Laser treatment no quick fix for tattoos

The tattoo, once flaunted mostly by soldiers, sailors and ex-cons, has come into the mainstream thanks in part to TV shows such as “L.A. Ink,” “Miami Ink” and the influence of celebrities.

VANCOUVER — The tattoo, once flaunted mostly by soldiers, sailors and ex-cons, has come into the mainstream thanks in part to TV shows such as “L.A. Ink,” “Miami Ink” and the influence of celebrities.

But today’s expression of individuality through body art can sometimes be tomorrow’s unsightly embarrassment.

Like the guy who appeared at Dr. Jason Rivers’ Vancouver clinic asking to have the corkscrew tattoo removed from his penis.

Judging from the growing number of people sporting ever more elaborate tattoos, dermatologist Rivers and his Ottawa colleague Dr. Sharyn Laughlin will likely get busier in the coming years.

“Some people don’t realize that what’s cool when you’re 20 doesn’t look so great when you’re 75,” says Rivers.

“The context of a tattoo in a young person versus somebody who’s older is totally different.”

A veteran Vancouver tattoo artist, who didn’t want to be named, says there’s a definite trend towards larger, more complex tattoos covering arms, backs and chests on both men and women.

It became almost cliche for young women to tattoo the lower back just above their butt cleavage.

“Personally, I love tattooing that spot and it’s a beautiful area,” he says.

“Then somebody came along and coined the term tramp stamp. Virtually overnight that spot’s not popular anymore.”

Instead, he says women are opting to have the side of their ribs done, which requires a little more commitment because it’s more sensitive.

Besides pigeon-holing the wearer, tramp stamps have another adverse side effect, says Laughlin.

“The problem with those is when those little girls decide to have babies of their own, the anesthetist won’t go through their tattoos to give them an epidural,” she says.

Age also is not the tattoo’s friend.

“If a woman gets a butterfly on her breast, there’s a good chance in a few decades it’s going to be a pterodactyl,” the artist says.

Distorted tattoos are a common reason patients show up at Laughlin’s and Rivers’ clinics.

Other times it’s buyer’s remorse, like a teenage girl who came to Laughlin the day after she and a friend got matching hip tattoos to commemorate their high school graduation.

Luckily the artwork hadn’t set and Laughlin was able to use an immune-enhancing cream to fade the tattoo.

But the girl’s friend opted to cut out the tattoo herself rather than face her parents, Laughlin says.

More often, though, it’s a change of lifestyle that prompts tattoo removal.

Just Posted

WATCH: Central Albertans learn about farm life at Sunnybrook Farm Museum

Pioneer Days Festival in Red Deer Saturday-Sunday

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

VIDEO: Central Albertans learn about Icelandic poet at Stephansson House

Harvest Fair and Quilt Show hosted at Stephansson House in Spruce View Sunday

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Wildfire moves closer to Glacier National Park’s scenic road

MISSOULA, Mont. — A wildfire in Montana’s Glacier National Park is forcing… Continue reading

Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Couillard march in Montreal’s Pride parade

MONTREAL — Thousands of cheering spectators lined the streets of Montreal on… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala,… Continue reading

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month