Tattoo Regret Could be a Boon for Device Manufacturers

I’ll never get a tattoo. Call me conservative, but the thought of having an ink-based design etched permanently into my skin is more than the old man in me can tolerate.

My geriatric attitude is just that. Among 25-29 year-olds, 36 percent of individuals have one or more tattoos, says a Harris Interactive poll. 28 percent of 30-to-39-year-olds are inked.

Conservative or not, my foresight stands a good chance of being rewarded. According to the American Society of Dermatological surgery, over 50% of everyone with a tattoo wants it removed. That’s a lot of people, and could generate significant revenues at companies specializing in tattoo removal.

Lasers are used to remove pigment from under the skin; laser energy passes through the skin and is absorbed by tattoo ink, causing targeted ink particles to breakdown mechanically. Fragmented particles are removed from the skin by the body’s immune or lymphatic system. Several companies specialize in lasers that perform tattoo removal.

  • Cynosure’s Accolade, is a high-powered, Q-switched Alexandrite laser that provides fast treatment for removing benign epidermal and dermal pigmented lesions, such as freckles, but also works on tattoos.
  • The Palomar Q-YAG 5 is a portable tattoo removal system that uses dual wavelengths for multiple ink colors; the system has three spot sizes for versatile treatments.
  • Cutera also offers lasers for tattoo removal, though the company’s focus remains vascular therapy and hair removal.

Still thinking of getting a tattoo?

Laser tattoo removal is painful (though is also described as less painful than getting a tattoo), expensive and often ineffective – especially for individuals with darker skin.

Freedom2 hopes to make tattoo removal an easier process. The company’s Infinitink is engineered specifically for future removability. The company uses beads of polymer-encapsulated ink that behave predictably when targeted by certain wavelengths of laser energy. An Infinitink tattoo is just as permanent as any other, but it can be removed with minimal lasering.

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