TATTOOS are a booming business on the Sunshine Coast.
But for the hundreds getting their skin inked, there are plenty lining up to have their tattoos removed - or faded - to be covered up with better ones.
That's where laser tattoo removal comes in.
Using high powered laser lights, the medical grade devices, costing about $30,000, can make quick work of removing tattoos - often in just a few sessions.
We went along to watch a tattoo being removed this week.
Alek said it was like being hit with a rubber band on his leg "by about 1000".
But the use of numbing cream made the 15 to 20 minute session more than bearable - and the result was super quick.
How long it takes to remove a tattoo depends on the colour of the ink and how deep it was originally inserted.
Black ink is the easiest to remove, greens are often very difficult, and white near impossible. A professional tattoo can take 2 to 12 sessions to remove.
The laser device makes a loud popping noise as it hits the skin with bolts of light over a fraction of a second.
"It feels like a rubber band flinging into your skin but it's also got some warmth to it,'' Alek said of the feeling.
He was there to remove a poorly done tattoo, which he admits he got 'on impulse' because it was 'free'.
Victoria Campbell, who has been a beauty therapist on the Sunshine Coast for nearly 20 years, said she had spent the past three years looking at different machine options before doing more than 100 hours of training on the machine she uses.
How many tattoos do you have?
This poll ended on 14 July 2015.
Less than five
More than five
More than 10
More than 25
More than 50
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
She said she knew well what it was like to have a bad tattoo - and equally well what it was like to have one poorly removed.
"There were times I would not take anything off because I had bad tattoos or bad laser treatments.''
Victoria said she loved helping people, particularly young women, who wanted to get tattoos removed.
She said those with bad tattoos were often forced to cover up despite Queensland's hot weather.
Others were having tattoos removed because they could not get a job with them - or to get into the military.
Others just wanted to replace faded ones with new designs which were more contemporary. "The Pamela Anderson armband is not so popular for some now.''
"A lot of people come in wanting to get fades for cover ups,'' she said.
The cost of removing a small tattoo starts at about $60.
For more information: www.sunnycoastinkout.com.au or phone 0402 277 629.
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