Tattoo removal builds business based on regret

Carmen Vanderheiden uses the laser to rid a client of an unwanted tattoo.

Carmen Vanderheiden has been running a tattoo removal business in Boston since December, and in that time, she has zapped away lots of ink on the lower backs of Hub dwellers.

“The old tramp stamp — it was coined that name — I see a lot of those. A lot of names, too,” she said, gearing up to meet with a client at her Newbury Street headquarters. 

Vanderheiden, owner of Tataway, has one of the only advanced laser devices specific to tattoo removal in the Boston area, she said.

The “PhotoAcoustic Technology” which penetrates the skin and targets each ink color with specific wavelengths, causes tattoos to fade.

It also lets Vanderheiden attack the once permanent markings in several sessions with less scarring or pigment changes than typical machines leave behind.

But it doesn’t mean it isn’t painful.

“Oh my God,” said a 20-year-old female client, who didn’t want to give her name. “It feels like splats of oil.”

Laying on her stomach, the client let out shrill chirps as the laser, which sounds like a bug-zapper, danced along her lower back where the name of an ex-lover was scrawled in perfect cursive.

“I got it a year ago,” she said, gripping the sides of her chair. “He kind of talked me into it.”

The client’s advice? Never get a tattoo you may regret.

“It’s not worth it,” she said, after her first 10-minute session with Vanderheiden.

Artist Markus Anacki, who works at Kaleidoscope Tattoo in Cambridge, agreed.

According to Anacki, more people come to the shop than ever for coverup tattoos after getting homemade ones blotted in their skin.

“When you tell someone you can’t cover it and it has to be lasered, they think it’ll cost a fortune, so a lot of people will either live with a tattoo they don’t like, or try and do a coverup,” he said.

When it comes to getting something permanently etched in your skin, you may want to think hard before the needle hits your body.

According to Anacki, people shouldn’t be getting tattooed with the notion they can one day remove it because technology is advancing.

“Getting a tattoo, that’s the whole point, you should know what you’re getting into and get something you know you won’t mind having on you for the rest of your life,” he said.

According to Anacki, specialized ink that breaks up easier under lasers was introduced years back, but many artists were against it because it defeated the purpose of the art form.

“As an artist, I hope people don’t think that way,” he said.


Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.


MAP: New York City street closures, September 19,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on September 19, 20 and 21. There will be many streets and…


MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…


NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…


'Outlander' Season 1, Episode 7: 'The Wedding'

Claire and Jamie are man and wife!!! Like, ALL THE WAY, if you know what we mean. (Twice.)


Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…


Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…


Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.


Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.


Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.


Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.


Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.


A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.


3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.


Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…


Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…