Actually let me tell you how I told him what his gift was because I was pretty proud of the last minute presentation. I went and bought three gift boxes and put a laser pointer in one, some erasers in another and a fake tattoo sleeve in the last and had him guess what his present was. He got it right away but I still thought I was being pretty clever.
I realize it sounds like it's actually a gift for myself but I didn't care whether or not he had the tattoo forever. The reason I got this for him is he wants to get his knuckles tattooed soon-ish and this was just step one in the process of making that happen.
(before shot, way over-lit because I had my stupid camera at the wrong setting)
Laser tattoo removal is really weird. Basically the lasers can just go through the epidermis like it isn't there, and it bounces off the dermis so it doesn't like, go through your body or anything. Tattoo pigments sit between these layers of your skin and are the only thing that absorbs the heat of the laser. So the pigment gets super hot and turns into crystals. Then your body is all like WHAT ARE THESE HOT CRYSTALS and you get scabs and blisters as your body pushes them out through the epidermis, and the body absorbs some of it as well. And then I guess your liver and kidneys take care of things from there.
We had to wear super cool goggles, and the guy used this sort of reverse vacuum hose that blew out freezing cold air while he lasered it to keep the skin temperature down. Ryan's finger literally took eight seconds to laser. He said he was closing his eyes and taking a deep breath to get into "the zone" (all my tattooed pals know what "the zone" is I'm sure) and then it was done before he was even ready for it to really begin.
He then got some antimicrobial special hydrating gel stuff put on it and a little bandage et voila. Done. He's putting a little ice on it right now and says it's not terrible.
He'll probably need another session or two before it's ready to be tattooed over, but it was really not too big a deal. In his own words: