Older Adults with Tattoo Regret

tattoo regret

Tattoos are becoming increasingly commonplace and socially acceptable in Western culture, but throughout the passing decades, the same question persists; “How will I feel about this in 20, 30 or even 40 years?”    According to a British survey, nearly a third of all people with tattoos regret getting inked.

Many aging baby boomers may be sporting a tattoo from their younger days that they are not so keen about now.  But laser tattoo removal, although a step up from older techniques, can be painful, expensive and carry the potential for scarring or other complications.   Complex tattoos with multiple colors may take 10 or more laser sessions to erase, with time to heal between each session.  The process can add up to thousands of dollars and complete removal without scarring is not guaranteed.

And although modern tattoos have become highly artistic and detailed, the old-style tats may be less pleasing on the eye, especially as time has taken it’s toll on the original image.  What may have looked cool or a bit edgy at 19, tends to not translate as well into older age.  A tattoo fades with time and exposure to sun and as skin loses elasticity with age, older adults may not be happy about the decision their younger self made years ago.

If you are considering getting a tattoo removed, talk with your dermatologist about the process and make sure you understand what is involved in terms of cost as well as pain and possible complications.

And watch out for “quick-fix” product scams. The FDA warn that creams which claim to fade tattoos are not approved and can cause rashes, burning, scarring or a change in the pigmentation of the skin.

Perhaps a trip to a well-researched tattoo shop is the least invasive or costly way make the best of aging body art.   Adding color to brighten a faded tattoo or complexity to a simple design can give an old tattoo new life without breaking the bank or risking scarring.  Consider adding a meaningful quote and make sure this time around you double check the changes and work closely with a reputable tattoo artist to create something you will love for the next 20 years.

To read more about how laser tattoo removal works, visit the United States Food and Drug Administration website by following this link.