Dr.Anthony Youn, a well known plastic surgeon in Detroit metropolis, has been happy to share with the online community about some of his experiences he have encountered with people experiencing Tattoo Regret. He has authored a humorous memoir names ‘ In Stitches’ which is about an Asian-American who grows up to become a doctor. Below are some of the recollections he has made about tattoo regrets.
I needed some work to be done in my house for which I interviewed a handyman. What struck me unusual about his appearance was a tattoo in the shape of a tear drop placed at the top of his left cheek. Just out of curiosity I searched online for the significance of such a design and the result left me open mouthed. A tattoo in the shape of a tear drop means that the person has murdered somebody! I didn’t want to take a chance and hired another person for the job. The man could have been completely innocent and have absolutely no clue about the significance of his tattoo.
Nowadays, plastic surgeons and dermatologists have quite a few cases where the people want tattoos removed. The reasons vary and problems with employment is one of them. Surveys have pointed out that tattoo removal has become quite common now.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) conducted a survey with results that the cases of tattoo removal jumped by 43% from 2011 to 2012. In UK, a recent survey reported that about one-third of people were not happy about their tattoos and wanted them removed.
Styles change very often and many tattoos that were the rage a few years ago are no longer in vogue. For instance, large and elaborate designs on the lower back were very fashionable some time back but today they are referred to a ‘tramp stamps’ making people run to have them removed. Other cases of tattoo regret reported are Chinese letters which mean something quite different from what the wearer thinks or the very common barbed wire on the arms of men. Tattoo fads change with changing times and this is true for celebrities as well as common people.
A recent case that springs to the mind is the faux pas made by famous actor Johnny Depp. He had inscribed his girl friend Winona Ryder’s name as a tattoo on his shoulder, a very visible part of his body. After they broke up he promptly changed it to ‘Wino Forever’ from ‘Winona Forever’.
On an impulse Megan Fox had a huge tattoo of Marilyn Monroe inscribed on her arm. Soon she got tired of it and used laser therapy to have it removed. Typos are common in tattoos as some celebrities found out much to their embarrassment. A spelling mistake in Hayden Panettiere’s tattoo made the entire process seem worthless.
Apart from tattoo regret and spending to have them removed after sometime, cases of infection have been reported too. If the ink used to inscribe the tattoos is infected, it can cause nontuberculous Mycobacteria. This was reported in an article which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine recently. Treatment of such kind of infections is not easy and requires antibiotics or removal of the tattoos leaving the skin looking swollen and red for a long time, besides being painful. Some people also have exhibited allergic reactions to tattoos and minor skin infections are very common.
The best and the most effective method used for tattoo removal is laser treatment. If the tattoo is simple, it can be removed easily. The laser rays target the tattoo in such a way that each ray is used for a particular color and the tattoo is removed color by color.
Tattoo removal takes time and even the uncomplicated ones take about three to four sittings. These treatments are usually spaced over a period of 3-4 months and even more. The therapy is quite expensive and may cost several thousand dollars. The cost varies according to the location and size of the tattoo. A large amount of heat is used to remove tattoos and as a result discoloration or scarring of the skin cannot be ruled out. Sometimes a faint outline of the original tattoo remains even after treatment. Most people find the treatment painful and have compared it to being stung by rubber bands.
If you are considering getting a tattoo done using permanent ink, then try and be as careful as you can be to avoid tattoo regret in the future. Get it done from a salon that is licensed and uses only the best quality inks and sterile needles. Ink should be diluted using sterile dilutions only. Be very calculative about the design and location that you choose. Tattoos are quite permanent in nature so don’t get carried away and have a mark of something temporary.
An example of one of my elderly patients will give you a clear picture of tattoo regret. She came to me to remove a tattoo that was on her lower abdomen. The tattoo had been etched when she had been a ripping 20 year old.
So I asked her, “Just how bad is it?”
She pulled down the waist of her pants to reveal the following words, in large lettering: “Dinner is served.”