Brandan had two options: live with an unfinished tattoo he hated or get a dark and dense cover-up. Neither appealed, but nor did laser tattoo removal. He’d heard horror stories about the removal process and as a model, the condition of his skin was a top priority. But then he found NAAMA and learned that our technology could clear his tattoos without causing skin damage. This is his story.
I’ve got a few tattoos that I had done when I was very young. Back then I didn't really care about them because in all my jobs, I wore suits and you never really saw them. There were some things that I wanted to get fixed but I didn't really know how. I had this illusion that laser removal was super-painful and really treacherous grounds.
I think I became more conscious of my tattoos when I went into modeling. I was getting loads of photos taken and I didn’t really like how it was looking. I was on a billboard and I’d just be like, ‘ah there’s that tattoo.’ The one on the top of my arm was obviously quite easily covered, but if I was wearing anything that was slightly shorter, you could see it.
“I’ve always posed on one side because I didn’t want this arm showing. Now, I’m more confident and I can move around more on set.”
What’s the story behind the tattoos you’re removing?
I gave a picture of what I wanted to the tattoo artist and he started doing it, but he didn’t seem like he was feeling very well. He'd done the outline of one and he’d done the compass when he said he wasn’t well and asked me to come back another day. So I left and when I got home, I hated it. I didn't want to go back to him to get it finished off, because I didn't want him to finish the work.
I went to multiple tattoo artists and they all said they weren’t touching it. I was stuck in this limbo where nobody wanted to try to fix it. The outline was so dark that they said to get it covered up I’d have to get something really black, and I didn't want that. So I had the tattoo on my arm for nearly two years - just the outline - and then NAAMA started. It came at the perfect time because it was getting to the point where I was like, ‘I might just get the really dark tattoo over the top and just have to deal with it.’
You say you didn’t want a cover-up, so why was laser tattoo removal originally not an option for you?
I had spoken to someone I know that has had their neck done and he said it’s 10 times worse than getting a tattoo. I've got a good pain tolerance, but the way he was describing it put me off.
I was looking at pictures online of people getting laser and some had really bad blisters on the skin. I was thinking, ‘I can't have a laser session and then go and do modeling. That’s going to affect my income; I can’t turn up with blistering skin.’
And then NAAMA showed me some videos and I was like, ‘oh my God, this is perfect.’ When I leave here, there’s a little bit of swelling but by day three it’s pretty much back to normal. It doesn’t ever look blistered. It’s never got in the way of my job.
If anything, it’s worked perfectly because I’ll come here normally on a Saturday morning and if I’m working on Monday I just use the aftercare cream. It takes the redness down which for me is perfect, because when I’m on set you can’t tell if my skin’s ever so slightly raised from treatment. There’s no redness, no blistering, it works perfectly.
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"I was thinking it was going to kill, but the expectation I had compared to what I was actually having was so different."
Your friend warned you about how painful their tattoo removal was at a different clinic. How have you found it?
When I first came in, I was nervous about the pain. I was thinking it was going to kill, but the expectation I had compared to what I was actually having was so different. The cooling machine helps to numb it and by the time it starts to feel a little bit painful it’s nearly done.
The only bit that’s tender for me is underneath my arm just on the back. The best way to describe it is like little sharp pinches. It was good - obviously, that’s why I’ve kept coming back! If it was super-painful, I would probably just get it covered up.
Your tattoos have faded a lot! How do you feel about your progress?
I don’t notice much of a change because I see it every day, but when I look back at photos from before, I see how dark it was. Now, unless the photo is really close, you can’t actually see it. I did a shoot with Speedo last month and the only bit you could see was the bottom part of the compass, but even then you’d have to zoom in on the photo.
I feel like we’re getting there. It’s a good feeling. I think I’ve always posed on one side because I didn’t want this arm showing. Now, I’m more confident and I can move around more on set.
I also have clients that will ask for digital photos, which are just topless photos facing straight to the camera and then turning to the right and to the left. It’s always in the back of my mind if my tattoos are going to affect if I’ll get booked for the job.
And how has your overall experience with NAAMA been?
I’ve been coming in for quite a while and the staff are all kind of like a little family. They know when I come in I’d like water and my favorite coffee, and they’re always really accommodating with my work.
I don’t have a fixed work schedule; I could get called today and be working tomorrow. It could be in Manchester, it could be London, it could be LA - I never know. But NAAMA is so accommodating with moving things around to fit in with my unpredictable schedule, which is super-helpful. I know a lot of companies aren’t so forgiving.
Finally, what would you say to someone considering tattoo removal?
If there’s anything I could say, it’s that there are ways to get rid of tattoos you don’t like without it being such a daunting experience. Just have a consultation. Come here and see the facilities. Look at the photos and see the progress other people have made. Sometimes if you’re reading it online, you still have your own doubts but if you come here, it will put your mind at ease and make you feel a lot better. Just come for a consultation and check it out.