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On August 5, 2009, I wrote a post about tattoos as a postmodern emblem of choice.  A reader wrote in to say that she knew of people who regretted theirs.

Sure enough, it’s the same in Southern California, where the Dr Tattoff Inc. removal clinics are doing big business. They’re now seeking an IPO (initial public offering)!  There are currently three Dr Tattoff clinics, and the idea is to expand to five different locations outside of California.

Tattoos are cheap to get — and expensive to remove.  That is, if you can find a place that can do it.

Dr Tattoff’s chief executive, John Keefe, recently told the Los Angeles Times:

Tattoos are becoming more common in the workplace and in society. My suspicion is that along with that, the tattoo regret factor will only grow as people get older … A lot of things go out of fashion over time.

One of Dr Tattoff’s customers agrees.  Alexis Amore is having tattoos removed from her wrist and under her navel:

‘I got them when I was really young,’ said the petite 30-year-old. ‘I’m a little bit older and a little bit wiser now. And it’s not very classy to have tattoos on your wrists and stomach.’

So, how much would removal cost? The LA Times says it can range from seven to 10 times the cost of the tattoo (emphasis mine):

Most tattoos run about $100, depending on the size of the piece, the colors used and the skill of the tattooer. It usually costs about $750 to $1,500 to remove one, Keefe said, because it requires five to 10 treatments at about $150 a pop.

In Ms Amore’s case, she will require 10 sittings to remove three tattoos.  Each sitting costs $400, so by the time she’s finished, she will have spent $4,000!

But, it’s not just the money involved in removing a tattoo that’s a factor — there’s also the type of dye in the design:

Each color of ink requires a different laser frequency to match the tattoo’s color and essentially burn it off the skin.

Some colors are tougher to zap out than others, and the deeper the ink is in the skin, the more treatments it will take to remove. Black ink is the easiest to erase, and yellow is the toughest …

Meanwhile, here in the UK, Tattoo Removal Herts (‘Hertfordshire’) offers what they claim is a more effective, less expensive alternative to laser: extraction cream delivered by precision injection machine.  A trained tattoo or makeup artist administers the treatment.  The cream draws the ink pigments to the skin’s surface.  A scab forms.  Once the skin heals, it is said to be restored to its natural state.  You can see photos here.  

Tattoo Removal Herts claims that the cream method is superior to laser because it is less painful, less likely to scar, effective on all pigments and requires fewer treatments.  The company says that, with their method, many tattoos can be removed in four treatments, with a healing period of six weeks between treatments. The ingredients in the cream are common to cosmetic products: zinc oxide, magnesium oxide, calcium oxide, n-propanol and benzoic acid.  You can read more about it here.     

So, if you know of someone who wants a tattoo, especially if they’re young, please ask them to think carefully beforehand.  If they’re female, they might meet Prince Charming or Mr Right someday and want to get rid of the thing.  If they’re male, ask them to give some thought to their future career prospects!   

If it’s your child or a younger sibling, why not schedule a brief consultation at your nearest tattoo removal clinic?  Ask the child or sibling to bring a picture of the tattoo they would like to have done, then the nurse can tell them how many removal sessions it would take, what kind of pain or scabs they will have (if any) and how much it would cost.  Afterward, ask said child or sibling if they have the money in their savings to cover the cost of the procedure.  No removal money, no tat.  Simple as that. 

They’ll cry now and thank you later!

Like Mom always said, ‘Act in haste, repent at leisure’.


For more articles on postmodernism, click here.

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