"Rethink your Ink:" A Fox 28 special report - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

"Rethink your Ink:" A Fox 28 special report


A few years ago - tattoos seemed to be a mainstream trend... even being featured on reality shows like "L-A Ink" and "Inked."  Now, there's a new trend around the country and right here in Michiana.  More and more people are having their tattoos removed!  The numbers, especially the numbers here, are staggering.  I set out to find why people are "Rethinking their ink"...

 "The first tattoo was more impulsive in nature."  Emily Nelson's story isn't unusual.
"It had significant meaning at the time.  It was many years ago."  Even with a pretty fashion forward job as a hair stylist, she says her tattoo no longer fits her personality.  And she thinks in the future, professionally, it may hold her back.  For some time now, she's been "re-thinking her ink."
"There are times, I feel not comfortable with a tattoo on display. It's like, "Alright, what kind of bracelet?  What kind of watch?  What kind of clothing can I wear to cover this?"

 "It has to be over the last 12 - 18 months, really."  Dr. Ronald Downs with the Centre PC says Emily is not alone. In the last year and a half, they've seen a dramatic rise in patients who want to terminate their tatts. "I think there's certainly a segment of this, which is fashion driven, absolutely. "I think the economic impact has really been important as well."  The Centre says a lot of their patients are having their tattoos removed to try to compete in a tough job market.   Many employers don't take kindly to visible ink.  "How much has your tattoo business has gone up?"  "I would say anywhere... somewhere between 60 to 75 percent. 'We're backlogged in terms of getting patients in."

 Registered Nurse Pam Chaney is specially trained behind the laser.  As the laser light is absorbed into the ink, it fragments the ink so the body can remove it naturally."  These days she says spending a lot of time with people struggling to find work, including recent college grads and people trying to move up the corporate ladder.  Chaney says, "We don't have enough time in the day to do all the people who are coming in to have the procedure done."

 Haley Wingard believes that's because there's so much negativity associated with tattoos.  She works at the Centre and has a tattoo on her foot that she has to keep covered up. While she still loves it, she says having it removed has crossed her mind.   Haley says, "Being in a professional environment, it has hindered me somewhat.  I have to keep it covered every day.  So, in the summer, it's a little bit harder."

 And re-thinking your ink isn't cheap.  Removing a tattoo can take anywhere from 6 to 12 treatments which range from 200 to 1,000 dollars per treatment.   Bottom line - even a very small tattoo like Emily's can cost more than a thousand dollars to get rid of.  Still, Emily says it may be small price to pay to ink a better future.  "You know, if I ever want to go into sales or represent a product line or a company.  I think definitely having more of a professional outward appearance will enhance my career in the future."

 We have to add just as many people love their tattoos and will never part with them.  And there's definitely a perception that removal is very painful.  But Emily, the patient we followed, didn't even need a numbing agent.  Doctors say the technology and lasers are better, so the pain isn't as much a factor as it used to be.
 There is something else we want to point out.  After you get a tattoo removed, the skin doesn't look the same as it did prior to getting the ink.  You have to expect some slight pigment changes, as well, but it will be less visible than the tattoo.


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