[Blogger's Feature] Uncovering the past: Tattoo removal (Part 1)

Blog By: Xin Pei on https://www.pancakepixie.com

The topic I am going to blog about requires more than ten truckloads of courage from me; a topic I can only talk about on a night where darkness has long frosted over the cream walls of my bedroom. It is not that easy to speak of certain things, and words would be worth no more than wool when it comes to topics that tug on the heartstrings. Yet today, fingers perched atop my keyboard, I will try to coax the stories out from my fingertips. I guess this is the consolation of being a writer; Times New Romans can replace the sounds your tongue cannot afford to utter, without the risk of being reduced to tears.

This blog post will be about what my left arm carries. To me, it is a story of hope, of resilience, of heartbreak, of renewals, of possibilities, and of personal triumph. To you, it might just be a blog post about the stupidity of adolesence. Either way, You can decide.

Here we go...

I have a tattoo on my left wrist, and I had it since I was 17. After going through years of on-and-off relationship with my then first-boyfriend and struggling with problems from home, I stepped into this tattoo palour in City Hall with my best friend. Wanting so badly to change something about my life, I decided to get a white tattoo with the phrase “This too shall pass”.

I know, you might be rolling your eyes. It was an abysmal period of time in my life that you might not be able to relate, and I wish you not to have that experience to be able to. This is simply my story, and in that situation to my 17 year old mind, having that tattoo etched into my skin was a symbol of growth. It was also a reminder for me to let go; to know that even in happiness or the worst of times, everything was just transient in life. 5 years ago, practically nobody trended this phrase “This too shall pass”. I got a little annoyed when it started becoming a “cool” phrase in the recent years. Here is the meaning behind the tattoo

“This too shall pass means that the difficult thing that you are suffering will pass away, as difficult things have passed for others before you. It also means that the great thing you are experiencing with eventually fade away and be forgotten. It is a general statement of the ephemerality of human experience, that all things are fleeting and impermanent.The phrase is used both to comfort the suffering and to chasten the proud”

 

The tattoo was initially meant to be a personal reminder for me when things got tough, so I inked it in white instead of black. Even though I have had it for 5 years, less than 10 people knew about my tattoo. It served its purpose, a quiet, non existent marking that reminded me to continue going despite tough times. It was non-visible, at least in pictures, and to the people who stood within a normal speaking distance in the interaction of everyday life. But soon, after 5 years of having the tattoo, the very 4 words carry a burden of over sentimentality, and reminders of a pass I wish had been a trance.

So, I did what most people who want to remove a tattoo would do: I did my research and tried to find places in Singapore who could remove my white tattoo. To my dismay, due to the nature of the pigments, white tattoo would require certain longer time period and more sessions than black ink. Thus, I went to look for a friend’s recommendation (Picoway) and found Dr Kevin Chua’s clinic.

What is Picoway laser and why Picowave?

PicoWay technology targets all colours, including blue and green, the most difficult colours to remove. Our recent upgrade of the PicoWay laser technology in March 2017 has made it more effective to remove these difficult colours than a traditional laser. The Resolve™dual wavelength picosecond fractional module also treats skin irregularities, signs of aging, acne scars, as well as pigmented lesions. Pigmented lesions that can be treated include: Nevus of Ota, Laser Skin Toning, Solar or Senile Lentigines, Beckers Nevus, Freckles (Ephelides), Café au lait.

The latest technology is applicable for all skin types and includes three wavelengths: 532nm, 785nm and 1064nm picosecond laser, with both non-fractional & fractional capabilities. These three different wavelength options mean that we can now target pigmented lesions and all tattoo types and colours. Ideally, the wavelength should be highly absorbed by the pigment and other chromophores in the skin should have little to no absorption of light within the selected wavelength.

This means, with Picoway you can have fewer treatment sessions, and more importantly, have to go through less discomfort. With minimal risk,I could achieve fast results for various skin types.

Procedure

I went down to the clinic for consultation and was briefed on the process

Then, numbing cream was applied and left on for 2 hours.

I was led into this room where the handpiece and PicoWay machine was at.

With the handpiece! The entire tattoo removal zapping process took less than 5 minutes. I guess this is because the area of my tattoo was really small. There was an air-cooling machine at the side releasing continuous stream of cold air, so I did not feel anything at all. I did not even feel any discomfort so I was really amazed when my tattoo started to frost but I felt nothing at all.

 The tattoo that started to frost immediately after the zapping.

Recovery process

The interval between each session are spaced between four to six weeks. This is dependent on factors like skin type, location, colour, amount of ink, etc. The body has to adjust and remove the fragmented ink pigments. This requires your body’s own biological processes and cannot be rushed. Here was how my tattoo recovered!

Take a deep breath before you scroll! The pictures might seem a little gross.

You have been warned!

Day 1: Blistering

Because the treatment process will involve the heating up of ink particles in your skin, it may cause the tiny blood vessels around your tattoo to burst. Blisters are an indication that your healing process has begun, although they are not aesthetically pleasing and tender to touch. 

13 August
18 August
20 August
25 August
30 August
6 September

As my ink was white instead of black, I would need probably more sessions than normal to remove the ink totally. I am just looking forward to how the end results will be like. Picoway laser is able to treat scars, acne scars, fine lines, and even scars of people who slashed their wrist with penknife (There was no such place to remove this previously). 

Being a person who prides myself on being strong, independent and self-contained, this has been a difficult post for me to write! (Is this why people drink? Lols!) Yet, I felt I really should share with you because not many people know of Picoway and its shorter tattoo removal time. It can even remove super difficult ink like red, green and blue.

I guess with the passing of time, you sober up to life and realize that the best of all memories and life lessons are kept in your heart. At age 23, I look back with more understanding of relationships and gratitude that blood is indeed thicker than waters in episodic storm. I would not say I regret having my tattoo; it was something that was well needed at that point in my life. Yet, as with every new phase in life, changes are always inevitable. There are always things to learn from every moment, and I am grateful for everything that has happened in my life; the good, the bad, the wonderful, and the ugly. It has made me appreciate the nuances of life a little more and treasure what each day might bring. If you are thinking of removing a tattoo like me, it is not uncommon. You can schedule an appointment too!

I am looking forward to removing my tattoo, so keep up with me on my updates!

 

Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realise that nothing really belongs to them
 
– Paulo Coelho
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