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.”