Love them or loathe them, they are now more popular than ever; I’m talking about tattoos.
Tattoos are an emotive subject and everyone seems to have an opinion about them so I thought I’d share my somewhat surprising views (or so I’ve been told!)
Now, on the surface, I look like an ‘alternative’ lady. I have dyed black hair, wear a lot of black clothing, skulls being a particular theme I go for so people naturally assume I am tattooed. The surprising thing is, I’m not – well, I was but I’m not any more.
As I’ve written previously, I began an apprenticeship in body piercing when I was 24 and absolutely loved it; I had lots of unusual piercings in my ears, had skin divers along my arm, a nipple piercing, tongue piercing, navel piercing to name a few. But, I had one lowly tattoo on the inside of my right wrist and that was it.
Customers were surprised that unlike my fellow body piercers and tattooists, I wasn’t covered in inkings and my piercings weren’t all on my face. I liked being the odd one out (shocker, I know!) and eventually, got sick of seeing people covered in tattoos; it wasn’t shocking or interesting any more – particularly as the tattooist at the place I was piercing at wasn’t actually very good at all. But that’s another story for another day!
When I left the piercing place, I ended up being a full time vintage and pinup model and spent a lot of time with other models. It didn’t take long to notice a fascinating overlap when it comes to pinup and tattoo modelling; I was surrounded by “alternative” models who did both alternative and pinup modelling.
During the two years I spent with one group of models, it seemed to me as though they were getting tattoos simply to get photographed for front covers of magazines. Whilst, I applaud their dedication, it really did put me off being tattooed because to me, they all started to look the same.
A part of who I am is my need to be different. In a world where everyone seems to be tattooed, I decided I wanted to undo my foray into being tattooed myself. So I went about having laser tattoo removal.
Before I show you what my non-tattoo-tattoo looks like, I’ll show you what it looked like when I had first had it done.
I chose to have my favourite name tattooed on my wrist – my late Grandma’s name and the name of my favourite Monarch, Elizabeth I. Yes, my name is also Elizabeth – cue the jokes about forgetting your own name so having this to remind me… blah blah blah!
My vintage modelling was going really well so I decided I wanted to remove my black tattoo and have my ‘blank canvas’ back. Vintage modelling is as it sounds – I wore all original vintage clothing from the 1940s and 1950s, set my hair in rollers and wore a lot of red lipstick. As you can guess, tattoos weren’t a hugely popular look back in the 40s and 50s so I wanted to look as authentic as possible; this meant removing my tattoo.
When people talk about tattoo removal, the first thing people say is how painful it is. Let me say right now, they are absolutely right – laser tattoo removal hurts. It hurts a lot. Even more than having the tattoo in the first place, so to anyone wanting a tattoo who isn’t quite sure… think hard before you are tattooed because it is absolutely no fun at all, having it lasered.
Luckily my tattoo is black; a colour that is more easily removed than others (red, being one of the hardest colours to remove) and it is quite small. Unfortunately I did have my tattoo on the inside of my wrist which is I’m told, quite a tender place for a tattoo.
I’ve now had around 5 sessions of laser removal leaving a minimum of 6 weeks between each laser session. The longer you leave it, the better, as the tattoo will continue to fade after each session and for weeks after.
This image was taken after the 3rd laser session.
This was after the 4th session so it had already faded quite a lot by then. This was taken around 20 minutes after having laser on it. It was extremely swollen and tender – feeling much like severe sunburn… Immediately after having it lasered, it looks a lot more faded than it will the next day. This is normal, but won’t last.
This was taken around 6 hours after the session, as you can see it has all blood blistered.
And this…. is how it looks now, after 5 sessions – the last one was a year ago.
As you can see, it hasn’t entirely gone. It has scarred. Apparently this is a common issue with laser removal, as the skin doesn’t always react the way we want it to. I may have one more session to see if it does any more lifting. I’m quite happy with it now, as no one seems to notice it any more.
For anyone considering having a tattoo, I cannot stress it enough how important it is to be sure of who you are before you do it – or, be absolutely okay with having a painful removal procedure that isn’t 100% effective. It is extremely unlikely to disappear entirely and sometimes the only way to get rid of a tattoo is to have an expensive, dark, obtrusive cover up tattoo over the top.
So that’s my experience with tattooing and why I’m strictly on the nay camp when it comes to being tattooed. What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts!