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Old 06-11-2013, 01:46 PM   #1
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Tattoo Removal

So I recently came across this article about laser tattoo removal. I never knew much about it, just had heard that it was expensive and painful and relatively ineffective. I also for some reason had it in my head that it caused fairly severe scarring, that may have been worse than the original tattoo itself. In short, I thought it wasn't a viable option with all things considered. The article gives an overview of how tattoos are applied and how the removal process works.

Tattoos, as we all know, are generally regarded as permanent. Tattoo ink consists of a pigment that is suspended in a carrier. The pigments are typically a metal salt (such as Iron Oxide (rust) that is used in red inks), but can also be made of plastics or vegetable dyes. Common carrier solutions include water and ethanol. The pigments are applied by rapidly piercing the skin with a needle and depositing the pigment particles into the epidermis. As these microscopic puncture wounds heal, the ink is left behind in the epidermis. Over time, the pigments fade with sun exposure as well as natural cell replacement. Some colors even fade completely out of sight, but others require medical treatment to get rid of.

Laser tattoo removal is a much higher tech process than I thought. I didn’t really know what it was, just assumed it more or less burned the skin to replace the tattooed area with scar tissue. While it does do a little damage to the skin, it is almost never permanent and the process is highly effective. The laser works by penetrating the skin and breaking up the pigment particles until they can be carried away and disposed of by the immune system. The laser breaks up the ink in two ways, both involving heat. One way is by using the laser light to create sound waves. The light, when absorbed by skin, radiates in the form of sound waves. The sonic pulses can break up the particles of pigment. The second way laser tattoo removal works is by hitting the particles directly with wavelengths they absorb. The absorption creates enough heat to break apart the pigment. It is also for this reason that different lasers must be used to remove different colors of tattoos. For example, a red tattoo cannot be removed with a Ruby laser that emits red light, because red pigments reflect red light, making the absorption process ineffective. Certain colors are more difficult to remove than others, which should be a consideration in choosing a tattoo.

I think advancements in laser tattoo removal have had a positive impact on society as a whole. There has always been a stigma associated with tattoos as a whole. People tend to view tattoos negatively and associate lower class miscreants with them. Although the laser removal process doesn’t do a whole lot to dispel that stigma, it does help people make the decision to get a tattoo. Knowing it isn’t as permanent as once thought eases somebody’s conscience before placing a tattoo on their body. It frees them up to try it out, knowing there is an option to get rid of it later on. This freedom is a good thing, as it is always nice to have a reset button.

So, has anyone here had any tattoos removed? Anyone considering it? I'd like to hear anyone's stories or opinions on it.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:54 PM   #2
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I don't have any tattoos as of now. I will eventually get one I just haven't found anything I wanted enough to permanently mark my body with. Honestly, till I read this I though tattoo removal didn't really work that well. You never know what you can find on this damn forum.

Sorry I can't chime in with anything more to offer.
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:02 PM   #3
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Link to the article:

http://www.newlookhouston.com/TattooRemoval.html
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:09 PM   #4
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Most tattoos arent fully removed, as you mentioned. scarring is usually left behind, but better than a tattoo to some people i guess. my mom actually works at a laser clinic and has numerous people wanting theirs removed. most people with tattoos get a negative stereotype depending on how many/content/placement etc. Most of them want them removed to more easily get a job and look more presentable to a boss/interviewer. so i would agree it has a positive effect societally
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:26 PM   #5
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On one hand I feel if you get a tattoo make sure it's what you want and where you want forever. On the other people make mistakes and life may take you in a different direction than you once thought. Like construction to start tattoos are fine and not really a problem. Get to the point where you open your own business or become a management person/sales and that tattoo on your face could cause you problems. I don't have personal experience with this but have a lot of ppl I know that have been turned down advancement due to tattoos.
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:28 PM   #6
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I am considering getting a firefighting tattoo mostly because that is one thing that will never change with me. However knowing that if you decide you don't like something you got is removable is good.
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MowTaco View Post
....I think advancements in laser tattoo removal have had a positive impact on society as a whole. There has always been a stigma associated with tattoos as a whole....
I do agree with this quoted statement to some extent, but the flip side of the coin is also to be considered. The option to be able to remove a tattoo might make it easier for people to decide to go ahead and get that tattoo that they always wanted but were not sure how it would affect them in the future. Now it is easy; just get a tattoo and if you don't like it in the future, have it removed. That will cause more people to get tattoos, and therefore have a negative impact on society (from the stereotypical viewpoint that tattoos are negative...)
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:15 AM   #8
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^Good point. I kinda discussed the idea that the ease of removal encourages more tattoos. BUT... maybe if more people have them, they won't be looked upon as negatively anymore??
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:23 AM   #9
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My girl friend's first tatoo had a spelling error, but rather than have it removed she opted to get it covered up with another tatoo. So far she has had 2 sessions and needs one more for the new tatoo to fully cover the old one.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MowTaco View Post
^Good point. I kinda discussed the idea that the ease of removal encourages more tattoos. BUT... maybe if more people have them, they won't be looked upon as negatively anymore??
I think that's already a societal norm, especially in places with a cultural history of tattooing like Hawaii. However, they are still looked down upon in some occupations for the aforementioned reasons. Even in the military where tattoos have been somewhat synonymous with service they are really starting to get away from them to present a more positive image. That being said each service has their own policies in place, I've seen Army guys tagged from neck to finger tip but the Coast Guard won't allow anything to show over the collar (and even that is pushing the limits) down to the upper portion of the wrist bone and a ring tattoo on one finger per hand. Those CG regulations just came into being 2 or 3 years ago after a long stint with stricter limits on placement started in the late 90s I believe.

I think it provides a positive service and even some military clinics offer it free to service members who have moved on/can't have a certain tattoo/whatever.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:43 AM   #11
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I've been saying for the past couple years that 10 years from now tattoo shops will offer removal as well as tattoos. Permanent makeup tattoos have gone mainstream so I figure its only a matter of time before they add removal to the menu.

I've got a couple large tribal tattoos on my upper arms/shoulders that weren't done as well as I'd like. Ill most likely have them covered up instead of removed. My job is working with the public and I see and hear daily what a neck tattoo can do to your job prospects. Things might be different elsewhere but here in the belt buckle of the Bible Belt, tattoos are still frowned upon.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:54 AM   #12
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This is my input, and prepare for it to not be in any order and very confusing.

I believe there are people out there who will and those who will not regret their tattoos(even those butterfly tramp stamps) one day. Im 20, tattooed from the neck down almost every inch of my body minus my stomach because I have a beer gut I'm slowly attempting to lose, and my hands. I get told numerous times a week from random people, not family or friends, random people, about how I'm going to get no where in life, I deal drugs, I'm going to regret all of those tattoos one day. For the record, I will get "somewhere" in life. I have never done drugs. For my age I have a well paying job better then a lot of 20 year olds in my town and pay my own bills and rent. The career I eventually am going to wind up in, in a few years due to health at the moment, is an LEO. Here, in my town, every LEO has tattoos, below the elbow, above the elbow, one even has his hand tattooed, and you can't cover hand tattoos, except makeup,etc. The police department here seems to be one of the few careers in my town that accepts tattoos and as long as you're a damn good cop they dont care whats on your body, so be it not anything illegal etc. So, if I wind up as a police officer in two years, am I still a drug dealing going to get no where in life person? You tell me.

As far as tattoo removal, it's not for me, because as I said earlier, I believe there are people who may or may not regret their tattoos. I feel I will NOT regret mine. I MAY regret the artist who did it, should have had it done better etc, but no, I love every single one of my tattoos and I don't believe tattoos have to have a religious or special ties to your family meaning. I love roses, I have roses tattooed all on me, doesn't mean im going to regret them. Me being heavily tattooed I feel if the time came where I "may" regret a tattoo, I wouldn't have it removed, I could have it covered. Now all you people are going to say 'gotta have it lasered a little to have it covered'. No, you don't. Every tattoo can be covered its just a matter of what you do to it and what colors the tattoo currently has, etc. Now, sure, getting lasered might make it easier on your artist, and if thats what you want to do, go for it.

if you have even .0000000001% thought in your head that you may one day regret that playboy tattoo on your back, dont get it, because you will. You have to have the mindset for your whole life that you just wont regret them. I know I won't regret mine, I love art, I love everything on me, it's not like I just picked a face off the wall, all of mine have thought and detail put into them by me, and no one else, so what I have is what I want.

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Old 06-20-2013, 12:16 PM   #13
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Thanks for everyone's opinions... just printed this off so feel free to BS away. I'll update when I hear back about the contest
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