The Laser Chronicles

The blog behind the machines

Dallas 9-Year-Old Aspires To Be Tattoo Artist

Channel 11 news was in the shop two days ago doing a story on story on Lilly and now it’s exploding all over the internet. I heard it even made the front page of Yahoo News and CNN.

span class=”cbstv_attribution”>DALLAS (CBS 11 News) ― According to Lilly Hibbs, tattoos are a way of life. Her mom works on body piercing and her dad is a tattoo artist. The 9-year-old said she just wants to follow in his footsteps.

“Monkey see, monkey do,” said Stephen Hibbs, Lilly’s dad. “I guess she watches us everyday she wants to be a part of it.”

Stephen said he just couldn’t be prouder. “Most parents would say, ‘I can’t believe your kid wants to be a tattoo artist.’ Where I say, ‘I can only be lucky if my kid turns out to be a tattoo artist,’” he said.

Lilly spends her day at Suffer City Tattoos in Dallas, doing what she says comes naturally, learning the skill of body art.

“When I was 7, my dad asked me if I wanted to tattoo him and I said yes,” she said. So, Lilly tattooed her dad with a picture of Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants.

The video was posted on YouTube. “One person saw video of me tattoo. They just stopped in saying they wanted a tattoo by me,” Lilly said.

One person even drove from North Carolina to get a tattoo by Lilly. “He wanted an anchor, so she drew him an anchor,” said Stephen. “He loved it.”

But Lilly has a little help. The needle is heavy, so her dad holds on while she draws.

At only $5 for each tattoo, Lilly realizes that she won’t get rich any time soon, but she is saving up for something a little zany: a gigantic plastic gingerbread man.

“I don’t think I will ever buy her a plastic gingerbread man, she will buy it for herself,” said her dad.

Lilly has drawn about six tattoos and says she realizes she has a lot of art classes to take before she can perfect her skill. Meanwhile, her dad worries that, like most kids, she will rebel — throw in the needle and run off to join a sorority.

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Cover-ups

So you’re stuck with a dark tattoo. You want to get it covered but your options are limited. In most cases, your choices are bigger and darker. Well, what about lightening the piece first? Below is a great example. With just 3 laser treatments, Caleb was able to cover his old tattoo with no sign of underlying tattoo. (Click the image for close-up view…you will see NO TRACE of the old kanji!)

Laser Tattoo Removal

“His neck tattooed normally.
I didn’t notice any adverse effects from the laser treatment at all.
You do good work.”
Artist: Tom YosenickFine Line Tattoos
Client: Caleb Barnard – Hold Fast Tattoos

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Results

We have several things going on right now. Testing a new post treatment gel, honing pain reduction techniques and further research into topical tattoo removal products, but today’s blog is all about results.

Of course everyone wants to see a portfolio, and laser removal technicians want to display their best work. We agree, however, there is more to laser tattoo removal than just final results. It would be fantastic if tattoos were removed in just one session, but that’s rarely the case. So, what should you expect after one, two, three treatments? Below is a collection of photos in different stages of removal.

Click Images for Larger Photos
Laser Tattoo Removal

Laser Tattoo Removal

Laser Tattoo Removal

Laser Tattoo Removal

Tattoo removal is more than just science
At Fade Fast better artwork is our passion

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Conventions Conventions Conventions

These last few weeks have been hectic with all our traveling. This past month the crew of Fade Fast attended the Masters of Tattooing, Philadelphia Tattoo Arts and Association of Professional Piercers annual conventions. We were out there speaking to the tattooed community about the science and art of laser removal, pigment reduction and tattoo editing. Until recently tattoo removal was thought to be the last option for poor quality and/or unwanted tattoos. Now, people are starting to accept and embrace the use of lasers to lighten existing artwork. In fact, the technology has improved so much that tattoos can now be easily covered in as few as one to four sessions. It’s truly amazing the options and flexibility laser treatments can give people when they choose to fix, rework or tattoo over an existing piece.

Laser Tattoo Removal

With over 16 years experience in the body modification industry, Fade Fast is one of the few tattoo removal clinics that has earned the trust and respect of the tattoo community.

Tattoo removal is more than just science. At Fade Fast, better artwork is our passion.

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Latest Test – Candela's Serenity PRO

Some you win and some you lose, and this was definitely true for today. I’m not talking about paying taxes, but I’m sure many of you are thinking that, being that it’s April 15th. No I’m talking about today’s test of a pneumatic skin-flattening (PSF) device, the Candela Serenity PRO.

First let me say, it really is an ingenious device. It’s basically a vacuum system that pulls the skin up into a clear, disposable plastic lens. The idea is that when the skin is compressed, pain signals are blocked. In clinical tests, it appears to work amazingly well. However, these tests have focused mainly on laser hair removal. From my understanding, we were the first studio in the United States to test the unit’s effectiveness on pain reduction in conjunction with laser tattoo removal, at least the first to use the disposable hand piece.

Sadly, the results weren’t anything close to what we hoped. The unit was tested on three people. (Two clients and I also volunteered my arm and hip) Pain reduction seemed to be almost nonexistent when using the device in conjunction with our Palomar QYAG5. In fact, at times the pain seemed more intense. Here are the basic results:

Person 1: (same energy output for each test)

  • Inside of forearm arm treated directly with laser to determine baseline of pain.
  • Area treated with PSF – Similar pain.
  • Hip treated directly with laser to determine baseline of pain.
  • Area treated with PSF – Similar pain.

Person 2: (same energy output for each test)

  • Buttocks treated directly with laser to determine baseline of pain
  • Area treated with PSF – Similar pain, possibly slight reduction
  • Area iced for five minutes and treated – Dramatic reduction of pain
  • Iced area treated with PSF – Increased pain

Person 3: (same energy output for each test)

  • Back treated directly with laser to determine baseline of pain
  • Area treated with PSF – Increase of pain
  • Area iced for five minutes and treated – Medium reduction of pain
  • Iced area treated with PSF – Dramatic increase of pain

So what does all this mean? The device has proven to work with laser hair removal, but it appears to have a different reaction to laser tattoo removal. After some discussion with the representative, we may have come to a fairly reasonable, yet hypothetical conclusion.

As the device sucks the skin into the lens, the epidermis and upper levels of the dermis are compressed making the tattoo ink a much clearer target. Logically, this means the ink might absorb the energy that could be reflected and/or absorbed by the skin during a normal treatment. If this is the case, then testing the area with an identical laser energy output may not have been a true comparison. In fact, the tattoo treated with the PSF may have been absorbing a dramatically larger amount of energy.

In conclusion, although presently the Candela Serenity PRO-PSF might not be a good companion machine for tattoo removal, I am grateful that the company allowed us to be one of the first laser removal studios to test the device. Plus, if the unit becomes available again for different energy comparisons, we might be giving it another try down the line.

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New Photos – 3 Treatments

Still waiting to post the Masters of Tattooing convention blog. I just need a few photos to complete the entry. Until then, here are some recent treatment result photos:

Fade Fast Laser Tattoo Removal
Click for larger image

In other news, Fade Fast may soon be offering laser removal treatments in Austin, Houston and other Texas cities. More info soon to come.

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Second Laser Review/Comparison

This week I tested my Palomar QYAG5 against the Hoya Conbio Revlite laser. I planned to demo the Medlite C6, which is almost the same unit, but the Revlite is Conbio’s top of the line machine and of course they want to show the more expensive unit. The touch screen that the Revlite offers over the Medlite C6 is very cool, but when it comes right down to it, the Medlite C6 is really just as good for tattoo removal.

Before I get into the full results, I was honestly shocked how similar the systems really are. I was actually able to produce almost identical results with just one exception that I will address here in a minute.

Here are the results:

    Power – The Revlite is a 220V machine, where mine is a 110V. As with the last laser I demoed this machine produces a lot of heat. Also, the Revlite took a while to warm up, whereas the Palomar starts immediately.

    Energy – The Revlite does seem to be able to produce more energy, although, the Palomar appears to be able to match it within certain parameters. Looking at the display, the Revlite can produce more power in a larger spot size, but it was more energy than needed to treat the two test clients.

    Wavelength – The Revlite has two dye polymer hand pieces that allow the machine to produce 585 and 650 wavelengths that the Palomar cannot. The Palomar has a wave-blending feature that the Revlite does not. Testing light blues the machines have similar results. However, the Revlite does seem to react slightly better to greens.

    Spot Size – In 1064 and 532 modes the Revlite does have a 8mm spot size, where the Palomar only has 6mm. When it comes to doing very big black or red pieces, the Revlite can do them a bit faster. However, in 585 and 650 mode the Revlite spot size drops down to 2mm to 3mm making progress super slow going.

    Speed – First, as mentioned above, the Revlite needs to warm up, where the Palomar is ready to operate when it’s turned on. Simple, but clients don’t like to wait. As for the operation, in 1064 and 532 modes, both machines operate at the same speed, 10HZ, they fire 10 shots a second. When the Revlite is in 585 and 650 mode it drops down to 1 or 2 HZ making treatment of large blue/green tattoos incredibly time consuming.

    Ergonomic – The Revlite articulated arm is slightly more comfortable to use than the larger Palomar lasing unit. The Revlite might be easier to use for some people, but the Palomar also comes with an arm to hold the large hand piece. My thoughts are that the Revlite is more ergonomic, but only slightly.

    Function – Side by side these machines are so similar. The only complaints I got from the clients were that the Revlite is just too slow in blue and green modes. When the Palomar operates in the wave blending mode to treat these colors it is so much faster.

    Results – I worked on two clients and the results are yet to be seen, give me a week or two. I can tell you from first glance, the results seem almost identical.

    Pain – Because the machines operate in the same way, pain seems similar as well. Both clients gave almost identical reviews about the sensation.

    Hair Removal – Another reason I wanted to review this machine is its hair removal feature. Not that I plan to delve into this business, but if the machine has the option I might offer it as well. As it turns out, this laser really isn’t designed to do hair removal. During the machine’s initial testing, they found less hair growth in areas that were treated for tattoo removal. So, does the machine do hair removal? Well a bit, but then again, the Palomar does the exact same thing.

In final review, the machines look and operate very differently, but the core physics are extremely similar. Prior to testing the machine I was convinced the Hoya Conbio Revlite and Medlite C6 would have so much more to offer than the Palomar QYAG5. The final test will be in the results, but for now, I see such little difference that I doubt I will be in any hurry to change lasers.

Coming soon, a review of a new pain reduction device.

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Wrecking Balm

People constantly ask about dermabrasion and topical tattoo removal/fading products. Being that tattoo removal is our business, I decided to look into these products and try to give people a bit more info. After doing some Google searching on the product Wrecking Balm, I found little info, mostly reviews and general comments. So, I obtained a sample of the product and have begun doing some research. First, here is the list of ingredients for each of the items:

Suffusion Gel
Ingredients:

  • Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil
  • Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil
  • Eugenica Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Oil
  • Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil
  • Silica
  • Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder

Demo-Brasion Spray
Ingredients:

  • Propylene Glycol
  • SD Alcohol 40-B
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil
  • Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil
  • Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil

HydraVescent Cream
Ingredients:

  • Water (Aqua)
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
  • Mineral Oil
  • Cetearyl Alcohol
  • Glyceryl Stearate SE
  • Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter
  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Ceteareth-20
  • Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)
  • Dimethicone
  • Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil
  • Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract
  • Polysorbate 20
  • Epilobium Angustifolium Extract
  • Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract
  • Propylene Glycol
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Methylparaben
  • Propylparaben

Branding Butter Concealer
Ingredients:

  • Water (Aqua)
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Iron Oxides
  • Talc
  • Dihydroxyacetone
  • Petrolatum
  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Glycerin
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
  • Cetearyl Alcohol
  • Glyceryl Stearate SE
  • Ceteareth-20
  • Dimethicone
  • Mineral Oil
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Methylparaben
  • Propylparaben
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Laser Review/Comparison

First let me say, I find it strange and ironic that I’m the first person to do unbiased, side by side comparisons, of tattoo removal lasers. You would think that some other person/company would have done this already, but if they did, they didn’t make their results readily available. Either way here is the scoop.

I tested my Palomar QYAG5 against the Candela Q switch Alexandrite. I thought I would be demoing the AlexTriVantage laser, but the hand pieces for the laser are still not ready. I’m glad I got to play with Alexandrite, but it really wasn’t what I expected…oh well.

Here are the results:

There are of course lots of pros and cons

    Power – The Candela is a 220V machine, where mine is a 110V. 220 means more power, however it also means more electricity and heat, boy the room got hot quick.

    Energy – Theoretically, the Candela can deliver more energy into the skin. However, being that the wavelength is different, the energy output did not not truly correlate between the two lasers.

    Ergonomic – The Candela uses a fiber optic cable, where the Palomar lasing unit is a large heavy hand piece. The Candela wins hands down here, but I do like the fact that I can control some features directly on the Palomar hand piece

    Wave Blending – The Palomar wins here, it’s the only unit on the market to allow for blending of wavelengths. The Candela only has one wavelenth.

    Function – The Candela is designed to do all the work for you. You tell it what color you are targeting (your choices are black, green or blue only) and it does everything else, except adjust power. The Palomar has no “color” setting. The technician adjusts the wavelength and power settings manually.

    Speed – The Palomar wins hands down here. It’s twice as fast as the Candela. When it comes right down to it, there are really only two things the customer cares about speed and results.

    Results – I worked on two clients and the result are yet to be seen, give me a week or two. I can tell you from first glance, the Palomar seems to have more of an initial reaction. However, results take 7-10 days to see the real difference. Then fading will continue for 6 weeks.

    Pain – Seems to be about a draw here. Both clients gave similar reviews to how it felt. Maybe a little difference here and there, but nothing substantial.

In final review, technologically speaking, my machine, the Palomar QYAG5 should be the best for removing darker colors, which is the way to go for people that want to lighten tattoos for coverups. The Candela Alexandrite, might work as a complimentary machine for targeting certain colors, but it’s really not a replacement unit, maybe when the company produces the new machine I might give it another look. The real question here is green ink. Which machine did the better job? Well, I will know in a week or two.

Now, if I can get another company to setup an appointment with me, I will be reviewing another laser very soon.

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New Laser

There is a brand new tattoo removal laser on the market. Actually it’s not even available yet BUT the manufacturer has a rep in town demonstrating the unit. They are coming to Fade Fast this next Tuesday, March 4th, and I’m looking for 1 or 2 people to come in for a session. I realize many people that read this blog don’t live in Dallas so please pass the word. Oh, the session will be free AND all future sessions on the same tattoo will be free as well.

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