Tattoo Remorse: More people looking to erase their ink -


Tattoo Remorse: More people looking to erase their ink

A recent study reveals that laser tattoo removal is up more than 30 percent. The main reason cited in driving the demand is employment - in particular, career advancement.

One out of five Americans has a tattoo. And Armando Sandoval is one of them. Sandoval says, "My dad had passed away, so I got 'God Son' written in Arabic to commemorate him. I thought it's beautiful the way it's written.

Now, Armando is studying to become a civil engineer and is anxious to get his tattoo removed. "It's not the fact that I got the tattoo," says Sandoval, "It's where I got it. People have definitely judged me because of my tattoo. The fact that it's in Arabic I think is kind of putting a finger on a wound to certain people. I feel like it might hinder me from employment situations or getting promoted."

Brenda De la Cruz is trying to get into the police academy. "I really want my tattoo removed very badly," says De la Cruz, "I have passed every single test and the only thing that has held me back is my tattoo. They think it might be against police officers and not for police officers."

Brenda is having her tattoo removed by Dr. Alex Kaplan who says many patients come to him concerned about their careers. He's using a laser that's significantly faster than previous versions to remove Brenda's tattoo.

"Typically, tattoos would need 12 to 20 treatments for complete removal," says Kaplan, "The Pico Sure which is the new laser that we have speeds that up to a factor of two to four times for most tattoos."

The way that tattoo removal works is the laser hits the tattoo pigment on the skin and causes it to shatter. And when these particles are small enough, the body can remove them with its own immune cells.

Dr. Kaplan estimates that Brenda will need 5 treatments to completely remove her tattoo.

"The cost of tattoo removal varies," says Kaplan, "It depends on the size of the tattoo most patients pay $300 to $500 per treatment."

This is a medical procedure and you need to be aware of potential risks.

"Possible complications include lightening of the skin. Very rarely, scarring. Or simply, the laser not being effective against that particular ink," says Kaplan.

Dr. Kaplan says when considering laser tattoo removal, you want to find an experienced doctor and ask these questions.

  • How many procedures do they do a month?
  • What kind of equipment do they have?
  • Do they have experience in treating skin conditions?

For Brenda, getting the hand cuffs off will free her to pursue her dream, too, of becoming a police officer. 

There are many tattoo removal kits you can buy online. But the FDA doesn't regulate these products, and warns that some of them contain acid—which has caused permanent skin injuries. So leave tattoo removal to the professional.

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