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Ink regret brings an increase in cosmetic repairs – Beaumont Enterprise

Posted in Tattoo Removal on Mar 14, 2017

Photo: Guiseppe Barranco, Photo Editor

Jazmine Eaglin’s is having her 5 year-old butterfly tattoo removed. Photo taken Thursday, March 02, 2017 Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise

Jazmine Eaglin’s is having her 5 year-old butterfly tattoo removed. Photo taken Thursday, March 02, 2017 Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise

Ink regret brings an increase in cosmetic repairs

Kallie Petty expects to undergo six more painful laser treatments before she is rid of a memento of her soon-to-be ex-husband – a large black-and-red tattoo on her right hip spelling out “Jared.”

“It’s the stupidest thing I ever got. I don’t know why I got it,” said Petty, 30.

Petty, who has been coming

to her sister Karista Reed’s Beaumont clinic, Zapn’Ink Laser Tattoo Removal, since September, is on her fourth treatment. The Buna woman’s tattoo is visibly faded.

Read said she thinks it will be at least another year and a half before “Jared” is gone.

As tattoos have become increasingly commonplace, so have people like Petty, who are choosing to laser off or strategically cover a lamentable decision they don’t want to be reminded of daily. According to a 2016 Harris Poll, almost three in 10 Americans have a tattoo, but almost a fourth of people with a tattoo say they regret at least one, up from 14 percent who said so in 2012.

People with ink remorse discover it can be faster and cheaper to eradicate a relationship than its evidence. The cost of a clean – at least emotional – slate can be thousands of dollars and hours of pain.

Petty said she paid $150 for the tattoo of her husband’s name seven years ago, right after they were married. It will cost about $2,000 to have “Jared” knocked off, said Read.

As Read carefully runs the laser over the curvy script, Petty said it burns like a rubber band continuously snapped against her skin. Before the procedure, Petty put numbing cream on her tattoo, which Read offers to all of her clients.

Petty said she won’t get another tattoo.

“I feel like I change my clothes, my shoes and my hair color often. I don’t want anything permanent,” she said.

Taking it off

As laser technology continues to improve, more people are heading to clinics like Read’s to zap off their ex-partner’s names or previously trendy symbols that have failed the test of time.

The number of people getting a tattoo removed by laser jumped 39 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to an annual report from the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Leading the pack are millennials like Petty, who want to start families or careers or who just don’t want to look at the same mistake for the rest of their lives.

Of the 46,000 tattoos removed in 2015, almost half were from millennials, ages 19 to 35, according to the ASAPS report.

Read, who opened her clinic with her husband two years ago in rented space at Christus Hospital’s outpatient clinic in Beaumont, had two other clients the same morning as Petty. She estimates she sees 25 to 30 clients a week.

Read said she has removed tattoos from former gang members and prisoners and tattoos that have prevented people from enlisting in the army or have hindered professional growth. Far and away her biggest clients – making up half her business -are people who want ex-lovers’ names removed.

Port Arthur resident Jorge Araica said he decided to remove a cross tattoo from his face to sway his kids from making the same mistake.

“When my kids said they wanted it, that’s what made me change my mind,” said Araica, 34.

Araica got the tattoo in his early 20s as a memorial to his grandmother when she was sick and he thought she might not live.

She recovered, but by then he already had the outline of the black cross tattooed from his ear to the corner of his mouth.

Eric Bernstein, a dermatologist and the director of the Ardmore, Pennyslvania-based Laser Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology Centers, said he has seen a “huge increase” in tattoo removal cases in recent years, driven both by a jump in the number of people getting tattoos and recent advancements in tattoo removal technology.

“Lasers have gotten a lot faster and a lot more reliable and can remove a lot more colors,” he said.

Bernstein said in 2012 the Food and Drug Administration approved the PicoSure laser, which is better than its predecessors at removing green, purple, blue and yellow ink.

Before, he could only get those colors to fade, at best.

But technology has a long way to go, Bernstein said. White ink is still difficult to remove, and treatment will take much longer if the tattoo has been covered up by another one, he said.

The laser breaks up the ink particles, which allows the body’s immune system to eliminate them slowly. Some tattoos can require up to a dozen sessions before they are gone, and the sessions must be spaced at least several weeks apart, he said.

Laser removal sessions are not cheap, costing an average of $365 each, according to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery report. As a cosmetic procedure, it is rarely – if ever – covered by insurance.

As a result, some people wait years and pay thousands of dollars before their tattoos are gone.

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Ink regret brings an increase in cosmetic repairs – Beaumont Enterprise

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