Regrettable Tattoos: Think Before You Ink

Anonymous_1 on 7 Mar 2011 at 12:00am

We all make mistakes. That summer you professed your love to your [now very ex-] boyfriend by getting his name scripted on your shoulder. And let’s not forget the time you had your college mascot – that’s right, the turtle – inked onto your neck.  

Sounded like a good idea at the time.

But we’re here today as a public service to tell you to think before you ink – and to provide the photo proof that it’s a smart mantra to live by.  

Even celebs change their mind about ink. Famously, Angelina Jolie [and shouldn’t she be just Angelina by now, no surname needed, like Bono or Sting?] broke up with Billy Bob Thornton, and had her tattoo of his name creatively converted to the names of her kids.  Mark Wahlberg before he got tattoo removal.

Johnny Depp, in true Johnny style, cleverly morphed his tattoo of “Winona Forever”, a previous homage to ex Winona Ryder, into the wry “Wino Forever”.  

And Mark Wahlberg compared tattoo removal to being burnt with hot bacon grease.

Just over two-thirds of those who had tattoo removal done said it was Worth It. But at an average price of $942 to remove a tattoo, it’s not an inexpensive procedure. Tattoo removal costs vary according to the size, location, and quality of the tattoo.  

Of course, if you’ve recently presented at the Oscars, you have an advantage: the gift bag included a tattoo-removing product, WreckingBalm. According to RealSelf community member supreme, this cream isn't effective, though: “WreckingBalm doesn't work at all…I used it for a year and my tattoos still look the same…it didn't fade a bit and my tattoo been on me for ten years and it wasn't even professional.”  

Tattoo removal photo gallery on RealSelf

So how do you get rid of a tattoo?

They represent a challenge: 

  • Requires numerous clinic or office visits
  • Removal involves – gulp –considerable pain, and no guarantee you'll entirely remove the ink
  • Skin type and color is a major factor in which tattoo colors can be effectively and safely treated. For example, the darker the skin, the more challenging it becomes when treating lighter colors of tattoo ink.


Removal options include:  

A final note -- don’t try this at home: tattoo removal at home is unlikely to lead to complete removal of the ink, and may cause burns or other unwanted skin damage. Ouch – best leaving the job to the [board-certified medical] professionals.  

And remember – think before you ink.   

Community members’ answers are edited for clarity and brevity.  

Photo of a tattooed hand bearing the name "Fred", from photo gallery, courtesy of Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon Louis M. DeJoseph, MD.