By Art Holliday
UNVIERSITY CITY, Mo. (KSDK) - "One hundred percent of my business is tattoo regret," said Jennifer Johnson.
Johnson, a Certified laser technician, walks into a small room containing her laser equipment. She's followed by her client Billy Rath, a tattoo artist whose face is covered with tattoos he wants to get rid of.
"I started getting my face tattooed about eight years ago," said Rath. "I wanted to push it to the next level. Young and dumb."
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Rath is an example of tattoo regret: someone who decides they have tattoos that just aren't working for them anymore.
"With the face tattoos, I get the dirtiest looks," said Rath. "I can't even go to the grocery story with my 3-year-old daughter without someone staring or saying something."
Rath has so many face tattoos he figures it will be three to four years of laser treatments before the tattoos are removed. His treatments are at Vanishing Point Laser Tattoo Removal. Ironically, it's the same location as All Star Tattoos in University City. Laser tattoo removal is the non-invasive removal of tattoo pigment using lasers that break down the ink in the tattoo.
"It's highly effective for certain colors," said Johnson. "Blacks and reds respond extremely well to the laser."
Johnson says she's removed all kinds of tattoos for a variety of reasons: jobs that don't allow tattoos, misspellings, and falling out of love with the person whose name you tattooed on your body.
"I tell everybody, if it's a name, don't do it unless it's your baby or your mama," laughed Johnson.
The cost for laser tattoo removal is around $100 per session. Depending on the size of the tattoo, it can take a number of treatments, sometimes lasting years. In case you're wondering, it hurts.
"It's feels like sticking your face over a hot skillet with a pound of bacon in there and the hot grease flying up on your face," said Rath, during his latest treatment.
Rath says think long and hard about your new tattoo because you may change your mind about something that seemed like a good idea at the time.
"For a lot of people out there getting face tattoos and they don't even have a job. Not a good idea. Think it through," he said.