With all the talk of the growing popularity of tattoo removal, it may seem like the end of an era–the end of the widespread popularity of tattoos themselves. According to marketwatch.com, the tattoo removal industry has grown by an astounding 440 percent over the last 10 years. But there are two possible contrasting implications from this data. Does this trend of removal mean that tattoos are becoming less socially acceptable, and thus, less popular? Or just the opposite?
The Current Popularity of Tattoos
Although not nearly as accelerated as that of the removal industry, marketwatch shows that the tattoo industry remains strong, growing at about 2.9 percent per year, a 3.4 billion dollar industry in 2014. Growth in the tattoo industry shows that the removal trend does not have to do with lack of enthusiasm for tattoos. In fact, people today are more likely to get tattoos than ever before. Younger generations are embracing the practice, perhaps due in part to an emphasis on personal expression and individuality.
Though there is still a real and perceived stigma that goes along with tattoos in the workplace and ties body art with a lack of professionalism, it is slowly fading as a new generation starts to take over and do more of the hiring. However, in more traditional professions and office settings, tattoos are still generally frowned upon.
Reasons for Increases in Removal
Though tattoo popularity continues to grow, tattoo regret is inevitable for some, as it has been throughout history. There are several factors that may play a role in the massive growth of tattoo removal. These include:
- Safer, more convenient, and less painful removal methods
- More tattoos overall, leading to more people seeking removal
- Desire to update and overwrite tattoos
- Changes in personality and taste over time
- Stretching and fading of tattoos
- Breakups (removal of former lovers’ names)
- Career advancement opportunities
Tattoo removal technology has advanced to the point that process involves minimal risk and discomfort, combined with good success rates and a fairly accessible price point, prompting more and more people to seek the procedure for tattoos that just don’t seem right for them anymore.
The Consequences of Growth
Unfortunately, there is a darker side to the growth of the tattoo removal industry. As demand has grown for laser tattoo removal, some people have seen the opportunity to cash in, even though their background may have nothing to do with medicine or surgery. Unfortunately, the regulations on lasers and laser operators is inconsistent, and may not be strict enough in some regions to avoid unskilled and untrained providers offering treatments that are more likely to cause complications than those performed by a qualified doctors. Therefore, patients must be cautious and research only highly trained providers, such as board certified plastic surgeons or dermatologists.
Thinking About Removal
If you are thinking about getting a tattoo, then you probably think you’ll want it forever. However, the amount of growth from the tattoo industry should be enough evidence to show that you may change your mind in the future. Here are some facts about removal to keep in mind when planning your tattoo, if you want to be safe:
- Color: Black ink is the easiest to remove, yellows, oranges, greens, and whites are the most difficult.
- Size: Smaller tattoos are less likely to stretch and are easier to remove.
- Content: Don’t get your partner’s name tattooed. Life can be unpredictable, and you don’t want to be left with a painful or embarrassing reminder of lost love in the case of a breakup. Likewise, think very carefully about the tattoo and its location. Will you still love it in 10 years, when you have grown and changed? Will it be a hindrance in the workplace?
- Unknown Variables: Your body is a major component in the removal process, and how successful the process is will depend largely on how your body reacts to the procedure.
Expert Care at New England Tattoo Removal
Choosing the right professional to perform your tattoo removal can be confusing and overwhelming. Be cautious about tattoo removal facilities offering cheap prices and few credentials. It is best to choose a board certified plastic surgeon with expertise in laser treatments for the best chances of success. Dr. Stuart Bentkover of Bentkover Plastic Surgery in Worcester(508-363-6500) and Stoneham(617-247-0033) specializes in laser tattoo removal and has helped many patients get great results safely. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bentkover, call either location today.