WINTER PARK, Fla. - Tattoos can offer a veritable snapshot of a time when adulthood and responsibility seemed worlds away.
To some, the ink from a spring break or a late night whim is a badge of honor. To others, tattoos can be a constant reminder of the person one used to be.
That's why an increasing number of people are deciding to have them removed. Tattoo removal has never been easier, and businesses specializing in the laser procedure is booming.
At Winter Park Laser in Florida, patient after patient are going under the laser to remove tattoos they got when they were younger and now regret.
Jennifer Calabrese, manager at Winter Park Laser, said men and women are motivated to have ink removed for different reasons.
Men often have tattoos removed for job prospects such as government positions. Many women, on the other hand, are trying to change the image they have of themselves or convey to others.
"They don't reflect who they are now, when they are in line at their private school dropping their child off," Calabrese said.
Calabrese said many of her customers are tired of covering up in the hot Florida weather.
"They want to be able to wear v-neck shirts and spaghetti strap dresses," Calabrese said. "They don't want a dragon tattoo that they got when they were 16 to show at PTA meetings."
The removal process can be a bit painful, so Calabrese recommends a local anesthetic.
As for price, Calabrese said a good rule of thumb is to add a zero to the price you originally paid for the art. A complete removal can typically take up to ten sessions, with each session lasting 25 minutes.
The size of the tattoo, as well as the color, can influence how long it will take to disappear. For instance, black and red inks are easier than yellow and green inks.
Calabrese said her clients include everyone from lawyers to stay-at-home mothers, all sharing their regret for the tattoos of their youth.
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