Tattoos Taboo or Trend?

April 25, 2013 Updated Apr 25, 2013 at 11:46 PM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

April 25, 2013 Updated Apr 25, 2013 at 11:46 PM EDT


The sound of getting a tattoo is distinct but so is the sound of getting a tattoo removed by laser. If you're wondering which one hurts the most take it from Luke Thiessen, "It is probably 10 times more painful to get the tattoo removed than it is to get a tattoo."

Reality shows like L.A. Ink have helped make tattooing more acceptable in the main stream.

Dana Bridenbaker, a tattoo artist at CowPok on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo has 15 years in the business and he's developed a strict policy: no tattoos on the hand or neck.

It's something he learned first hand when a customer got her dog's portrait inked on her neck after he died. Two years later she was back to say she couldn't get hired anywhere.

"You don't just tattoo something on someone because they ask you to you gotta make sure that you're not going to jeopardize their life really," explained Bridenbaker.

And with Bridenbakers' years of experience he knows it's never a good idea to get your significant other's name inked on your skin.

"You don't put someone's name on you that can stop being who they are. It kinda almost poisons the relationship. It's like bad luck," he says.

Which is why more than 40 percent of the business done at CowPok are cover ups of names or images that the customer no longer identifies with.

Even tattoo artists like Kristen Azzinaro has a few tats she wants covered up.

"It was an ambigram of faith and hope on my lower back when I was 16 so that's a regret definitely," Azzinaro explained.

"The studies show that the younger the person is who gets the tattoo the more they dislike it and want it removed as they get older," said Dr. Joseph Neiman of Neiman Dermatology and Hair Transplantation in Williamsville.

Dr. Neiman says tattoo removal by laser is far more effective than outdated removal methods like dermabrasion and salibrasion that cause serious scarring.

While lasers are more effective you'd be surprised at how long the treatment process can take.

Getting a tattoo typically takes about one or two hours but getting a tattoo removed could take up to two years.

"If you were to imagine a porcelain tile being dropped to the floor it's going to shatter into many pieces, some large some small. That's actually what it's doing to the pigment or the ink of the laser tattoo," said Maryann Wolf R.N., of Nieman Dermatology and Hair Transplantation.

That pigment or ink then gets absorbed trough the body and eliminated through your immune system. While the treatment may be lengthy most patients are thrilled with the results proving tattoos aren't forever.