Tattoo Regrets: The Art of Re-imagining, Removing, and Concealing-Part I.

Sometimes a spur of the moment decision can lead to a life long presence. People living or visiting Vegas may know this story all too well. The scenario goes something like this; after a night of partying some poor chap wakes up with a large version of Big Bird tattooed across his back (I’m sure it seemed really cool after 5 shots of tequila and a few beers!). So whether getting that tattoo was an inebriated mistake, wratched work done by an unskilled artist, change of heart after years with the same ink, or need to cover a tattoo up for career moves…..there are several options to remake a tattoo mistake.

But first let’s consider what a tattoo is. Through the use of an electric powered machine, an ink tipped needle forces color into the second layer of the skin (dermis) through pulses of 50-3,000 times per minute. The color settles into the skin leaving a permanent stain. However, the body does naturally eliminate some ink over time causing fading. So the only way to get rid of a tattoo is to cover up the layers of skin above it or use something that can penetrate deep enough to destroy the ink.

If your hankering to cover-up a cartoon bird, the name of an ex-lover, or something even more ghastly, consider reimagining the tattoo into a new artistic piece. A skilled tattoo artisan will be able to work with you to envision possibilities for a beautiful ink redo, that fits where you are today. However, there are a few pointers to keep in mind.

1. You will typically have to go with darker theme colors to cover the original ink.

2. The design will have to be larger to go over the former tattoo properly.

3. Several design ideas will be needed to discuss, in case the tattoo artist believes one may not work.

Laser removal is the “Gold Standard” for getting rid of an unwanted tattoo. It works by using a high intensity light beam to break up pigment particles in the skin. Once the particles are shattered, the body’s lymphatic system cleans up the debris and removes it. However, as tattoo ink can be 10-12 layers deep, it can take 2-10 treatments every 4-8 weeks to fully remove.

But if your going to go for the big guns of a tattoo cover-up or laser removal, don’t just pick any old shop or clinic sitting in a dusty corner of a forgotten business complex. Find places where the repuation of the work carries itself throughout the community. For tattoo cover-up here in Vegas, the recently opened LV Tattoo ( owner Johnny Law, touts 20 years industry experience. Him and his team are seasoned professionals in cover-ups. Plus, with a Fremont Street location, your guaranteed to have a fun time coursing the entertainment options.

For laser removal it’s best to find a dermatology or plastic surgery office that can offer licensed providers, who have the ability to offer prescriptions for any adverse events that could occur post treatment. Las Vegas Dermatology ( and the Surgical Dermatology & Laser Center ( are both good options. According to Dr. Fife of Surgical Dermatology & Laser Center, “Another thing that sets us apart, is because we are a medical office, we can provide anesthesia to make it more comfortable (topical, injectible, and sometimes oral medicines) to help the procedure be more comfortable. A lot of tattoo parlors only have topicals. We have PFD patches, which stand Perfluorodecalin. It’s a patch that takes the air bubbles out of the skin so you can do 2-3 laser treatments in one session.”

Reasearch your clinicians and the equipment they are using. As an educated consumer, you are prepared to make the best decisions to acheive Beauty Unique to Your Body.

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