. The realization: With the C gone, my tattoo was quickly on its way to saying “I love ass”.
I drove to another laser tattoo removal center, and told the receptionist with more determination than I’ve ever mustered before “I’m sorry, but I swear to all that is holy, and to all that isn’t, I’m not leaving today until someone works on my tattoo”. It’s amazing how far the hysterical woman routine can get you. Especially when it’s real.
Now, a few months later, there’s still a very light but noticeable tattoo (including the C, thank God). I easily cover it with a little make up, and the laser center says in another month it will be pretty much gone. At $1300, so will a big chunk of my savings. But since I was stupid enough to engrave someone’s name on my arm in the first place, I can’t think of a better way to spend the money, than to have it removed.
I emailed my ex-best friend with all the tattoo info I learned. In case she decides to declare her love for Cass, who is probably already looking to upgrade to a newer model, she’s gonna need it.
Page topic: My tattoo removal story: One woman’s journey to becoming tattoo-free. A funny essay by a friend.
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