A TATTOO removal clinic believed to be Warrnambool’s first will open in the city this month amid safety warnings about the costly laser treatment.
Warrnambool has a small number of tattoo parlours inking designs, lover’s names, favourite bands and ironic images on to willing bodies, but there’s little option for those with buyer’s remorse.
Geelong-based dermal clinician Chanelle Morrison said Australian Skin Face Body on Fairy Street regularly took calls from people hoping to undo the ink.
“We will be able to treat all types of tattoos, whether they’re black ink or older ones,” Ms Morrison said.
“We’re also able to treat the cosmetic ones. A lot of people have been getting them on lips and eyelids.”
Depending on the size of the tattoo, treatment can take from six to eight sessions at the clinic costing as much as $400.
The clinic will use lasers to break up the pigment, which is then absorbed by the body’s lymphatic system.
But consumer group Choice has raised questions about the removal industry after its report revealed a lack of rules guiding laser use. “We’ve found that it’s fairly unregulated,” Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said.
“You see titles like certified laser practitioner or accredited clinician, but these are titles bestowed by the operator.”
Ms Morrison said the business required its staff to complete certificates in laser safety that were recognised by the Victorian government.
Choice is calling for state and federal health bodies to take a closer look at the industry and the enforcement of regulations.
“Twenty five per cent of people under the age of 30 have a tattoo … 34 per cent of those surveyed said they regret it,” Mr Godfrey said.
“It can cost anywhere between $500 and $4500 to have them removed and that’s for a 10-centimetre-by-10-centimetre, multi-coloured tattoo.”
Warrnambool IT worker Melanie McLean, 34, has been collecting tattoos for five years and says its popularity has soared.
“Definitely over the last couple of years … every single one of my mates has a tattoo,” she said.
“I’ve only got one friend who’s getting one removed.”
Ms McLean has no regrets about her tattoos.