June 1, 2009
Too Fickle For a Tattoo?
Easier-to-remove ink is now available
Tattoo remorse is alive and well. Studies indicate that among Americans who inked, about 1 in 6 regrets the choice and that women are twice as likely as men to have their tattoos removed - a long term process, often requiring a dozen laser sessions that can cost more than $200 a pop.
Hence all the excitement back in 2006 when a team led by Harvard dermatology professor announced it had created a permanent tattoo ink that could be removed with one laser treatment. The so-called Infinitink (pronounced infinite ink) was encapsulated in tiny plastic beads to speed the disintegration of pigment when struck by a laser. Sure enough, the process worked, but consulting tattoo artists like Brandon Bond - whose designs adorn the flesh of rapper 50 Cent and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. - didn't like how the ink looked. So the company revised its formula using technology similar to that found in ink-jet printers.
The new version takes a couple more laser sessions to remove than the original did. But if it catches on, people like Josh Mckenzie, 23, of Portland, Ore., will no longer have to spend upwards of $650 to remove a $35 tattoo. Why does he want his gone? He thought he'd picked out the Chinese character for bold. but it turned out to be rotten.