Gang ties start young—often during late childhood, and many kids find themselves hanging out on the streets instead of focusing on the future. Gang activity can snowball quickly for youth, and can lead to a revolving door of criminal offenses, youth detention, jail time, and release, that often spirals into a cycle that never stops. Fortunately, however, this is not true for all people who get caught up in the gang mentality. Some manage to break out and build a better life. This is not without its challenges, of course, and one challenge is often the tattoos that remain from their history in a gang.
Tattoos that Hold People Back
Gang membership is considered to be a lifelong commitment, and turning one’s back on the group can mean threats, harassment, and worse. One of the ways gangs identify their members is with tattoos. Specific tattoos signify membership for each group and can have other meanings as well, symbolizing a member’s crimes.
In addition to making it very difficult to break free from the gang, these tattoos can hold people back socially and economically. Some people find excessive tattoos discomfiting, and employers are less likely to hire people with lots of tattoos, particularly if they are crime-related.
A Fresh Start with Tattoo Removal
A tattoo may be considered permanent, but fortunately there is now a safe and effective option for removing, or at least fading, unwanted tattoos. Laser tattoo removal has seen remarkable growth in the last few years, among people of all backgrounds and demographics
The treatment works by breaking up the tattoo pigment in the skin with a special laser. This takes only a few minutes, and discomfort is fairly minimal—many people think the sensation feels like a series of rubber band snaps. Following the treatment, the body breaks down the pigment and disposes of it over the course of several weeks. A series of treatments is needed to achieve good results, but the number of sessions required varies widely depending on the tattoo.
Tattoo removal is such an important part of starting over for former gang members that resources have emerged in the last few years to help people get the services they need. There are non-profits that offer tattoo removal services to ex-gang members that meet specific requirements and are proving to be serious about keeping their lives on track. Most of these programs require enrollment in school or verified employment, as well as age requirements and a clean criminal record moving forward.
Improved Job Prospects, Improved Perspectives
Getting rid of gang tattoos can certainly help someone move on with their life and aid with finding job prospects. But tattoo removal can also give ex-gang members a fresh perspective on life. With the tattoos gone, the physical reminders of their past life have been removed, and they no longer need to be reminded of the gang every time they look in the mirror. That is a huge gift to someone trying to build a better life.
The Importance of a Skilled Laser Provider
No matter what the reason is for seeking tattoo removal, a successful procedure depends on the skill of a highly trained specialist, preferably a plastic surgeon. If you are considering tattoo removal, you need to be aware that the licensing procedures for laser technicians vary widely in different regions, and it is generally best to play it safe and choose a board certified plastic surgeon.
If you are looking for assistance with tattoo removal of any kind, then consider a visit to laser and tattoo removal expert Dr. Stuart Bentkover. Dr. Bentkover is known as an authority on tattoo removal and has the skill to help patients achieve consistent results in a safe manner. If you would like to speak with Dr. Bentkover about your tattoo removal needs, call Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA to schedule your consultation today.