Laser Removal: an Unnecessary Safety Net?

The above image is from here, and makes me sad. Why get rid of that?!

One of the cool things about Tattoosday UK being a blog is that I can pretty much say whatever I like. Blogs are supposed to be opinionated. You should probably keep that in mind today, because I want to write something about laser removal- and I think laser removal is bollocks.

I can already hear in my head half of you all gasping at me saying that. Hear me out!

Currently, laser removal (at least, according to the people who are doing it) is a big thing right now. There are a lot of people who want to remove bad tattoos, but also more people who want to get rid of decent tattoos to make room for bigger and better ones. This is all fine and everything, but at the same time I can’t help but wonder if this is one of the reasons people get bad tattoos. Does this hypothetical safety net stop some from being as serious about their bodies and health as they could be?

For the past half hour I’ve been looking through my bookshelf to find a quote about this- I am fairly sure it was Lal Hardy who put the idea of this into my head, though without proof, I can’t be certain- whoever it was, whether it’s Lal or not, said that one of the reasons people aren’t thinking about tattoos seriously enough is because laser removal is so accessible today. Some studios even have the machines! This whole idea that if you don’t like the tattoo, the man with the magic wans taking it away really takes away the whole point of tattooing, in my opinion.

It’s a lot like the Safety Removal Myth, which is a theory that a guy called John Adams came up with around car safety. Simply put, the idea is that if you were driving a car with a massive spike coming from the driving wheel, you’d probably drive at around 2 miles per hour, because you’d be too scared! However, if you fit a car with the best air bags and ABS money can buy, would you be as careful? Adams believed that air bags were causing more crashes- I’m not sure if I’m behind that, but the idea of it all is still valid. Is laser removal the air bag that causes customers to be careless?

Personally, I’ve given myself a rule to never get laser removal. Since then, I’ve acquired tattoos from Ian and Hayley Parkin, Paul Fulton, Charlie Roberts and Thomas Morgan, to name a few. They’re beautiful, and there’s no way I’d get them removed. On the other side of things, friends who are currently getting laser removal have tattoos that aren’t as great. They’re not as shit as my friends think (seen worse!), but they aren’t as great, unfortunately. I wonder if this decision to never have laser removal has influenced this.

When you’re getting tattooed, you should do it once and do it right. If your tattoo is not going to look perfect, don’t get the thing. Go somewhere else. Find someone who can draw and tattoo brilliantly. Don’t think about getting it removed if it’s shit- think about never having t get it removed. One of the most special things about tattoos is that they’re (supposed to be) permanent. When your friends are dickheads to you and that lost love won’t return your phone calls, you’ll still have your tattoos. They’re a constant part of your life- and that’s really special. I don’t think you should fuck around with that and make bad decisions because the man with the laser machine can put you through hell taking it off again. It’s a tattoo, not a t shirt.

So question of the day: do you think more people would make better decisions if laser surgery wasn’t so easily available?

Life I said, this is only my opinion. Hopefully my friends going through laser removal are still speaking to me, haha. I just wanted to try to make you guys all think today, because I don’t really get the time anymore to do that often. I’d love to hear what you guys think of this (and if you know which quote I’m thinking of about the machines in studios!), so feel free to share in the comments.

5 Responses to “Laser Removal: an Unnecessary Safety Net?”
  1. Tim says:

    I personally wouldn’t have any of my pieces removed, although there are one or two that I might be a little less than ecstatic about. I take your point about laser removal being the ultimate get-out, and from a purist’s perspective you’re probably right – but at the end of the day one can’t uninvent it.

    And if we’re advocating that people should be able to modify themselves as they wish, the corollary is that they should be able to unmodify too.

    In some cases (and I’m thinking of gang tattoos on the hands, face etc) being able to remove a piece has opened the door for people to leave the gangster life.

    • Mel Noir says:

      I think you have some really good points, Tim!

      People should still be able to unmodify or change however they wish, I completely agree, and being able to remove things like gang tattoos is a really cool thing. I think your sentiments are more or less the same as those who commented via. my own Facebook page. It might be cool to take a look at the other side of laser removal as well, perhaps I’ll ask someone groovy to argue with me here, haha.

      There are always at least two sides to everything. I’ve shown my side, and I’m loving hearing everyone else’s views, so thank you for commenting. :)

  2. leo says:

    I am cool with the whole laser thing, but regarding to people getting bad tattoo isnt only all about that they dont care about their bodies, but simply because they dont have taste or knowledge of what can be achieved in a tattoo. they realized that they got shit tattoos when they see a quality work, or see the no so impressed faces of their friends with “Artistic Taste” lets say haha.

    I would say that educating people art-wise and what can be achieved in a tattoo would improve the tattoo industry a lot. That way, when they “friends” offer to tattoo them they would think twice, or when they flip the “portfolio” of a “Tattoo artist” and see shit works, they will look for another and proper artist to do their tattoos.

    Regarding to the laser thing, it is fab!! It will only get better and more effective to remove bad tattoos or make space as u said to bigger tattoos.

    nicely written post Mel :D

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