Keloid to Phoenix

Normally a phoenix is born from ashes, but on Dan Golan’s arm, with a little help from Mika Lazar, the phoenix was born from keloids that he’d had on his arm most of his life. Dan, who lives in Haifa, Israel, has always been interested in tattoos, and like many young people, as a twelve year old had acne on his arms, which ended up leaving him with large keloid scars on his arm that made him quite uncomfortable.

When Dan turned eighteen he got his first tattoo, a small lizard that healed well and he’s still happy with today. While doing his three years of regular service in the Israeli military, four more tattoos followed that first one. Nonetheless, his old keloids from childhood still bothered him quite a bit, and when his military service was finished he started going to doctors to see if they could help get rid of them. They tried some creams and other treatments, but nothing helped, so he started poking around online to see if he could use his love of tattoos to solve the problem. His whole family approved of the idea, thinking a big tattoo — “a medical tattoo!” — would be great.

For his earlier tattoos Dan had gone to lower-end mall studios (“and you know this is not the BEST idea,” he admits), but for this project he knew he’d need someone with a bit more experience and began seeking a qualified tattoo artist in the North of Israel where he lived. Most of those that he contacted were unwilling to tattoo over keloids, but after some repeated recommendations from friends he found himself talking to Mika Lazar (mika-tattoo.appspot.com). Mika had never tattooed over heavy scars like Dan’s before, so she began by tattooing a small line across one of them to make sure the ink held and there was no adverse response. Since there wasn’t and the ink held perfectly, she began the process, which you can see here:

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The choice to do a phoenix came about as they were sitting at the studio tossing ideas back and forth until a phoenix that Mika had drawn up earlier caught Dan’s eye. The tattooing and subsequent healing was no different than any of Dan’s earlier tattoos without keloids in the mix, and the tattoo was completed over three sessions (not including the test line) — the outline, the bird, and then the final touches and background.

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Here’s how it turned out in the end. You can still see the keloids if you know they’re there, but most people won’t notice. Dan’s considering a little more tattooing to mask them entirely, and has not yet decided whether this tattoo is going to stay largely as is, or if it’s the beginning of a sleeve.

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Partial ear reconstruction with keloid removal

Since I seem to be in the mood for posting stuff about ears being chopped up today, let me share another. My friend Gabriele from Max Art Body Piercing in Rome had a client come in that had a large open lobe that had been previously scalpeled (Ludovico’s ears were 2″ last time I remember them) — as you can tell from the distinctive shape, a “U”-loop of flesh hanging down from the ear — and also had a keloid covering a solid area of it’s upper-outside edge that the client wanted excised, complicating the procedure. To make the procedure even more tricky, they wanted to keep the piercing, but alter its shape and reduce its size. To accomplish all of this, Gabriele cut out the body of the keloid and closed the wound, as well as removing part of the lobe “worm” to tighten the ear to the new size. The jewelry used for the healing is glass with silicone o-rings. Glass is an ideal material, but for some people the o-rings can cause irritation (and must be kept clean to avoid a build up of waste — and becoming a home for bacteria), so the client will have to keep an eye on that. The bruising in the third photo went away quickly, the tissue relaxed, and healing is going well so far.

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