Special Report: Tattoo removal
Before 27-year-old Nicole Perrault walks down the aisle she's marching into her doctor's office to get the tattoo removed from her shoulder. She says, "I'm getting married in July and I have a strapless dress. So for the wedding I didn't want the tattoo on my back."
Today she's getting her eighth laser treatment to get rid of what she calls a quick spring break decision. "It just doesn't fit my lifestyle anymore," explains Nicole.
Nicole isn't alone, last year more than 50,000 Americans had laser tattoo removal.
Dermatological surgeon Richard Eisen says, "Usually when people get tattoos put on they get it done at a time when they're either under the influence or they're pressured by peers it's usually not a decision that people think about for a long time."
A Harris poll finds that nearly 50 percent of 20-somethings have tattoos. And that 17 percent of Americans with tattoos regret the body art. Many opt for laser surgery, which works by breaking up ink in the skin layer by layer. Dr. Eisen says, "as you get down into those deeper layers you see fading of the tattoo."
It's taken Kenneth Presley years of treatments to fully remove one tattoo. He says, "As you grow older you find it's more of an embarrassment than anything."
Dr. Eisen says that improving technology, including the Alexlazr he uses is making the procedure more popular. But he warns, "I think people are getting a false impression that they can have the tattoo removed very quickly."
And sometimes you can't remove all the ink. But Nicole is hopeful. She says, "I would think by the time my wedding comes that it will be 100 percent gone.
Each treatment costs between $150-$600 and it can take anywhere from eight to 10 treatments for a complete removal.
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