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Is laser tattoo removal a solution, or just another scar?

Tattoos are a taboo, or at least they used to be.

Tattoos are a taboo, or at least they used to be.

As a rebellious teen your parents warn you against them and as an adult they may reflect badly in the work place. Now, thanks to celebrities including Angelina Jolie, David Beckham and Megan Fox, a tattoo is more ‘body art’ than ‘ex-gangster.’

But what happens when you can’t stand it anymore and want to have it removed? According to tattoo artist Saira Hunjan, you can never be sure you’ll never regret a tattoo.

“Choose the right artist, style, design and meaning behind it. Only then will you be likely to be proud to wear it forever,” Hunjan said.

The obvious answer is to never cruise into a tattoo parlour on a whim. Getting a tattoo isn’t like getting a haircut. If it goes wrong, you can’t wait until it grows out.

“It’s really important to find an artist with real expertise. The best can have a long waiting list but it’s worth waiting,” advises Hunjan.

An ex-lover’s name is amongst the most common tattoos people want covered or removed. “It’s best to design something that symbolizes the way they feel about that person rather than their name,” says Hunjan.

Laser removal is one of the only options for lamented ink, but how safe is it?

Tattoo removal specialist Dr. Alex Kaplan explains how choosing the wrong clinic or laser can leave your skin permanently damaged.

“Older methods of tattoo removal involved burning, scraping or cutting out the tattoo. Thankfully, today’s Q Switch laser is light years ahead,” he said.

The difficulty in wiping the skin slate clean is that tattoo pigment is hard to remove.

“The pigment injected into the lower layers of skin becomes sealed away by a tough network of collagen fibers, and it isn’t easy to remove without affecting the surrounding tissue,” adds Kaplan.

The Q Switch laser is a rapid, high-energy laser beam applied at different wavelengths -- depending on the tattoo’s colouring; red, black and blue ink are the most receptive colours, green, yellow and white the least. The process is painful, but then again, if you could stand the pain of a tattoo, you should be able to bear this.

Better yet, get a tat you like and stick with it.

“A tattoo should mark a significant memory and emotion in your journey through life,” says Hunjan. “So take your time when choosing.”

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