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Tattoo Removal (It Seemed like a Good Idea at the Time)

Tattoo Removal (It Seemed like a Good Idea at the Time)

When Johnny Depp and Winona Rider parted ways, Depp reworked one tat to read Wino Forever. When Geena Davis split with first husband Renny, her tattoo redo showed up as the Denny's logo. But if you’re trying to completely remove your old tattoo, fasten your seatbelt. Mark Wahlberg decided to set an example for his two oldest kids and brought them along to his more than 20 laser-powered tat-removal sessions. "It's like getting burned with hot bacon grease... Hopefully that will deter them."

The number of tattoo-removals in the U.S. hit 100,000 in 2011, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, up from around 86,000 in 2010. And every year should see thousands more. That comes as no surprise; a Harris poll found 1 in 8 American adults with tattoos regrets getting one. As someone once said "A tattoo is a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling."

Related: Here's what to consider before having a tattoo removed.

The most popular method of tattoo removal uses lasers (dermabrasion and surgery are the other alternatives). That’s because in the right hands (a board certified, licensed dermatologist or plastic surgeon) colors can be zapped away using various laser densities and effective after-treatment minimizes scarring.

So our advice? Think (twice) before you ink. It seems the most common problem associated with having toxins etched into your skin is...how to get rid of them. You might want to consider veggie dye ink. Your tattoo artist may have to special order it for you, but it can be removed much less painfully.

Related: Find out more about tattoo safety and removal.

Medically reviewed in May 2019.

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