On Your Side
Tattoo removal on rise among job seekers
Courtny Gerrish reports Video by tmj4.comvideo
MILWAUKEE - 22-year-old Adrian Vasquez wants to be a Marine.
"There's alot of reasons why I wanna join," he says.
There's one thing holding him back--a homemade tattoo he got when he was 13. As he explains, "It was kinda one of those, hung out with a bad crowd."
Marines can't have visible tattoos while wearing their dress uniform. Laser technician Renee Walters sees many cases like Adrian's at the Laser Centers of Wisconsin, where she has removed thousands of tattoos.
"I feel bad actually. I inflict pain on every client every day," Walters exclaims.
From eagles, to roses, to the dreaded significant other tattoo, she's seen it all. From ankles, to necks, to behind the ear, Renee has seen tattoos in visible places that many employers look down on.
"The majority of them I do get is someone changing careers, or maybe someone trying to better themselves in a career," Renee explains.
Holly Dumproff recently began the tattoo removal process. The mom of two admits her dolphin belly tattoo seemed a lot more cool when she was in her twenties. "It didn't stay as nice as it started. It was time to go."
We sat in on her initial removal procedure.
"It stings, but goes quickly so it's not intolerable. It was fine," Holly says.
Whether for personal or professional reasons--tattoo removal is big business!
Dr. Mark Blakes is a plastic surgeon for the center. He says matter-of-factly, "Getting tattoos is on the rise, so only makes sense tattoo removal is on the rise as well."
Milwaukee-based ManpowerGroup puts over 3 million people to work every year. Vice President Melanie Holmes isn't surprised to see the rise in tattoo removal. "Employers, particularly when they are in customer service and dealing with the public have a right to have their employees look a certain way."
Holmes does have some good news for ink-lovers.
"If I were a job seeker, and had visible tattoos, I would do some research and find companies accepting of tattoos in the workplace. There are companies that are. Doesn't mean you can never get a job," she explains.
But people like Adrian aren't taking any chances. He has some advice for other kids. "Don't get a tattoo in an area you would have to get it removed someday."
Because in this economy a little ink could mean a lot of hassle in the end.
Tattoo removal isn't cheap. The laser procedure we showed you runs about $200 a pop, and usually takes about 6 to 7 sessions.
Another cool thing the doctors mentioned is a program they have called 'Lose The Tattoos'. It offers free tattoo removal to gang members who want to turn their lives around.