About a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 40 have at least one tattoo. As they grow older, some of them are having their tattoos removed.
KEN SALER: «Voila! «
DAVID: «Yay! «
David served with the United States Army in Iraq. He says this large tattoo protected him in battle during his deployment.
DAVID: «It’s just a double-headed eagle with a shield in the middle. «
But today, David is the father of three young children. And his feelings about tattoos have changed. So he has been coming to this laser tattoo removal clinic in Washington, DC.
DAVID: «I didn’t happen to think, you know, one day I was going to have kids and what they were going to think about it. And with my recent addition, I just had a newborn baby in the house, and I’d really like it if he never even saw it. «
KEN SALER: «Glasses on. «
Ken Saler operates this laser center. He says he often treats women who believe tattoos are hurting their career.
KEN SALER: «Some are extremely emotional and they say ‘This is the best day of my life that I’ve had. I’ve looked at this thing for 20 years. I’ve wanted it off. You can’t imagine how I’ve wanted it off’. «
KEN SALER: «For today I’m going to juice you up a little bit. «
CLIENT: «That’s a little bit more pain, am I right? «
KEN SALER «Not much. If it is, we’ll let you know. You got the blue ball all ready? «
CLIENT: «Yep, got it. «
KEN SALER «Okay. We’re ready to go. «
Jennifer Bezdicek is a lawyer in Washington. She is having a small tattoo removed from her ankle.
JENNIFER BEZDICEK: «I got this tattoo when I was 18. Wasn’t the smartest decision I’ve ever made and it just was not, you know, not conducive to seeing clients or being in high-profile places. So I just wanted to get rid of it altogether and not have to worry about it anymore. «
KEN SALER: «Okay, I’m going to cool the treated area with the skin chiller. «
New laser technology makes tattoo removal less painful, and less costly. The laser breaks up the coloring into pieces that are small enough to be removed by normal body processes. It takes several treatments for the tattoo to disappear completely.
DAVID: «I thought it was something that I would want to have forever but you don’t always need to have an image on your body to portray who you are and how you feel. That should be something that’s, you know, just inside of you. «
I’m Steve Ember.