Tattoo removal is frequently part of greater personal development; physical changes often accompany internal personal growth. We have seen clients take ownership of their personal developmental goals, and we’re excited to showcase a few personal stories, starting with Farrah Flawless.
From struggling with gender dysphoria in her childhood, to transitioning into the woman she wants to be, we have had the privilege of helping Farrah Flawless reflect on how she feels and what part tattoo removal is playing in her self actualization.
Gender identity is someone’s internal sense of self. Male, female, or another gender, the “transgender umbrella” spans all gender-nonconforming individuals, from binary, non-binary, genderqueer, or agender. Those who do not identify as the sex they were assigned to at birth, fall within the scope of transgender individuals.
Farrah Flawless has many body modifications; her eyes are injected with ink, her face is heavily tattooed, her nose pierced and gauged. Farrah is an all-around body mod badass. As she likes to put it, “If you can think of a body modification, I’ve probably had it done, honestly.” Farrah found a home in the tattoo and body mod community; as a piercer and body mod artist, she explored many different forms of expression and helped others to do so as well. She added to her tattoo collection and continued to modify over the years, and she eventually tattooed the entire middle portion of her face solid black.
“When I first was getting the heavier black in the middle of my face, that was definitely when I was headed down a darker path. I have a lot of gender dysphoria and facial dysmorphia. It was sort of my way of wearing a mask.”
Contextually, wearing a mask during Covid can create a similar feeling. By covering one’s face the ambiguity allows for an alternative outlook or a feeling of freedom. According to freelance journalist Asmae Fahmy, in an article with Very Well Health, people with body dysmorphia may be feeling similarly, not just folks with gender dysphoria. “Patients with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) related to their faces are finding that face masks ease their symptoms. By neutralizing their environments, face masks allow BDD patients to abandon compulsive coping habits”
Body dysmorphia is a mental health condition in which those affected focus significant time and attention towards perceived flaws in their physical appearance. This condition can cause those affected to avoid social situations, have perfectionist tendencies, and have a heightened sense that others are taking notice in a negative way. The most common features people focus on are face, hair, skin, breast size, muscle tone, and genitalia. According to mayo clinic research, body dysmorphic disorder typically starts in the early teenage years in both young women and men.
According to the Mayo Clinic, gender dysphoria is where someone feels as if they were meant to be a different gender than the one they were born with. This is what led Farrah to transition to a woman.
Facial dysmorphia is a condition where the sufferer often feels negatively about how their face looks. This comes from a warped perception of what they look like and frequently causes anxiety, fear, and frustration, often leading to cosmetic surgery or alterations to how the person might look.
It is thought that Michael Jackson suffered from facial dysmorphia, which led to his cosmetic surgeries.
As she likes to put it, “I almost always knew I was Farrah. It was the 80’s and 90’s in Indiana, and there weren’t a lot of resources to help me at the time.”
Transitioning helped Farrah bring to life what she struggled with for so long: becoming who she truly sees herself as. Removing her face tattoo is just another step Farrah is taking to alter her appearance.
“It’s definitely made me start falling back in love with my face again. No I’m not done yet, and there is a lot more for me to do. But the fact that it’s fading before my eyes gives me more and more confidence about that face every day. One life to live, with different faces along the way.”
Farrah is keeping the rest of her tattoos and only removing the one that covers the middle portion of her face. She started getting tattoos on her 18th birthday and thought it was exhilarating. While she has tattoos all over, she says her favorite tattoos are the tattoos on her eyes (yes, her eyes!), forehead, chest, and top of her head.
Our team is trained in removing tattoos from most parts of the body. However, with Farrah’s face tattoo removal, they opted to take a slightly different strategy. Due to some swelling on her face, our team and Farrah decided to break her treatments up into different sections. Our laser techs treat half of her face in one session, and a few weeks later, treat the other side. This helps with the healing process and comfortability.
Kendra, one of our laser techs who is treating Farrah, comments on working with Farrah:
“I absolutely love working with Farrah. She is fun to talk with, and I’ve learned so much about her tattoos and the surgeries she has gone through. I am so excited and honored to be a part of her recovery process from all of the shame she experienced growing up. I love that I can help make anyone feel better and more confident about who they are!”
Similar to transitioning, laser tattoo removal takes time, and is ultimately about showing the world who you are and becoming who you want to be. For our clients, it’s about moving on from the past, starting over, and sometimes just removing something unwanted. Our team is here to provide support, guidance, and the most effective treatment possible during your tattoo removal journey.
From Farrah: “I really implore people who need help to seek out support groups and trans-friendly doctors. Being around peers who are going through the same thing makes you know you’re not alone and helps you feel more at home in a community.” We compiled a list of resources to help those interested in learning more or getting some support.
Trans Lifeline provides peer to peer trans support in English and Spanish. Trans support provides microgrants, a peer to peer hotline, family member support, and Id change resources just to name a few. Its mission is to build a thriving trans community by providing support and resources.
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.
The Trevor Project also features the Life Guard Workshop for educational support for counselors, social workers, and school administrators focused on LGBTQ suicide prevention.
Transbucket.com provides surgical support for the entire trans community.
Gender Spectrum offers support for teens and their parent. Their approach is to help families and institutions to provide gender-sensitive and inclusive spaces from birth to young adulthood.
Forge provides support and contact information for transgender elders and their loved ones who face a different set of challenges than younger generations.
The Tribe is a wellness community that offers therapy and peer-to-peer support groups for addiction, anxiety, depression, HIV/Aids, LGBTQ, Marriage and Family, OCD, and Teen communities.
The transformations project showcases Removery’s most inspirational transformations. Physical appearance often accompanies internal personal growth and empowerment. Through 2020/2021, we have seen clients take ownership of their goals.
If you want to showcase your story of empowerment or know someone who does, drop us a line.
We’re on a mission to give you the most straightforward, easy and efficient laser tattoo removal experience. Your estimate will be entirely bespoke to your tattoo; the size, the colours, the ink. It won’t take long and afterwards you’ll have a plan to finally get rid of your unwanted tattoo and get back to being you.