BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Tattoo regret is real. It is estimated that 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo, and 17 percent reportedly have some regret after getting inked.
There's a new laser in Baton Rouge that is letting those people rethink their ink. It is called the PicoWay, and there's only one machine like it in Louisiana.
"I was young, ya know, had no thought behind it, just one day up and got it," David Landry recalled while showing off a tribal tattoo between his shoulder blades. "I don't like it anymore. You go to the beach, take your shirt off and it's kind of embarrassing."
His story is all too familiar.
"It was a typical 18-year-old mistake, also 21-year-old mistake," Crystal Durbin said with a sigh. "I have one on my foot and my lower back. Sounded like a great idea at the time."
Jeanna Baron can't even look at her tattoo without feeling creeped out.
"I am frightened to death by bugs – any type of bugs – and I actually have a dragonfly on me. I was 18. Me and a bunch of my sorority sisters though it was a good idea to go get one."
All three are now getting their fading memories permanently erased. The PicoWay laser fires so fast it has to be measured in picoseconds. That is
one-trillionth of one second.
"With the new picosecond technology it pulverizes the ink into much, much finer particles, allowing it to be effectively cleared by the body's natural mechanisms," said Dr. Todd Howell, a general surgeon and ER doctor who founded the Aesthetic Medicine & Anti-Aging Clinics of Louisiana.
The PicoWay has different wavelengths and speeds to target specific colors of ink. It is less painful than previous lasers because it puts out less heat. A numbing cream is also used to help minimize pain.
"We see everybody from the Marine who had one too many tattoos in Tijuana to the debutant who's looking to get married that's got something on her back that she regrets," Howell said.
It usually takes three to six treatments at several hundred dollars apiece, depending on the size of the tattoo. The three patients 9News met are still early on in the process, but say they already notice a difference.
"I've had one treatment done," Baron said. "It's not that painful, and I can already tell it's fading."
"I will be so proud of myself and I will be so thankful to get rid of them, because I do have three children, and they do notice mommy's pictures," Durbin said.
The PicoWay laser also works on skin spots and freckles. Click here for more information.