Last summer I posted something on Twitter about finding a laser removal place whose website was riddled with misspellings. Do the egregious typos matter, I joked, if the tattoo is coming off your body?
It turns out the answer (as many pointed out to me at the time) was probably a resounding YES. Or maybe it’s not the fault of the business at all, but rather my skin. I don’t know, but I do know that after a hefty payment and one session, my attempt to begin erasing an ancient, unwanted tattoo left me with something worse than what I had before.
I shared a photo of it once — it’s a super-cheesy rose on my chest that has stretched and faded to look even uglier than it did immediately after it was inked into my skin, which was frankly pretty ugly. I spent years avoiding deep necklines and mostly ignoring it, but over the summer I decided I was sick to death of trying to keep it covered (the tip of it even peeks out of my super-modest swimsuit) and it was time to say goodbye.
So I called around and found a place that maybe wasn’t so great at spelling but seemed relatively affordable, and I did the consultation and all that. I paid the required fees for exactly one treatment, and after a few weeks of healing I had … a scar.
A really weird, raised scar that has never improved after five months or so. It looks like a blister, but it’s keloid scar tissue. It’s unattractive, but worse, it’s wildly sensitive — even the lightest feeling of cloth against it feels bothersome, and something like a sports bra is downright painful. If I get goosebumps, that part of my chest feels like it’s being stabbed with needles.
I followed the post-treatment care instructions to a T, it never seemed infected or anything like that, so why it scarred so badly (and faded NOT ONE BIT, by the way) is beyond me. A bad treatment? A fluke reaction? Who knows. I doubt there’s much that can be done at this point, aside from having it surgically removed.
I’m sure there’s some sort of deeper lesson here — you can’t erase your past? Don’t let a business shoot powerful lasers into your skin if they can’t use spellcheck? — but the bottom line is whenever I see it now, or experience the discomfort of something rubbing against it, I have this feeling of having screwed up. Of having made a really dumb, permanent decision. Which, you know, is exactly the feeling I was trying to get rid of.