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The fading craze

Kusum Kanojia, April 16, 2013, DHNS:
With a change of heart, youngsters turn to dermatologists to get rid of their tattoos.

Running parallel to the growing trend of tattooing is the demand of its removal. With the change of heart and mind, many youngsters who have given into the temptation of inking a tattoo, end up visiting dermatologists and cosmetologists to get rid of them as well. Some get simply bored, while others cite professional reasons.

The treatment, however, is neither inexpensive nor foolproof. Tattoo removal is done using a laser technique which leaves scars or shadows on your skin. While blue, black and green coloured tattoos leave lesser marks, red doesn’t go away completely.

Dr Neetu Saini, aesthetic physician from LesCosmedics Skin Clinic, says plenty of people, largely foreigners and youngsters, come to get rid of their tattoos for diverse reasons. “Many girls and boys ink the name of their boyfriend/girlfriend but when they are no longer in the relationship, the first thing that worries them is the tattoo.


Also, people from rural backgrounds have tattoos since childhood. As they land up to work in big companies in urban areas they prefer to get tattoos removed as they don’t want to highlight that they are from rural backgrounds,” informs Dr Saini.

The cost of tattoo removal is actually many times more than getting it inked.

Depending on the size and colour, it can vary anywhere between Rs 1000 to 20,000! Dr Deepali Bhardwaj, Senior Consultant, Dermatology Department, Rockland Hospital, says the technique used to remove tattoo is Q-switched NdYAG laser. “Though the procedure is completely safe, there is a risk of infection if a good quality machine is not used.”

Young boys and girls not only get rid of their lovers’ names but other designs too. “We get requests for removal of tattoos also from boys who want to join the Army and the Civil Services,” says Dr Deepali.

Mike Cowasji, who has been making tattoos for about two decades, says about 10 per cent people want to ink their boyfriend or girlfriend’s name on their body. “We usually discourage people to ink a lover’s name because relationships do not last long these days. I know people who have undergone breakups but can’t get the name removed because of prohibitive cost. It is fine if somebody wants a tattoo in their parent’s or child’s name. We also know people who had it removed and have settled for another design,” he says.

Dermatologists advise the tattoo lovers to avoid red and yellow in their designs as pigmentation of these two colours is not easily removed - not even by laser. “Initially, it used to take four to six weeks to remove a tattoo. But with newer techniques, we get better and faster results,” says Dr Neetu.

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