Inked and full of regret? According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the number of people undergoing laser tattoo removal increased almost 50 percent from 2011 to 2012. If you're wondering what to do if you hate your tattoo, look no further, I've got news for you. First, you should remember that you are not alone. I mean, we just watched Khloe Kardashian undergo this surgery on her personal Instagram page. Fret not.
Whether you got the name of you ex inked on your hand a la Khloe or Iggy, got a trendy tattoo that is no longer popular, or simply bit the bullet too soon and regret your choice, there is nothing worse than a (mostly) permanent choice you regret. Maybe you chose an inexperienced artist with cheap materials, or maybe you got a great tattoo quality but just dislike the artwork you chose. For example, Megan Fox recently underwent laser tattoo removal for the large portrait of Marilyn Monroe on her arm. Whatever your reasons, there is something you can do to reconcile a bad tattoo.
You should know that you may not be able to fully remove the tattoo if that's the route you decide to take. A tattoo may not be for life, but the decision to get inked is something you'll forever deal with — whether that's forever admiring the work or forever working to keep it covered.
Here are three ways to deal with tattoo regret.
1. Laser Tattoo Removal
Laser tattoo removal is the most popular choice for permanently removing ink. Lasers use intense heat to remove the dyes in your skin, so it can be as painful to remove your tattoo as it was to put it on. Ouch. Laser removal can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the size and location of your tat. Beware: laser removal can result in scarring, and cheap laser removal is a big red flag for after affects. The simpler the tattoo, the easier it is to remove. Still, it could take multiple sessions over multiple weeks to remove it, and even then an outline may remain.
2. Rework It
Did you get a tramp stamp of a blue dolphin during Spring Break '05? Well, there's a solution for that for all true tattoo lovers: You could cover up the piece with an even better tattoo. This time, do your research. Your studio and artist of choice should be licensed by your state's department of health and local county.
Any tattoo parlor and artist worth their weight in ink will have these licenses listed on their website and displayed in their shop. These licenses represent a clean and sterile salon, along with the proper cleaning and sterilization of all the shop's materials like ink and needles. This means if someone is doing it out of their apartment, that's a strong sign they haven't been inspected by a health department and likely using unsterile materials like needles and ink. Play it safe and go to a licensed shop. Your state's website for department of health will likely have a list of licensed shops in your state.
3. Make Peace
This probably isn't your favorite answer, but it's totally possible to make peace with the ink you have. The pastor at my wedding had "Smirnoff" tattooed in black script from elbow to wrist. A nickname earned in his youth doesn't exactly represent him today — if at all. I venture to guess he chose to keep it as a reminder of his past life and reflection of transformation — something I not only get, but dig. Why can't your tattoo represent something similar? Maybe you got a tattoo that was meaningful at the time, but you think it has to go because it no longer represents you. It certainly represents something you once cared about, maybe something that changed you forever and for the better. That's worth still celebrating.
If you don't have the funds to remove or cover your tattoo, find new meaning in it. Maybe that's about change, maybe it's about humor. Own it.