LYDIA'S STORY · ARM TATTOO REMOVAL

Lydia came to NAAMA with a story to tell about impulsivity, doing your research properly, and zero-to-100 tattoo coverage in just six months.

We sat down with Lydia and learned that sometimes our consultants are the reassuring voice at the end of the telephone, and at other times, a source of expert knowledge for clients who are embarking on a fresh journey to clear skin.

Read her laser tattoo removal story and find out what it’s like to remove a new tattoo after just six months. Oh, and did we mention, one designed and inked by a talented friend.

Publish Date in article

This time last year you had no tattoos, in fact, you got them all over a period of six months. Would you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming tattooed?

The one on my arm was quite big for a first tattoo. The artist did it freehand on me as well.

Initially, it was kind of about rebellion. I'm taking a year out of university at the moment and I was traveling and training at this powerlifting gym. Everyone had tattoos. I think I was kind of influenced. It's a bit like with piercings when I was 11. I used to have loads and I used to just do them Parent Trap style.

Once you have tattoos, you look at other people with tattoos. And I'm from a really arty family. My dad is an artist, and my mum is a photographer. But my degree is STEM. So, it was a way to express myself. Also, my best friend is training to be a tattoo artist. I just kind of became the canvas.

What was it like working on your tattoo designs with a friend?

My friend was training to be an artist. She's covered with really cool tattoos and a lot of them are very edgy and out there. I think because I'm quite early on in my tattoo journey, even though I'm pretty covered, I'm still figuring out what styles I like.

She wanted to do this edgy cool design and we had a few ideas and she put them together on a sheet of paper. We initially planned to do other stuff around it and make it smaller. I hadn't really thought about the placement.

She had also been tattooing this really cool electric-shock-lightning-bolt across someone's ribs for nine hours before, so I think she was a bit tired. She was like, ‘right, we'll just stick it on your arm.’

Publish Date in article

We did the initial design and then we started shading. We were halfway through and we both kind of looked at it. I looked down and my arm was covered in blood. And she looked at it and said, ‘well, we're kind of past the point of no return now.’

I was just kind of uncomfortable with it on my body from the start and I know sometimes you become comfortable with tattoos on your body over time. But this one, I didn’t want it, and sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night - like someone's seen my arm. I always want to cover it up. It was too bold and too much of an edgy design for me.

As someone who studies medicine at university, how important was it for you to do your research into the LightSense® laser, to make sure treatments were skin-safe and skin-kind?

I did quite a lot because since studying medicine, if someone presents a fact to me, I'm like, where's your source? And I'll read papers. I remember ringing up NAAMA and being like, ‘okay, what picoseconds are you using’ and doing research into it. Because I wondered how the skin can regenerate after two weeks. There's no way, I thought.

But it manages to do it! I get a session done and then after a week, it'll be a bit painful and then I'll be fine.

How did you find your first conversations with NAAMA?

They were really good actually.

I was panicking. I just got this new tattoo that I really didn't like, and I wanted it off my body as soon as possible. The fact that I could come in within six weeks and get started removing it was great. Now at least it's faded to the point where I've had quite a few events, like my friend’s 21st birthday and several balls at college, and I can just cover it up with a bit of makeup.

That’s partly why I'm removing it, because everyone immediately points at it and grabs my arm. They want to look at the design in the middle and ask about the reason behind it. Which I don't really like.

Publish Date in article

"I wondered how the skin can regenerate after two weeks. There's no way, I thought. But it manages to do it! I get a session done and then after a week, it'll be a bit painful and then I'll be fine."

How has the experience of removing a tattoo informed your views on getting a new one?

I would definitely think about it. I know you're supposed to wait till you're 25 and your frontal cortex has developed. But equally, when you get to 25 they're more painful.

So I think I'll probably just get more.

But I'll be more careful about where I put them and how big they are.

My first tattoo was very big because I wanted it to be bold. I wanted it to be like, ‘I got a tattoo’ - especially to my parents. Growing up I was very quiet and shy. I wanted it to be a bit of a statement. But now I'm getting tattoos for me rather than for other people.

My tattoos don't all have meaning; I think the meaning of them changes over time. I attribute meaning to them, this will be an ode to my rash decisions.

Lydia's progress

Before treatment

Lydia's high-density tattoo has a lot of fading to do.

After 2 sessions

The ink starts to fade and clear in places.

After 6 sessions

Lydia's tattoo removal is making significant progress.

Talk to one of our experts to start your removal journey