Rethinking ink: How tattoos lost their cool

Rethinking ink - cover
Rethinking ink - cover

In a previous life, at drama school, it was drummed into me never to get a tattoo. The rationale? However Streep-esque my audition may be, a tattoo would not only distract the director, it would present them with the problem of covering the damned thing up.

It is estimated that around 20 million Brits has at least one tattoo.

This happened during the 90s when tattoos were everywhere. You could not get around without noticing Pamela Anderson’s barbed wire wrapped around an upper arm, or spotting a tramp stamp on someone’s lower back, hip or tummy, bouncing off a baggy trouser or a low-rise jeans.

Pamela Anderson tattoo

Back in 1995, Pam Anderson received her infamous ink because off her starring role in the film Barbed Wire and she fancied the makeup ink that was applied during filming. About 19 years after that she lasered it off.

Fast forwarding two 2010, and after her husband was elected as prime minister column Samantha Cameron’s and Coke dolphin tattoo has enforced the claim that tattoos are not only mainstream but also acceptable by posh-girls. For that matter, it has enhanced her husband’s Image. Yet imagine the scandal if 20 years ago Norma Major had had the same.

Today, an estimate off 20 million Brits at least half one tattoo and around 1.5 million pieces off by the art that are annually needled in –supporting an industry that is estimated around 80,000,000 of British pounds in net worth.

Statistics as shown an increase of %440 in revenue from tattoo removal procedures in the past decade. With %39 off adults regretting ever getting the ink in a survey conducted.

Drew Barrymore tattoo
Drew Barrymore tattoo

Sometimes a small symbol such as a heart, star, angel wings or something similar, as a lower back tatt is popular around Hollywood stars such as Jessica Alba, Drew Barrymore, and even Eva Longoria.

“In the fast year alone, my clinic has witnessed an increase of %400 of people inquiring about surgical tattoo removal procedure,” stated by a plastic surgeon Paul Banwell  of The Banwell  Clinic.

“Tattoo removing the largest growing sector in the cosmetic procedures, not only in the UK but worldwide,” stated by Dr. Tapan Patel, medical director of PHI Clinic on Harley Street. “In the period of two years since we’ve opened, there has been an increase of %100 each year for treatment requests.”

Megan Fox tattoo
Megan Fox tattoo

In the mid 90’s getting a tattoo had a deep meaning. Actress Megan Fox had Inked Shakespearean quote on her shoulder, while the Beckhams received a matching Hebrew tattoos that read, ‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine’.

 A Consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan clinic, Dr. Susan Mayou stated to Stella magazine that “In a period of six months, inquiries has increased by 20% –  in fact, we have recently had employed another specialist due to the high demand.”

Many of the celebrities’ coma who were the cause for the making body art trendy the first place, are also my number one reason to trend tattoo U-turns.  Such as Drew Barrymore cool converted to Judaism up on getting married to her third husband Will Kopelman, where it was a reported that she removed many off her buddy marks because they conflicted with her new faith.

Stars like Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Eva Longoria, Melanie Griffith, Marc Anthony, and Denise Richards are all part of the ex-lover tattoo club, where are they had their ex-partners’ names (Inked On their skin at a happier times) got it removed or transformed into another image for words.

And then there’s Victoria Beckham, has a long snaky Hebrew memorandum descending down her back and its continuation off the tribute to David on her wrist are fading away fast –  do you to some laser treatments she performed. Perhaps she is having some parts of her old image restored such as removing her breast implants, and returning her hair to its black roots, and getting Rid of her fake skin tan, as she would like to be taken seriously as a fashion designer and the businesswoman.

Victoria Beckham tattoo
Victoria Beckham tattoo

Victoria Beckham’s fading wrist tattoo for her husband, David.

So far what we have discovered that the most common reason for having a tattoo removed is career. ‘Many people Think that tattoo removal is an act driven by the name off and ex-partner, where the main reason to getting it removed is first and foremost employment considerations,’ stated by Dr, Andrew R. Timming, researcher at University of St. Andrews,  who has conducted an extensive research in this area.

A 2014 survey is backing his points, with a 71% off employers stating that tattoos are the main reason to cause them to hold back from hiding candidate.

“Like it or not, visible tattoos are not something acceptable, especially in a customer-facing jobs,” It can also be an issue if you are a Lawyer or an Accountant.”

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini tattoo
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini tattoo

Many people believe that Cheryl Fernandez-Versini raised the standard for tattoo saturation in 2014, with a huge rose design she got it itched on her entire lower back and bottom. It took 14 hours of work, and Cheryl admitted it had cost her ‘a price of the small car’.

Until recent days, removal it was considered as a primitive act.” Surgical execution (having the tattoo cut out with a scalpel) was and still used as a successful method.  But in the old days it was scrubbed off using salt, which often it caused some nasty reactions, such as dermabrasion,” says Dr. Mayou.

“30 years ago, primitive lasers where introduced but they damaged the skin and tissue because they reached down to the dermis layer, where the pigmentation lies.”

The new removing lasers that is commonly used to these days is the Pico Way laser.

What makes it popular is that it is fast and precise in smashing the ink particles into much smaller pieces so it can be excreted into the lymphatic system more quickly. But the downside is not all colors can be removed. It is effective and removing black and red, but some colors such as pink an orange cannot be treated no matter what.

This kind of treatment does not come cheap, starting at £199 for 45-minute session at PHI Clinic, with the minimum off three sessions over 4 to 6 weeks’ period.

David Beckham tattoo
David Beckham tattoo

Maybe because they were running out of skin, ‘sleeve tattoos happened’ where it covers the entire arm and often sneaks on to the torso, became very popular with stars like David Beckham and Robbie Williams

Dr. Mayou uses a Q-switched Harmony laser, but he also warns, “we can clear completely up to 60% off tattoo cases, where 30% are left with ‘ghosting’ and the remaining 10% are too stubborn to remove.

Older tattoos are much harder to remove, and these types Will require a minimum of six sessions from 30 minutes to an hour costing around £150 per session.”

Recovery time from laser treatment is minimal, Vaseline is needed to be applied for around 72 hours for skin protection –  and there is no going around this because scabs need to heal.

Lasers are said to hurt more than tattoos itself, even though we use anesthetic cream.  Creams are not absorbed thoroughly under the skin to be a highly effective injured using pain while getting the procedure done, says Dr. Mayou.

Mel B tattoo
Mel B tattoo

The late 90’s, Mel B and Mel C from the Spice Girls, and Britney Spears, started a trend for Chinese letters tattoos.

Of course many people are still happy with their Ink. “My first tattoo I received was after my best friend was diagnosed with cancer and she asked me if I would like to get one done with her,” Kathleen Shea, social worker, age 45. “I received a Celtic Guardian dog on my lower back with knots as a symbol off protection, and later on I got a small tattoo on my wrist in my own handwriting that says,’ I choose.’

My friend’s sister-in-Law, Laura Shea, 44, now feels different and she is having her four tattoos removed. “I’ve got them when I was 22 and what’s the guy I was dating wanted to be tattoo artist. I allowed him to practice on me, which turned out to be a big mistake because they were tacky and I regretted them instantly.”

Kendell Jenner white dot tattoo
Kendell Jenner white dot tattoo

If The trend that started in 2016 is all about the theme off blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ink.  Fashion model Gigi Hadid has a tiny ‘g’ behind her ear, Kendell Jenner has a white dot on her finger (Upper Photo was done by her tattooist, JonBoy) and her little sister Kylie recently had the tiny red heart tattooed on her upper arm, which she calls ‘baby tatt’

“If I knew that tattoos Will get this expensive, painful, and difficult to remove, then I would have to advise my children and even paid the money cannot get a tattoo on their skin because eventually they will get them removed,” sighs Dr. Mayou.


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