'My hand was a mess - it was just melted skin pretty much'
A 24-YEAR-OLD Bundaberg man has come out as the second victim of botched laser tattoo removal.
The man, who wished not to be named, wanted a tattoo removed from his hand within a six-month period as he wanted to join the army.
The revelation yesterday's story in the NewsMail about 20-year-old Jackson Halpin, who had similar injuries following his hand tattoo removal.
Both men ended up at VanishInk, the only Bundaberg business licensed to use laser tattoo removal machines.
Owner Helen Blackburn said the issue was all too common.
The 24-year-old yesterday told the NewsMail of the pain he endured during his tattoo removal treatment, before he discovered VanishInk.
"It was just hell - I had third degree burns," he said.
He said the first business he went told him because he only had a limited time for the scars to be removed, they "had to be a bit more harsh on me".
"She was going to use two machines; she lasered the first one then after that she used the IPL machine."
The man said after the business used the intense pulsed light (IPL), a hair removal machine, on his hand, he knew something wasn't right.
"I went to the doctor straight after because my hand was a mess - it was just melted skin pretty much," he said.
"He (the doctor) said I was severely burnt and needed antibiotics."
The man said he then contacted the business and sent photos.
"She said it was all okay, and it was to be expected," he said.
"She said 'It looks good and I thought you would blister badly - it's very thin skin there'."
He told the unlicensed business it was looking worse each day and asked what he should do.
"She said I could put Vaseline on it as it would help lubricate it," he said.
"She said 'It looks good and I hope you're not overdoing it with work'.
"She told me to take some painkillers."
But the man said he was unable to work for five weeks because of the damage and was not able to join the army in August as he had hoped, and wouldn't get the change again until at least January next year.
Concerned for the men and others who could face the same fate, Ms Blackburn contact Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson, who took the issue to Health Minister Cameron Dick.
The minister sent a health officer to Bundaberg who inspected machines and Ms Donaldson said the government would now be cracking down on all businesses offering tattoo removal.
"Officers have been dispatched to establishments which offer these services and (are) checking the equipment used," she said.