CHANCES are, what you thought was totally cool when you were 18 isn't all that suave 20 years later.
And if you were the impulsive type, one to get a tattoo of perhaps a lover's name inked on your body, you could be in the growing population of people suffering from tattoo regret.
Coffs Harbour cosmetic tattooist Rosalie Pech, of Cosmetic Tattoo by Rosalie, offers tattoo removal as part of her service and said she had noticed a massive increase in clients opting to get their ink gone.
"There are so many reasons why people want to get tattoos, but there are equally as many reasons why people want to get them removed," Ms Pech said.
Last week Ms Pech had four tattoo removals in as many days.
"Tattoo removal is very necessary and there is a big call for it," she said.
"Thirty years ago people were getting cartoons on them, but now tattoo trends are more tribal or geometric so people are growing out of them."
One South Grafton mother said she was one of the lucky ones who, despite having 10 tattoos over 20 years, did not regret one.
"I got my first tattoo at 18, it is a little squiggly tramp stamp; I thought it was ever so cool at the time," Lisa McPhee said.
"It was a dodgy job... but I am ok with that because it's all part of my story, where I was and what I was doing when I was 18."
Ms McPhee said even though having visible art on her skin had made her subject to discrimination more than once, it defined who she was and removal was out of the question.
"I have been treated significantly differently by storekeepers and the public since I have had visible tattoos; people instantly assume you are a delinquent because you have ink," Ms McPhee said.
"I have been asked on many occasions things such as 'What will you do when you get old?' - I'll be an old lady with kick-arse tattoos, and even if I forget the words to the stories, I'll still have the pictures.
"And my favourite quote to relay to people when they comment negatively about my tattoos is this, 'The only difference between a tattooed person and an un-tattooed person, is that tattooed people don't care if you are not tattooed."
LISA'S TIPS FOR TATTOO SELECTION
- Get something you love that will have an eternal meaning to you.
- Avoid fads, dolphins, butterflies, star signs, lovers' names, logos, etc.
- Hang the image on your bathroom mirror, look at it every day. If it is still there in six months, you might be committed enough to ink it for life.