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Tattoo Removal: 

Modeling. Working. Tattoo Shop Life. Collecting.

mimi’s tattoo Perspective…..

Improving my tattoo collection: Improving others 

When I was first approached to write a blog on my perspective of laser tattoo removal. I am a model and as someone who has worked in tattoo shops for over seven years, I wasn’t sure where to begin. Being a model and a person who has worked in the tattoo industry, I’ve had the benefit of seeing laser tattoo removal from both ends.

One side being the removal of unwanted tattoos on myself to improve my collection. The other is “what information do you share with clients looking to do cover-ups?” when they come into the shop.

About me

To put this into better perspective, I started as an unaware collector. I grew up in a college town in southwestern Pennsylvania, and there were only a couple of shops in town at the time. I got my first tattoo when I turned 18, and it WAS;) an Olivia painting of Bettie Page on my lower back. Once I got that first tattoo, I knew that I was going to become what is now known as a collector. Even though I wasn’t aware of that term back in the 90’s. All I knew was that I wanted more! The more I got tattooed the more I wanted. It was the late 90’s, and the decisions I made were not quite what I would classify as timeless. The tattoos were rooted in 90’s culture, and as I started to get older, my collection was rapidly increasing.

The Tattoo removal decision: For Me

I wanted to be a collector that had tattoos that impressed people not just be a girl who had many tattoos for the sake of having many tattoos.

While I was delighted with the tattoos I was getting at the time. They were by far not tattoos that I wanted in my 30’s. When I started working in tattoo shops, I gained the knowledge that I have today, I knew I had to do something about some of the tattoos I had got in my late teens (and even in my late 20’s). I wanted to be a collector that had tattoos that impressed people not just be a girl who had many tattoos for the sake of having many tattoos. This decision was when I started my journey into tattoo laser removal. It was (and still is) very important to me that I have the best quality tattoos done by quality artists.

The first tattoos that I started with were the ones I got in the 90’s. Which included my first tattoo as well as both hips, and of course my 90’s inspired back piece. I had plans to cover them up, so I did not need to do the full amount of sessions to remove them entirely but rather enough laser sessions to lighten them enough to give the artists more options with the new tattoos.

Tattoo removal takes time!

The process started approximately 3 1/2 years ago. I went faithfully every 6-8 weeks (and continue with sessions for other tattoos as well). The progress was different for each tattoo as they were different ages as well as varying in color.  Most of these tattoos have since been covered up with beautiful new tattoos that I’m proud to own. I still keep up with my laser tattoo removal sessions to this day. Now that I am modeling it is important to me that I have the best tattoos that I can. It is also important to me that I continue with this process as now that I’m running out of space I need to make more room by ridding myself of my mediocre tattoos to make room for better new work. There are specific artists that I admire, and I want to get tattooed by so I need the room!

Making Room: Better art

I view myself as a living canvas as a constant work in progress. My work reflects my love for the art of tattooing only when I am ecstatic about every tattoo I have will I then stop. My hope is to someday have full coverage with body art that impresses not just myself but others as well. I want to share the beauty of the art of tattooing. I hope to do this through my modeling and work. Laser tattoo removal is helping me achieve my goals and allows me to get the art that I want.

 

TAttoo removal: an industry perspective 

 

As for the other side of laser tattoo removal from an industry/tattoo shop point of view. It is easy to discuss the benefits to clients looking to do challenging cover-ups. Many clients have tattoos that are either small or light enough that it is possible to do fantastic cover-ups that successfully hide the pre-existing tattoo.

However once in a while, you get the client that has a tattoo that is too large. The tattoo is too dark, or the client doesn’t want a tattoo that is the necessary size. Coverup tattoos usually need to be 30% larger to cover up the pre-existing tattoo successfully. This point is the perfect opportunity to discuss the laser tattoo removal process.

 

We explain how it is beneficial to have tattoo removal sessions to lighten the tattoo enough for the artist to be able to cover up the tattoo adequately. The tattoo shop clients who are flexible enough with the time frames needed to lighten the tattoo (which of course varies for each client and each tattoo as they all react differently to the process). The artist then has more flexibility to work with giving the client the tattoo they want. We’ve had great success with clients lightening their tattoos and getting a beautiful cover-up tattoo where you’d never even know that the tattoo was a cover-up.

My Tattoo Removal Experience

In regards to the actual process of going through with laser treatments, I can explain a few of my personal experiences. I’ve had a range of size and age of tattoos lightened. Some have been on a colossal scale (my old 90’s back piece for example) to the tiniest ones (on my ears). Some have been old tattoos (the Bettie Page one was from the 90’s), and some have been tattoos that were only a couple years old.

The back piece was most extended to do in one go every session. Just like getting a tattoo removal is uncomfortable in some spots more than others. The great thing about the process is that it’s quick! The most massive laser removal sessions only lasted up to 10 minutes. The cold air they use simultaneously with the laser counterbalances the heat from the laser. The Zimmer makes tattoo removal much more comfortable. Laser tattoo removal without the Zimmer is brutal!!! I work on multiple tattoos during my sessions and even then, the total process is speedy, I usually am in and out in under 30 minutes. Your tattoo is iced before they laser it to chill the skin to help with comfort.

I often get asked about healing…

I’ve had nothing but great experiences with each session as the technicians are incredibly knowledgeable and can walk you through the process. The Laser technicians always have answers for any question I ever have. The healing process was what I was most nervous about, but they have been helpful with follow-ups the day after and make themselves available for any issue that may happen along the way. I treat my lasered tattoos with a light coat of Aquaphor to keep the skin hydrated. I’ve been lucky with having blister free experiences for which I am thankful!

Laser Tattoo removal has come a long way since first introduced to the industry. It not only helps me achieve my personal goal of having a body of work that I can be extremely proud of but allows artists to open up their potential for doing fantastic tattoo cover-ups. I feel lucky to have been introduced to The Finery and all that they have done to assist me in the journey. If you have been on the fence about tattoo laser removal, I encourage you to have a consultation and go for it!

MiMi is a cosmetic tattoo artist and professional model you can follow her on Instagram @mimi.fulton or go say hi at Old City Tattoo in Philadelphia, PA.

Photos by:

Jl Joseph Beaulieu, Cassandra Panek

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