Favorite

Taketh away 

Tattoo buyer's remorse? There's help.

26coverside_image1.jpg
 

Though you can’t see it, the invisible beam of laser light hitting Jodi Taylor’s skin a couple of times a second is audible enough: a sharp, sparkplug ZAP! that sounds like the repeat of a miniature Buck Rogers disintegrator pistol. The result is almost as striking. As the laser moves over her tattoo — a wild horse, galloping across her ankle — every ZAP! makes the skin rise in a tiny white dot.

Like many people who come in for laser removal, Taylor has simply outgrown her tattoo — something that once spoke to her strongly enough that she had it printed on her skin. Now a young mother from Malvern, more interested in wearing skirts to school functions than youthful expression, she’s ready to be rid of her permanent pony.

“I got it when I was 22,” she said. “It seemed like a good idea then, because I had horses and I was into horses. But now, I work in consulting, and I’m a mom. It just seems kind of tacky.”

The man behind the laser is Dr. Jay Kincannon, a dermatologist at UAMS. One of Arkansas’s foremost experts on making tattoos disappear, Kincannon has been doing laser removals for 12 years.

Though older tattoo-removal options like excision (cutting it out) and dermabrasion (sanding it off) are still around, for larger tattoos or tattoos in delicate areas, laser removal is the best option. Kincannon said the lasers he uses can be tuned to interact only with certain colors in a tattoo (for black inks, like the outline of Taylor’s horse, the light is invisible to the naked eye).

“The pulse of light goes through the skin and it’s not absorbed by anything else — the water, the collagen, the epidermis,” he said. “But once it sees the red of the tattoo ink, it’s absorbed (by the pigment) and it changes from light to heat. The heat actually destroys the pigment so the pigment bursts.”

Once the individual molecules of pigment are destroyed, the body’s immune system comes in and cleans up the debris.

Though the patient is generally numbed up before the procedure begins, Taylor and others said that the individual pulses of light are no more painful than someone popping the skin lightly with a rubber band. Unless the treatment is particularly heavy, scarring is usually minimal, though sometimes there might be some pinpoint bleeding from the area after the treatment. With large tattoos, there can be thinning of the skin. If a patch of skin has been repeatedly tattooed, it is sometimes impossible to get all the ink out.

Note: Go to this link to see the tattoo removal process in action.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by David Koon

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.

Latest in Top Stories

  • Good for the soul

    The return of Say McIntosh, restaurateur
    • Jun 1, 2010
  • Robocalls are illegal

    Robocalls -- recorded messages sent to thousands of phone numbers -- are a fact of life in political campaigns. The public doesn't like them much, judging by the gripes about them, but campaign managers and politicians still believe in their utility.
    • May 31, 2010
  • Riverfest winds down

    With Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Steve Miller Band, Robert Cray, Ludacris and more performing.
    • May 30, 2010
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation