Regretful Decisions

by Hal Mooz 2. June 2014 10:57

No Pain, No Gain, as Tattoo Regret Fueling Laser Removals

Jimmy McManus slides up his shorts and points a laser at his inked thigh to show how he can blast off unwanted tattoos.

The part-time electrician began offering the service eight months ago to address a byproduct of the global body art boom: tattoo regret. Removing the skin designs has become a roaring trade, with one in seven people expressing misgivings -- some enough to spend thousands of dollars for several searing laser sessions.

One in five U.S. adults has a tattoo, according to a 2012 online survey of 2,016 Americans. That’s up from 16 percent in 2008. Many may end up changing their mind. Thirty-seven percent of people with inked skin regretted it after about 14 years, according to a survey of 580 people.

“Tattoo-regret seems to take about 10 years to set in and, since tattoos were widely popular in the early 2000s and still are today, my suspicion is that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg,” said Will Kirby, a dermatologist and medical director at Dr. Tattoff Inc., which runs a 10-store chain of tattoo-removal centers in the U.S.

Stephanie, who works in Melbourne’s film industry, expects to pay about A$2,000 ($1,850) for as many as 10 laser sessions to remove an orange-sized tattoo around her navel. The red, yellow and black stylized sun cost her about A$150 17 years ago.

“I am happy to spend anything to get rid of it because I have to look at it every day and it makes me cringe,” said the 35-year-old, who asked not to be identified by her last name to protect her privacy. “I don’t really want a tattoo. And I don’t have the stomach I had when I was 18.”


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About Hal Mooz

Engineer, Project Manager, Entrepreneur, Author, Trainer, Lecturer, Thought Leader, Consultant

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