Getting Inked? Might Want to Think Twice

While the current job market may be slow, times have never been better for the tattoo removal industry.

ABC News released a report last week which found that laster tattoo removal had increased 32 percent over the past year, with patients citing “unemployment as a main reason for the treatment.”

According to the report, patients felt that their body art made them look unprofessional, and ultimately hindered potential employment.

“I would say that definitely there has been an increase in tattoo removal recently,” said Dr. Michael Ehrenreich, a dermatologist who also performs tattoo removal procedures at SOMA Skin and Laser in Millburn. “We’ve seen a spike in internet searches, as well as in business.”

Dr. Ehrenreich said the office sees about 40 or 50 patients a month for tattoo removal, an average of two per day. He feels that new, more efficient methods for laser removal, such as the “R20” method, also account for the increase in patients. R20 consists of several laser treatments, separated by 20 minute intervals. Recent studies have shown that it leads to quicker clearing.

Of course, it’s hard to believe that any method of laser removal is a walk in the park. There could be blistering, pain and bleeding. Depending on the size and color of the tattoo, as well as the patient’s skin type and any scarring, the process takes about 10 treatments on average.

It’s not cheap, either. A one by one inch tattoo that takes 10 sessions to remove could be $1,000, said Dr. Ehrenreich. But it’s not uncommon to spend $8,000.

Employers can enforce guidelines and dresscodes that may or may not include covering up body art. Starbucks, for example, strives for a neat, uniform appearance among their baristas, and asks their employees to remove piercings and cover tattoos while at work.  Barnes and Noble, on the other hand, allows tattooed booksellers to show their ink.

Kat Kenny, a recent graduate from Montclair State who majored in English, isn’t swayed by the tattoo removal trend. Kenny just got her fourth tattoo on her right arm – “a gorgeous photo-replica of two owls on a branch.”

“Since my tattoos aren’t in obvious places like my hands, chest or face, it hasn’t really occurred to me that they could affect my chances of employment,” said Kenny, who currently works at a European Wax Center.

Kenny noted that the “beauty industry”, which includes salons and spas, is a particularly accepting environment when it comes to hiring employees with ink.

“Nearly every man or woman I know working in salons has at least one visible tattoo, and more often than not are fully inked themselves,” said Kenny.

“Personally, I think the reason that many unemployed grads are getting them removed is because they got stupid things inked on them when they were in high school and college, like names, nicknames, naked women or other atrocities, and are just now realizing in their “wizened” maturity that they made a dreadful mistake,” said Kenny. “Not to mention that the job market in the state it’s in isn’t exactly brimming with opportunities available to grads, tattooed or not.”



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  1. To each his or her own.

    I always figured I’d get one at some point but never did.

    I do think 99% of the people who do it, at least of the exposed loud variety, must seriously regret it. Everytime I see a beautiful young woman well dressed heading to a professional job or at a wedding, and I then you see the Disney tattoo covering the back or exposed leg, I definately wince. It just looks stupid and immature. Not to mention thoroughly unnatractive.

    Tattoos didn’t make Angelina Jolie more attractive. They are certaion not going to work for any of us.

  2. It’s amazing to me how many members at LA Fitness in Clifton have multiple tattoos, often very upsetting in design (those gangbanger and white supremacist ones are particularly jarring) and very public. Nothing to me quite says that one has pretty much given up on life or the chance of fitting into “polite society” like a tattoo which sets well above the neck line when one is wearing a dress shirt and tie or wedding dress.

    And I always wonder why no one counsels such folks pre-tattooing that this may well prove a regrettable mistake down the line.

    Think, too, of the tattooed arm of the central figure of the HBO series “Girls.” It simply looks vastly silly there. It is not at all “hip.” We have come a long way from a modest,demurely placed butterfly tattoo on one’s ankle. Not necessarily by way of progression, either.

  3. I’m with cathar on this one. Cute, small discreet is acceptable, “HEY LOOK AT MY TATTOO, I’M COOL, RIGHT” is too much.

    The prof though, allows his beautiful brown skin shine free, without mar.

  4. It was a beautiful spring day, herb and the boys in the dorm started cock-tailing early. Mid-bender we thought it was a good idea, he still bears the mark.

  5. I understand, herb. I got my ink in the navy, where it was sort of expected.

    But you must have a hell of a time explaining that “Nixon-Agnew” tat at the beach!

  6. Nixon -Agnew !!!!! Geeze, I don’t think they would let a 4 year old get a ink. I didn’t even make Reagan/ Bush “1”.

  7. Thik about this: what will that tat look like when you’re 60 years old? Ever see someone that age with a tattoo? not attractive. Unless you’re a retiree marine or sailor.

  8. Old folks with tattoos are way cooler-looking than old folks with tattoos.

    Also, old folks without tattoos are definitely cooler-looking than old folks with tattoos.

    Tattoos – not everyone’s got’ em.

    But opinions? Well, you know…

  9. I personally don’t care how one adorns his or her bod. That being said, I don’t think a lot of young people who get the HUGE tattoos fully understand what the word “permanent” means. What you find cool at 25, you may not find so cool at 50.

    Re: the show “Girls.” This show is a train wreck. I do find myself watching it to see what happens next but really, there is not one sympathetic character on the show. There’s nobody who I’m rooting for, they just all seem like such losers, to me anyway.

  10. I once met an old boyfriend’s wife who introduced herself as, “I married the man who has your name on his arm”. I never knew it till she told me at our 25th HS reunion.

  11. IMO, tattos make one look cheap. And bring to mind the “Plane, Boss” guy from Fantasy Island.

  12. So, getting that Harley Davidson logo across my forehead might be a bad idea? To each ther own, but I can’t help but think of their employment prospects and lack of foresight every time I see someone that looks like a walking comic book. Also the big stretched out ear lobe look is guaranteed to be a regrettable fashion choice. It’s difficult to explain to a potential employer why you’ve chosen to take your fashion cues from the cultures of New Guinea.

  13. Mrs. Martta, I think this week’s ‘Girls” hit its absolute nadir (so far, that is) with the scene where the quondam boyfriend peed on the (nominal) heroine in the shower. He is truly creepy-looking. But, amazingly, HBO has renewed this show, despite its sudden descent into urolagnia.

    And for the staunch defenders of tats out there, I suggest anyone who feels this way simply head out to LA Fitness for a few hours to observe. If you do not promptly feel surrounded by wretched, thoroughly tacky-seeming excess, then there’s no aesthetic hope for you whatsoever.

  14. Forget LA Fitness, just head down to the Seaside Boardwalk for a couple of hours.

    Urolagnia…now that’a a new word for my vocabulary! 🙂

  15. Mrs. Martta, back in the 60’s I sometimes used to feel that some people purposely “uglified” themselves before strolling out of a day. I get that same feeling every time I’m on the Seaside Heights boardwalk, save that the scents of incense and patchouli have been replaced by Axe, spilled beer and stale pizza.

    And I even think that the most crud-laden of Seaside’s summertime denizens are worse-looking than any ambulatory excesses of the 60’s. But they are comparatively too dumb and unaware to realize they are thus making a pitiful sociological statement, unlike folks back in the 60’s who clearly acted with some purpose.

  16. I rented a house in Seaside Heights in 1999, that week my wife and I took my two nephews for a week at the ‘beach’. They grew up in Wheatridge, CO and hadn’t yet been to the ocean. I was messing with my wife, telling her I was going to get a tattoo during our vacation and she was like, “Don’t bother coming back to the house if you do..”.

    So a couple of days in, the older nephew and I got temporary tattoos on the boardwalk. We got home later in the evening and when I showed the wife my ‘ink’ she made this really funny face and then one second later realized that she had been ‘had’. It was very, very funny and I still laugh about it to this day.

  17. “Welcome To my life, Tattoo – we’ve a long time together me and you …..”

    What a great Who album that was.

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