Unlike diamonds, tattoos aren’t forever

Check out this article posted on us on yorkregion.com

“Regional News
September 10, 2009 12:02 PM

Chris Traber

Tattoo trends, like fashion, come and go.

Only difference is you can easily get rid of out-of-style clothes.

Body art, once considered permanent, however, can now be removed thanks to laser technology and a skilled and steady handed technician.

Though his business is literally Fading Fast, Newmarket’s Shane Bolton, a certified laser tattoo removal specialist, is in high demand. Between his York Region and Toronto clinics, the 35-year old former tattoo artist, is busy eradicating inked skin canvas handiwork once vogue and now vague.

The tattoo removal pro is still pro tattoo.

“I love the tattoo industry and wanted to improve it,” he said. “I have tattoos and plan on getting more. By fading old tattoos, artists can cover them up and aren’t limited to mistakes done before. Or, if a client wants it removed all together, it can be done, safely and well.”

After apprenticing in Newmarket and applying ink for ten years, Mr. Bolton decided on a new direction.

“Tattooing is a growing business,” he said. “Tattoo removal is just as big.”

Certified by the manufacturer of his Cynosure laser, he explained how the process works.

Selective absorption of very high peak power laser light pulses by tattoo ink in the skin causes the targeted ink particles to breakdown without damage to surrounding tissues. The fragmented particles are then removed naturally from the skin by the body’s immune or lymphatic system.

Clients book removal sessions for as many reasons as getting a tattoo in the first place.

Mr. Bolton removes a significant number of names from the bodies of his clients.

“It doesn’t matter how long you’re together or married, don’t do it unless it’s a kid’s name,” he said. “I remove a lot of bands around arms, odes to a lover and bad or cheap tattoos.”

Chinese symbols, foreign words, prison tattoos and misspelled names are also often under his laser.

“Clients are supposed to check the spelling, but like circus idiots, they get excited and don’t because they can’t wait,” he said. “When I was tattooing I made them look at the stencil and sign it.”

Mostly, he’s asked to expel impulsive decisions.

“What was fashionable ten years ago isn’t today and what you were at 20 isn’t who you are at 40,” he said.

Aurora resident Courtney Silva, 26, knows too well.

An account executive and Fading Fast client, she’s in the second of eight to ten sessions to remove a flower tattoo atop her foot.

“Honestly, I’m still a fan of the tattoo, but when I got it at 18 I didn’t consider the implications,” she said. “I have a job that requires a lot of interaction and I don’t feel comfortable being defined by the tattoo. There are still stigmas and I think society makes a lot of decisions on first impressions. I’d rather not miss out on that opportunity.”

The $80 tattoo will cost Ms Silva significantly more to remove.

Rates vary subject to tattoo colours, size and complexity, Mr. Bolton said. On average, removal costs tenfold more than the application.

Considering his time, the number of sessions and his $120,000 Affinity Q Switch laser and $15,000 skin cooler, it’s justified, he said.

Laser tattoo removal is less painful than getting inked. The treatment may create superficial burns and skin area undergoes a whitening process which usually lasts for 10 to 20 minutes. Some people experience bruising, swelling, or pin point bleeding. Some develop blisters that heal within a week or two.

The laser feels like an elastic being snapped against your skin, explained heavily tattooed tattoo artist and client Philip Frauts.

“Compared to tattoo pain, it’s different,” he said while being treated to remove a wing and atomic bomb design originally intended to cover up a girl’s name on his chest. “It’s tolerable because you know you’re getting rid of something to don’t want anymore.”

Mr Fraust offers some simple advice: “Make sure you want it. Plan it out, make sure it’s livable and that it ages with you.”

The same applies to a removal specialist.

“Have it done by someone who’s trained, certified and has the best equipment,” he said.

Mr, Bolton also suggests finding a laser professional who adheres to Health Canada guidelines and has a portfolio of their work.

Ms Silva’s advice is to ask questions, get answers and feel comfortable with the removal specialist.

“The sessions are six to eight weeks apart,” she said. “It’s a year long relationship.”

For Fading Fast Laser Tattoo removal information, call 416-322-2922 or visit www.fadingfast.ca on line.”

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