Tattoo Temptations

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

Body art is created when a color pigment is injected into small holes in one layer of the skin. It's a popular trend especially among 18 to 25-year-olds.

But many who made the decision to get their tattoos do not have the same views now. But what options are out there? 23 News reporter checked out how to get rid of those tattoo temptations.

It's estimated that 20 million Americans have tattoos, and out of that number many say it doesn't fit their image. For some it's in order to get a job, others a way to get something new.

There's about five different ways to remove tattoos all with different effects. We went along for what's considered to be the best way.

We start where it all starts, at a tattoo parlor, Dreamline Tattoos.

"The demand is always there (for tattoos). Many are always looking for a way to express themselves," said Thom Adams, Dreamline Tattoos.

But after the years go on some wish they would have stayed away.

"I regret getting it at this time. If I had to do it over, 20 years ago I wouldn't get a tattoo on my stomach," said Josie Cash, who was getting a tattoo removed.

"Trends change, people change, and the way you feel about things change," Cash said.

There are several different choices offered to get rid of this form of expression. Graphic excision is where the tattoo is cut from the skin. There's dermabrasion where a solution freezes the area and the tattoo is sanded off. And for those who want to keep their tattoo, you can cover them up.

"I probably cover up old tattoos at least three to four times a week," Adams said. "I do try to recommend covering up, but if that's not what they want then I recommend laser surgery center."

Josie Cash did just that. After searching around in Rockford, Cash turned to Ritacca Laser Surgery Center.

"Mostly we see the ones who got tattoo at early age and now they are working for a big company," said Dr. Daniel Ritacca, M.D., Ritacca Laser Center.

"We have three different lasers depending on color," Dr. Ritacca said. "They actually go under the skin without touching skin and explode the ink and body gobbles it up."

This is Cash's second laser treatment. First they numb around side of tattoo. Then use nanosecond light beams.

"The darker the color the more it picks up the light, it absorbs the lighter isn't able to absorb energy," said Dr. Ritacca.

And the feeling???

"It's painful, it's probably 10 times more painful than getting it put on," said Cash. "(It) feels like burn, best described as splattered bacon grease."

Cash still has one to two more treatments.

"It's worth it, if that's what your goal is and that's what you want," Cash said.

Cash says she still has two more tattoos she wants to get rid of before she feels she has her youthful image back.

Locally there are dermatologists that can do the laser surgery--but the cost can be more since they have to rent the laser equipment. Usually the procedure ranges anywhere from $200 to $400 per treatment at the laser surgery centers.

The after effects can also vary and typically you have to wait six months between treatments.


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