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Tattoo Removal Demand

by Hanna Scott/KTAR

As the popularity of tattoos grows, so does the need to have them removed.

Shelly Cook with Just Tattoo Removal said removal is becoming almost as popular as getting a tattoo. Half of Americans have tattoos and nearly 60% of those will want to get them removed at some point.

“I get everyone from 18 to about 60,” Cook said.

Names of an ex-boyfriend or an ex-girlfriend are the most common tattoos that people want removed as relationships end.

A common problem for people in their 30s: “They change careers, they can’t have tattoos all over their bodies.”

Women seek tattoo removal more often than men.

“A lot of the guys want to take them off to put new ones on,” Cook said.

“Getting a tattoo off is a lot more work and costs more than getting it on,” said Sean, who works at Artistic Tattoo in Phoenix. He cautions people that they may not want a tattoo forever.

“We try to tell them that getting a tattoo removed with a laser is quite expensive, it’s about $2,000 for the size of a business card,” he said.

Sean particularly discourages people from getting names tattooed on their bodies.

“If you’re getting a boyfriend’s name or a girlfriend’s name, that’s bad mojo,” he said, adding it seems to jinx relationships.

“We’ve had people come in here that have been married for 22 years, get their names tattooed on each other, and six months later, they come back, individually, to get their names covered up.”

Cook said a lot of people just get things that don’t have a lot of staying power.

“Tinker Bell’s really cute when you’re 19, but not so cute when you’re 40,” she said.

Tattoo removal is not only expensive, but unpleasant, Sean said.

“They burn out the ink, they boil it in your skin,” he said. “People say it smells like burnt bacon, basically, when you get it done.”