Top 7 Reasons Why Tattoos Are Removed, and Why You Shouldn’t Get One

Think before you ink. (Image:Michael J. Ermarth/Wikimedia Commons)
Think before you ink. (Image:Michael J. Ermarth/Wikimedia Commons)

Around 40 percent of both Gen X and Gen Y have a tattoo—maybe more than one. Whereas in the over 40 age bracket, less than 10 percent have a tattoo. This shows that big changes in fashion and mindset happened within 10-20 short years.

In reality, all these tattoos mean that not only tattoo artists are making a good living, tattoo removal clinics are also doing some good business, with approximately one in three tattoos being removed. Not to mention another third of people admitting to harboring regrets about their “skin-art.”

Tattoos are about the riskiest fashion statement ever—they take a lifetime of commitment!


How will this young man feel about his super hero 10 years from now? (Image: Sarah Mirk/flickr)

Top 7 reasons why people remove their tattoos

  1. Bad judgement. The name or symbol of the tattoo is no longer a person or message you want to be associated with.
  2. Bad taste. The image is distasteful and dated, making you look foolish.
  3. Bad image. Known as “tough stickers,” tattoos can give you a negative or hard image. In a professional environment, it gives a wrong impression of you; people wonder about your past.
  4. Bad branding. Your tattoo is too obvious, and instead of people seeing you, the tattoo takes all the attention and focus. You feel marked.
  5. Bad memories. Your tattoo no longer resonates with you—you’ve moved on, yet your tattoo has not. You feel as if the tattoo is a reminder of the past that never leaves.
  6. Bad message. You don’t want your children seeing your tattoo as you are a role model, and you don’t wish for them to copy your bad decision.
  7. Bad trouble. Mom and dad got really mad and made you remove it.

The bare-lasered truth

Tattoos are a lifetime commitment—everyone’s aware of that. But as a developing human being, you are bound to be in a different head-space in 5-10 years from now, and you can never predict what that will be.

Laser tattoo removal costs upward of a thousand dollars, with US$7,000 being the national average per tattoo.

Blood is pulled to the surface of the skin after a laser treatment (Image:meaghanw018/flickr)

Blood is pulled to the surface of the skin after a laser treatment. (Image: meaghanw018/flickr)

Lasers do not often completely remove the tattoo. A light shadow of the image can often still be seen. It takes several sessions over 1-2 years to remove the tattoo as well as can be. In some cases, scaring and hyper-pigmentation can also occur.

… and it really stings! It feels like someone flicking a rubber band really hard against your skin repeatedly, then the burning sensation of a bad sunburn—not comfortable!

A perspective from experience

I got a tattoo when I was in my late teens—typical story. It was not ghastly. In fact, it was reasonably tasteful—in my mind. But like thousands of others, in my late 20s, I decided to laser it off.

For me, the reason I wanted it gone was because I had a feeling I just couldn’t shake: I wanted to reclaim the simple image I was born with and look natural.

To me, unmarked skin appears pure, true, and beautiful—why would you want to alter what is already perfect?

I see young adults with fresh glowing skin and wonder how they think strong black tattoos are an improvement to their image. Maybe it’s just a perspective that comes with age?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate tattoos, or judge those who have them. My husband has a 3/4 sleeve. In retrospect, however, I could have waited a few more years, decided not to get ink, and spent that US$2,000 for laser removal on university fees instead!

How does my tattoo look now? Like a shadow, it will never leave. My simple message: Think before you ink!

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