May 16, 2021

Tattoos increasing in popularity along with demand to have them removed

“I’ve got the tattoo that your mum tells you not to get, ever.”

Sharon Marsh was on holiday in New Zealand with her boyfriend, Nick, when she impulsively dared him to get a tattoo that said “I love Shaz”.

“It was spontaneous — we were going past a tattoo parlour and I think it was a bit of a test to be honest,” Ms Marsh told Jessica Strutt on ABC Radio Perth.

“Then he said: ‘I’m only getting this if you get it too’.

Ms Marsh ended up with a tattoo that read ‘I love Nick’, referring to the man she met on reality TV show Married At First Sight, but when the relationship ended and she met a new partner she realised the tattoo had to go.

Andrew Clark is a Perth cosmetic physician who removes tattoos with a laser and said Ms Marsh’s story was increasingly common.

“Tattoo removal has gotten really popular,” Dr Clark said.

“We did 60 separate treatments last month compared to about 40 separate treatments for the same month last year.”

“Then 10 years later they’re looking at parenthood, they’re looking at new professions and they feel as though they have changed and the tattoo no longer represents who they are and what they’re feeling.”

Relationship tattoos were commonly removed as were tattoos that did not match the career the person had moved in to.

“If they’ve got tattoos that are visible outside the suit they’re pretty keen to get rid of those, because they feel in the corporate environment that they get judged for having the tattoos on the neck or the hands,” Dr Clark said.

ABC Radio Perth listeners shared numerous stories of tattoo regret:

While most people wanted their tattoo gone altogether, there were some who wanted it removed so they could replace their tattoo with new and improved artwork.

“People love their tattoos, they’re often very beautiful works of art,” Dr Clark said, but sometimes there was one that wasn’t quite right.

“A lot of people who are very happy with most of their tattoos have one from a few years before where the artwork wasn’t particularly good, or the decision of where they put it they now regret and they want to actually improve their art.

But for people who did want them completely gone, Dr Clark said that was possible too over a period of time, and even the notoriously difficult to remove colours of blue and green can be faded out.

“The laser works by damaging the ink particles — it super heats the ink particle causing it to fracture.

“Ink stays in the skin with a tattoo because it’s too big for your immune cells to carry away and after you break up the ink with the laser, the immune cells can carry those ink particles away.”