With 11 tattoos to remove, Teni was determined to find a tattoo removal studio she could trust with her skin type. According to her, it was “NAAMA or nothing” - and so her tattoo removal journey began…
Teni, you’re getting a LOT of tattoos removed with us! What led you to clear so many?
I think at the time that I got them, I was feeling very rebellious. I was 18. I felt like I had this newfound sense of freedom, like I could finally do anything I wanted. Most of them, I saw them on Instagram or Pinterest and I thought, ‘this is really pretty, let me get it on me’. And then before I knew it, I had so many.
I feel like now that I've entered my 20s, I've realized that it doesn't really fit who I want to be or what I want to look like. So I decided it would probably be best to get them removed and just clean the slate completely.
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Do you think you’ll get more tattoos?
It's possible because I do really enjoy getting them, but I feel like this experience has taught me how to be smarter with them. I don't think I'm just going to rush into the process of getting it done straight away. I'm going to really think about it. Like 20 years from now, is this something that I'm going to be happy is still in my skin? And if not, then it's not worth it. It's better to just admire it on someone else.
Are you leaving any tattoos on your skin?
I have two or three that I'm keeping. One I did with my siblings, so that's not going anywhere. Another I really like is on my ankle and the other is on the side of my foot. So they're kind of hidden, but I also really like them.
Meanwhile, the tattoos you’re removing are in quite visible places…
Yeah, so I have one on the side of my neck. That is the biggest one. It’s of a dragon and although I thought it'd be so cool to be “the girl with the dragon tattoo”, it just doesn't fit my identity anymore. So yeah, it needs to go - and it's going!
The others I have on my arms, my stomach… they're very visible and I just don't want them anymore.
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Did you always want to remove them or was it a gradual decision?
It was definitely gradual. When I got them done, I don't think I really cared; I wasn't thinking about the future. I wasn't thinking about a year or two years from then or the possible change of my identity from a teenager to a grown adult woman.
So about a year or two years later, I started to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I was censoring the clothes that I was wearing because I didn't want my tattoos to show or trying to cover them with makeup. I was going to certain places asking myself, ‘what are people going to think?’ Like it’s not me. I look like someone else.
"It was very important to me that I found somewhere that would cater to my skin type and genuinely just looked like the best fit."
And once you made the decision, how much research did you do into the tattoo removal studio?
I take my skin very seriously so I did a lot of research, especially because I'm very aware of the fact that by being Black and of African descent, my skin is a lot more sensitive than my white counterparts. It was very important to me that I found somewhere that would cater to my skin type and genuinely just looked like the best fit.
I also saw Carl's story on your website so that was very encouraging. Yeah, there wasn't much competition.
And even when you come in, you’re always offered a drink or a snack and the consultants are always so lovely and answer any questions that you have. I truly do love it here. It's kind of a bougie experience - I love that!
I had a consultation elsewhere, but that was part of my decision making and deciding that NAAMA was the fit for me. The process just wasn't great at all and the patch test kind of burned. I thought, ‘yeah, it's NAAMA or nothing.’
How have you found the LightSense® laser itself?
I think I have a pretty high pain tolerance - and of course the cooler helps a lot and the cream afterward. But yeah, the laser is not bad at all.
I also bought the Protect aftercare cream. It helps a lot over the first few days, I see the swelling go down and my skin looks back to normal which is exactly what I want to see.
And how are the removals going?
They're going really well. I think when I started the process, I was afraid that it just wouldn't work. There isn't much out there on the internet. I tried to watch YouTube videos but there weren't many at all, so I was afraid that I would lose my skin color completely in the areas or the tattoos just wouldn't go anywhere.
But I've been patient and as time has gone by, I'm seeing patches where there's not a tattoo anymore. And I love that. I love the fact that I'm getting my skin back.