Reporting Kristine Sorensen
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — More and more people are getting tattoos, but that decision may not be something you like years down the road.
Now, there’s growing demand for ways to cover up or remove those unwanted tattoos and there are some new ways to do that in the Pittsburgh area.
Randi Hoffman of Bethel Park is getting married in the spring and she wants to look her best in her dress, so she’s having her two tattoos removed.
“We were all out and some of the girls got them and it sounded like a good idea; and now, I don’t want to walk down the aisle with a tattoo down the back of my neck,” said Hoffman.
She’s also having another tattoo on her wrist removed. It’s not allowed where she works.
“To cover them, I use make up and it works,” she said. “But it’s just sort of a pain, and on a hot day, it can run.
So, she says she is willing to go through pain and money to get them off.
Hoffman went to Body Beautiful, which has 10 locations in Western Pennsylvania. Tattoo removal is one of many face and body rejuvenation treatments they provide.
She’s starting with the traditional laser removal.
“It’s pretty painful but i want it gone,” she said.
Mike West of Crafton, a tattoo artist himself, is also getting laser treatment.
“I’m getting this whole sleeve removed,” he said.
West says he wants a new tattoo put in its place. He says this happens a lot in his shop.
“I’d say half the clients that come in either had bad work and want it fixed or want it covered up,” said West. “That’s probably the most common is a boyfriend’s name, but there’s a lot of bad work.”
Lasers can get most of the tattoo removed, but sometimes, some color remains.
Laser technician Marcia Hale is doing a new treatment, using the same machine used to put on a tattoo but with a special chemical solution going into the skin instead of ink.
“This solution is able to find the ink still locked in skin and able to lift it to the surface,” said Hale.
Hale even got a tattoo near her foot, just to test out the new treatment.
One of the benefits of this treatment is that it’s not nearly as painful as laser.
“Our number one and two questions are how bad does it hurt and how much does it cost,” said Mark Fleis, the manager at Body Beautiful. “Usually, during the first visit, we give them a test spot so they can see exactly how it feels.”
Fleis says for a softball-sized tattoo it would cost an average of $250 a session for laser removal and $150 to $200 for the chemical solution. Four to seven sessions are usually needed – often a combination of the two types. But consultations are free.
That usually adds up to at least $1,000 to get it completely removed.
But if you just want to cover it up, there’s corrective make-up.
“When you do the three steps – primer, make up that matches your skin and powder – it will last about 12 to 14 hours,” said Lori Geiger, a make-up artist.
Geiger says she’s getting more demand to cover tattoos, especially for weddings – the bride, bridesmaids and mother of the bride.
“They just want everything to look uniform, not that there’s anything wrong with the tattoo and pictures you take will last forever,” she added.
Geiger says the primer goes on “just like crayons when you used to color.” Then, you blend in the make-up color and apply powder.
The DermaBlend make-up costs $75 for the three products in the three steps.