I hated both of my arm tattoos. I tried several home solutions to remove them before doing laser. I'm sharing my experience and my results.
Why I Snapped and Tried to Remove My Own Tattoo
Call me crazy, but I'll do just about anything when I'm desperate enough. Recently, I got a new tattoo that didn't quite turn out as expected. I wanted a nice, flowy, feminine tree on my upper right arm. Mostly because there were scars there that I didn't want to look at any longer: Long, white, raised scars that I've had since I was a teenager, but that's a whole other story I do not wish to go into.
I love trees and figured putting a nice tree there to cover the scars would be a great idea. But, I ended up with a massive, dark, threatening tree that was ten times bigger than I wanted. It didn't have the shape or look I wanted; it was a lot bolder and, well, I just wasn't happy with it. The tattoo guy knows how to do amazing trees and he did a fantastic job, it just wasn't what I wanted.
We ran into a problem: I had an old barbed wire tattoo going all the way around my arm and right in the middle of the tree he was doing. He decided to cover over part of it. This is when I started to panic. I knew for sure I'd be unhappy because the tree would be new and fresh and sparkling, but under it and through the middle there would be a faded, ugly, old barbed wire tattoo, which would also come out both sides of the tree and all around the rest of my arm.
I went home, looked at my arm, and have been in shock ever since. My arm just looks like it exploded. There is WAY too much going on. Yes, he covered the scars, which I'm so thankful for. But I wanted my simple, flowy, feminine tree, and I didn't even come close to getting it. Then we have the ugly faded barbed wire coming out from each side, not to mention the darker areas in the middle, since he had to cover the barbed wire. That area looks like a mess, but the tree is nice everywhere else. Again, though, not for me.
My Options for Tattoo Removal
So I have this really cool tree on my arm that was done really well but looks nothing like how I wanted it to look. I had to look at all my options and being a single stay-at-home mom of two with no job doesn't make getting laser surgery easy. Plus, I'd risk the possibility of more scars.
I didn't have any intentions of removing the tree right away, just fading it. I wanted to remove the barbed wire most of all. I figured if that was gone, the arm wouldn't look so "busy." I do plan on seeing my tattoo guy again and seeing if there is anything he can do, but only after my little experiments are done. If I see him now, he'd just cover up the entire rest of my arm with something to cover the barbed wire with, and I just don't want that.
All I know is that anything performed in a doctor's office will cost way more than what I can afford, and I might find good methods at home—for a lot cheaper. I am going to try a lot of the home remedies found on the Internet to fade, or remove completely, my barbed wire.
The Tree the Day I Got It Done
I Got a Tad Obsessed
I couldn't stop looking in the mirror. I obsessed about this arm of mine every second of the day. I didn't want to show anyone the new tat. I wanted to hide my arm completely.
This isn't my first tattoo, it's my, umm, 15th maybe. So getting a tattoo is nothing new to me. All I know is that if I'm comfortable with it, there will be no obsessing, no constant looking in the mirror, no constant thoughts of: "OMG!! HOW DO I FIX THIS?" If I am comfortable with a tattoo, it's smooth sailing, and I'll barely even think of it. But in this case, it's ALL I think about. And my entire thought patterns for a week have been: "I need to fix this, and I'll do anything I can to do so."
I need to like this tree. And I am almost sure I can like it if I can make changes. I need to clean up the rest of my arm, and fade the tree as much as I can, so it's not so bold. I am thinking of adding color to maybe lighten it up or add more femininity to it. But my main problem is the shape of the tree. And I'm not sure what my tat guy will be able to do with that, unless I can really fade it a lot.
So, fading is my main goal on both tattoos.
What Did I Decide to Do?
Please see Part 2 for my at-home remedies for attempting to remove my barbed wire tat, and for fading the tree. I will put up with pain, but in small doses. Plus, this is the first time I've ever attempted to fade/remove one of my own tattoos, and I do not want to injure myself to the extent that I need to rush to the ER!
Scars are a big issue as well. This whole process started because I wanted to cover old scars. I do not want to make new, highly visible scars.
This could be a lengthy process that I might not even continue with. I may just rush back to my tattoo guy to have him figure something else out. But I would like to try most of my options before I spend a lot more money on more tattoo cover-ups that I might regret as well. You will have to keep an eye on my articles, and check back every few weeks to see the progress.
For the follow-up to this process, check out my article My Experience Lightening and Removing My Tattoo at Home.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Jason on July 06, 2015: