Tattoo Removal Failure Reclamation

A client of Azl Kelly’s (Mtl Tattoo in Montreal) came to him looking for help in dealing with a big blog of scar tissue that she’d been left with after a laser tattoo removal. The laser had successfully obliterated the tattoo, but it did so much damage in the process that something had to be done about it — no matter how bad the tattoo may have been, this can’t have seemed like an improvement. Since the scar was now there for good, Azl worked with it, and added some definition, converting it from a random blob into a lotus flower.


Speaking of Azl I wanted to show another piece of tattoo/scar combination work he did (you may recall when I featured some of his a while back). In this large scale piece, the outline of the tree is healed scarification by Azl, and the tattooing was done by his Mtl coworker Travis Driscoll. As I’ve said before, tattooing is a wonderful way to breathe new (and long-term) life into an aging scar that has lost it’s visual impact. It’s hard to pick a favorite from Azl’s top-notch combination pieces, but this one has to be high on the list.


BMEtv – Nathan the Tattoo Remover Tech

This week’s BME World Tour video takes us Gold Coast Laser Tattoo Removal.  After speaking briefly with the owner, Paul Braniff, Rachel sits down with Nathan, the removal technician and talks to him about everything to do with laser removal.  Oh and she does this all while getting a laser treatment.

To check out the video, you’ll have to keep on reading.

If you’ve missed any of the videos so far, you can check out the rest of them in the BME World Tour Video Gallery

Tattoo Removal: Knuckle Edition

Hoo boy, and here is some tattoo removal for you, gentle readers, just in time for your company-mandated lunching hour. A little grisly, right? This photo, two days after the appointment, comes to us from a client of the Tattoo Laser Removal Clinic in sunny San Diego, California, but removal aside, we can neither confirm nor deny whether the person featured above still does, in fact, love life. We, of course, hope they do. But really, those blisters form mighty quick—after the jump, the first shot is another close-up from day two, and the final shot is from day one, before these suckers puffed right up.


Before we jump across…the jump, though, we figure this is as good a time as any to mention that friend of BME Allen Falkner, who many of you know is also in the tattoo removal business with his company, Fade Fast, has just published an article that we think is worth taking a look at. In it, Allen summarizes and explains the results of a study he recently conducted to “determine how different laser wavelengths interact with particular ink colors, and more specifically, with different brands of tattoo inks.” Give it a read, and if you’re planning on being in Las Vegas this weekend, Allen will be giving a lecture about his findings as well.

**NOTE: Just to clarify, Allen Falkner did not do the removal procedure pictured here.**

See more in Tattoo Removal (Tattoos)

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (April 23, 2008)

[The Celebrity Cafe] Well well well, guess who’s too good for his tattoos all of a sudden? That chump over on the right, Mister Fancy Hip Hop Producer Pharrell, who you may remember from occasionally whistling and snapping his fingers in the background of Snoop Dogg songs. (OK, he did a fine job on that last Clipse album, too.) Anyway, Johnny Jackerson there used to have all kinds of tattoos, but that era has come to an end! Because he is an adult.

Although Pharrell would not give exact numbers, he did say that regardless of the price he plans to go ahead with the surgery.

“It’s going to be pricey, but worth it,” he says. “I got fire on my arms! I’m a grown man!”

Some vicious Internet rumors, however, have suggested that he is just going to fill his arms right back up with the devil’s ink, and this was just a means to start with a blank canvas. Although this was a laser procedure, that wasn’t always the plan! At first, Pharrell was looking into some experimental grafting process in which the tattoos wouldn’t actually be removed at all, but would have instead been covered with brand new skin, grown on some horrific eugenics flesh farm.

[He] is trying a revolutionary new tattoo removal procedure, which involves applying replicated skin over old body art.

“It’s basically like getting a skin graft, but you’re not taking skin from your ass or your legs. These guys actually grow the skin for you,” he explained to Vogue. “First you have to give them a sample of your skin, which they then replicate. Once that’s been done, they sew it on – and it’s seamless.”

On his blog, however, he wrote, “Laser treatment bitches! Extra crispy. See, no skin graft here, just pure laser pain. This is our own version of Mythbusters! Laser is the new primer.” See, Rob? Some people absolutely do Twitter from the emergency room.

[KMPH] And this just isn’t funny at all. Local Fresno, California, shitbag Enrique Gonzalez, a Bulldog gang member, held down his seven-year-old son while some other fool tattooed a paw print onto the kid’s stomach.

Police discovered the tattooed child on Monday, and soon after arrested the man responsible for the tattoo; 20-year-old Travis Gorman of Fresno. Gorman, a parolee, was arrested on Tuesday, and booked into the Fresno County Jail after he was positively identified by the child as the man who tattooed him. Tattoo paraphernalia was also discovered during his arrest.

Admittedly, everything I know about California gangs I learned from watching The Shield, but that show sure made it seem like gangs down there just willy-nilly tattoo people they consider their property. Whatever happened to just wearing distinctive colors? I miss the ’90s sometimes.

[Guardian] Finally, we’ve mentioned former Palin-child-beau Levi Johnston and his ring-finger tattoo commemorating his love for the former vice-presidential candidate’s daughter, Bristol, but the happy pair of teenagers have called it quits! Now Levi is doing a press tour, showing up anywhere that will have him, trying to squeeze some money out of the situation. Well, last night, he and his clan were on CNN’s Larry King Live, finally answering the question all of America was waiting for: Why’d you get that tattoo instead of wearing a ring, fella?

During a bizarre exchange, King asked to see the “Bristol” tattoo on Johnston’s finger. King asked Johnston why he got the tattoo: “You know, I was – I was hunting again and I lost the ring that she gave me. And it was bad so I figured … this way I wouldn’t lose it and it would get me out of a bind, you know,” Johnston said.

We all know the jury is perpetually out on whether it’s a good idea to get the name of a sexytime partner tattooed on you, but there are many compelling cases to be made for doing that sort of thing. This may not be one of them.

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Nov. 14, 2008)

[Alana G.] The very talented Alana (nee Miss Gossip) just caught up with Rasheed Wallace of the Detroit Pistons who, in addition to requiring technical fouls for sustenance, has dedicated his entire back to tattoo tributes to his daughter. Sheed’s one of the league’s most intense, confrontational, and generally downright crazy players (in a good way), so this sort of measured and gentle discussion is an interesting counterpoint to that. Not bad tattoo work, either. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the cuteness there, because …

[] … uhhhh. I just … But … Ahem.

/splashes cold water on face

/straightens tie

/sniffs glue

OK, much better. So, this is the story of a woman with a psychological disorder that led to an obsession with plastic surgery that escalated to the point that she got so much work done over a 20-year period that she was unrecognizable even to her own family. She was briefly treated for this disorder, but fairly quickly fell back into her “old ways,” finding a doctor that not only agreed to give her silicone shots into her face, but provided her with syringes and silicone so that she could continue to do the same by herself. The silicone ran out, however, and the woman began injecting herself with cooking oil. The result can be seen in a slideshow here.

There is definitely an element of the grotesque here: A traditionally attractive woman, likely addled by some sort of psychosis, becomes what many would describe as a monstrosity. Yet, with each additional round of surgery, as untamed scar tissue and various disfigurements piled up, she was continually pleased with what she perceived as an ongoing beautification process. Now, after having been made a spectacle of, she seems to agree with the people who have been trying to dissuade her, and claims she would just like her old face back.

Not to try to analyze the thought process of a person with such obvious and complex problems, nor to suggest that we should engage in any kind of insipid armchair-psychiatry, but this is a truly fascinating and sad story that, while not directly related to this community, certainly holds some cross-over appeal. How often do those outside of the body modification culture criticize those within it for lying to themselves about the inherent beauty in so many of these procedures? I’m not saying that this is by any means a valid comparison or that body modification as much of this community practices it is in any way analogous to the sort of psychological disorder that would lead a person to the lengths of the subject of the linked article, but it’s interesting to consider the parallels that an outsider may perceive, wrongheaded as they may be. That is all.

[Fade Fast] And as a nice pick-me-up, here’s a cute Flash ad from noted sell-out Allen Falkner (kidding!) for his tattoo removal company, Fade Fast. I don’t mean to give free advertising, this is just quite well done:

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Nov. 3, 2008)

[TheNewsRoom] There’s a lot going on here, so let’s go piece by piece. This girl collects celebrity autographs, on her body, and then gets them tattooed for posterity (and bragging rights, and profit?). She just got Fergie’s, bumping up her running total to 87 or 88 (!). Among the others: Sheryl Crow, Meg Ryan, Angelina Jolie and Miley Cyrus. The big catch, though, as far as she’s concerned, is Tim McGraw on her left breast. The problem, for some reason, is that her dad, who supports her financially, will cut her off and send her back to her birth mother in Pittsburgh if he finds out that she’s been getting tattooed. Except that people have apparently filmed her and sent videos to her dad. I swear to God this is a real story.

[The News Star] We have a new champion! John “Joker” McManus of Joker Tattoo Shop in West Monroe, LA, just broke the world record for most tattoos performed in a 24-hour period, tattooing 775 two-inch-by-two-inch stars from noon Friday to noon Saturday last weekend.

By the end, McManus was exhausted to the point that his wife (and other onlookers) were worried for his health, but it all worked out in the end: In addition to bragging rights, it was a charity event, with all proceeds going to Toys for Tots, The Ouachita Humane Society and The Louisiana Cerebral Palsy Foundation. Good show, Joker.

[Wallet Pop] So, we’ve covered shops giving away free Obama tattoos, and others offering free piercings for anyone who votes, and now the good folks at New Look Laser Tattoo Removal are getting in on the sweet election action too:

New Look is offering the citizens of North Texas a chance to vote for change this election … if you prove that you voted this year by bringing in your “I Voted” sticker, voter registration card, or give us your word you fully punched your chad, we’ll give you a free tattoo removal treatment.

You can get change in the White House and change in your skin. And whether your candidate wins or loses at the battle box, your failed policy of bad tattoo ink will definitely be left in the dustpan of history.

The gauntlet has been thrown down. Your move, FadeFast.

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Oct. 14, 2008)

[] So, approximately 9,000 people have sent this to me over the last couple of weeks and, even now, I can’t tell whether the original author is legit in his assurance of the efficacy of his plan:

So they will cut you hair first, then bore in your scull two tiny foramens with a drill, then drag the ring through them with the bent needle. The foramens will be done on your nucha – there is an especially sensitive range of a brain. The ring will easily massage it and keep you in the state of euphoria. The only problem you can face is that you will have to try hard to find a piercer. There are very few persons capable. And the price is $1000 for the whole procedure.

Hot damn! Where do I sign up? Really though, this seems like the sort of thing my uncle would send in an e-mail. (“Hey, I’ve got a piercing for ya — right through the brain!” Nyuk nyuk nyuk.) Luckily, the ever-industrious Ferg spoke to a doctor friend of his, and came back with the following results:

I have to say that the anatomical descriptions and descriptions of the procedure are vague and weird. Whoever wrote it would certainly not have my vote of confidence. This is what a nuchal line is:

As you might have imagined already, the risk of haemorrhage and death are ridiculously high as well as that of contracting meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain):

There are three membranes that surround the brain. One is closely attached to the skull itself (the dura), the second – the arachnoid – is full of blood vessels and holds in the cerebrospinal fluid, then the third, the pia mater, is what’s adherent to the brain itself.

Should one accidentally rip through the membranes, then CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) would leak out and the patient would die within minutes, or, should one rupture a blood vessel accidentally, then the piercee would either haemorrhage out (to death?) or into their skull, thus compressing the brain and resulting in coma, death, seizures, etc., etc.

I would have thought that foreign bodies rubbing directly on the brain would cause irritation and thus neurological deficits as well as seizures. (Are seizures pleasant?) Anyway, I’m no specialist and I’m sure it’s totally possible to do and survive. Whether their claims are true (euphoria?) needs to be substantiated.

Well, there you have it. Maybe it’ll work and maybe it won’t, but … please don’t try to pierce your brain.

[Toronto Star, Niagara Falls Review, Guelph Mercury] There’s a lot to lose for a tattoo/piercing shop owner who doesn’t abide by the regulations outlined by the local board of health. Fines and closures are the obvious disciplinary measures, but standard operating practice in most places also includes the health board itself disseminating information to the shop’s customers, warning them to undergo blood tests, often for HIV and hepatitis. The damage to one’s reputation for actions ranging from poor bookkeeping of spore tests to actually using dirty instruments can be devastating — and for some reason, Southern Ontario has been seeing a lot of these cases lately. Last summer, Oshawa’s Longhorn Custom Bodyart Studio was the subject of a $10 million class-action lawsuit filed by former customers who had been alerted of the fact that the shop had potentially been using improperly sterilized needles:

Durham Region health authorities warned that possible use of non-sterile equipment could lead to transmission of HIV and hepatitis B and C and sent letters to 2,400 people, urging them to see a doctor and get blood tests. The 530 results that have come back so far were all negative, said spokesperson Glendene Collins.

More recently, Venom Ink in St. Catharines (and Niagara Falls) and Stigmata Body Art in Guelph faced similar issues. Stigmata Body Art was fined after it “failed to comply with an order issued in July 2007 by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health to produce the results of spore tests, which check for proper sterilization of equipment,” while Venom Ink’s piercing business was shut down entirely for using non-sterile equipment.

After talking with the owner of the business, public health officials believe there are 40 customers who received piercings during the three months Venom Ink was in business – two months in St. Catharines and one in Niagara Falls.

[…] Employees working Saturday afternoon said they did not want to discuss the health department’s notice and threatened to charge a reporter with trespassing if he came by again.

In all cases, it’s still recommended that clients who received work from the aforementioned shops between certain dates seek out HIV and hepatitis tests:

– Longhorn Custom Bodyart Studio: Nov. 17, 2006-Aug. 1, 2007
– Stigmata Body Art: February, April and May 2007
– Venom Ink: It’s recommended that anyone who received a piercing from Venom Ink should seek testing

[Huffington Post] We’re through the looking glass, people — it’s the dawning of a new era. Writers are now beyond recounting their experiences with tattoos and piercings, and have moved onto the next, Falkner-approved level of body art memoir: Tattoo removal stories. Anya Strzemien over at HuffPo tells her story:

The first tattoo was a star on my wrist. Not so original nowadays, but we didn’t have Lindsay Lohan and Sienna Miller back then. [Ed. note: Slam fucking dunk.] And, sure, you have to be 18 to legally get a tattoo, but this was in the early days of Giuliani administration in New York, back when we were barely carded for anything (especially alcohol, I was elated to learn).

The second tattoo came about during my freshman year of college, and this one really marked some silly adolescent judgment on my part. I knew what I wanted it to say (and it’s something so college, so 18, and so earnest that I can’t even bring myself to tell friends what it means anymore, let alone HuffPost readers), but I didn’t want it to be in English. Arabic, Farsi and Hindi looked too linear, Chinese felt too cliché. So, naturally, I settled on Japanese. I could have lived with the star for the rest of my life, but really, Asian character tattoos are a crime of fashion that should be punishable by law. The characters themselves are beautiful, but as a tattoo…especially on a non-Asian body…well, nothing says “I Tried To Rebel In The ’90s” more.

So when I turned 29 in August, I decided it was time for me and the tattoos to part ways, and schlepped out to New Jersey to see Dr. Mitchell Chasin at the Reflections Center For Skin And Body, where I was told the cost of the removal for an average-sized tattoo like mine would be about $300 or $350 per treatment, and it would take at least four treatments (the number varies depending on the color and type of ink, skin type, and quality of the tattoo). So if the average number of treatments is four to ten, then it costs between $1200 and $3500. Note to 16-year-old self: you were wrong.

The post also includes some (inexcusably poor) photos, and assorted musings on the oozing, bubbling and general grossness that comes along with tattoo removal. But surely the erudite HuffPo commenters will have worthwhile input, right?

A tattoo just means you’re dumb enough to let ANYONE stick a needle in ya.

Oh for God’s sake.