Bad tattoos can create a world of pain, psychologically and seriously, and after performing thousands of tattoo removal treatments, we have heard all the stories!  They don’t have to be all shoddy workmanship by the tattoo artist either.

The Dreaded Ex

This one falls into the category of greatest regret! Who wants to be constantly reminded of their past nightmare right? We see letters, names and even a heart on the ring finger. Often, the letters and names are on the left chest in men, and more likely on the forearm of women. Not many of these clients reschedule their appointments if something else comes up in their life as they are so desperate to get rid of this nasty little reminder. We’ve had one client come in after two ex’s. You would have thought he had learnt already- children or parents’ names only please!

Tattoo Bleeds

Both thick line work, one in state of removal following an ink bleed.

You envisage a beautiful design, and it ends up a seeping mess… another heart breaker. Tattoo blowouts often occur when the artist presses too hard when inking the skin. The ink tends to go into the fat area below the usual tightknit of the skin, enabling the ink to move and blur.

Not all tattoo bleeds are from a heavy hand. Some areas of thinner skin can be predisposed to bleeding, such as the wrist, inside of the arm and the top of the foot, so as a preventative measure, tattoo placement can be a consideration. It appears that due to thinner skin, tattoo bleeds are also more common in women than men.

However, here is the caveat. In our experience, we have seen plenty of beautiful fine work in the above-mentioned areas without any sight of tattoo bleeding.


Line Work Gone Wrong

Fine line work tattooing is really an art form. These artists could make great surgeons in our opinion, so when a line is crooked, or a section has thicker ink, the work looks, well, …unimpressive! There are line work experts out there so do your research because many are truly beautiful.

Spelling Mistakes

You might have spent some time scanning the internet for these tattoos for a bit of a laugh. Some are so bad that they are quite hilarious, but not if it is on you personally, and you know the language you speak well. Yes, we have had one of these, but it was a word missing for the sentence to make sense! Non-sensical!

A geographical distortion of a large map back tattoo is another unfortunate error we have seen. States in the wrong place as well as countries. For a record of beautiful travelling, this indeed is not a highlight.

Need More Space

This one is for the dedicated tattoo lover. It still falls into the regret status, but more partially so as the space required is for an unloved tattoo, often not a hated one. They often have a vision and need to create it. One artist we see wants the colour tattoos gone to suit the greys and blacks of elsewhere. Yes, it is a change of mind, leading on to the next paragraph, but like any artist, the vision is evolving and creating it is the joy.

Change of Mind

Let’s talk about Neurology here first. Yes, you heard correctly. You are probably thinking what neurology has to do with tattoos?

Simple, it is all about the pre-frontal cortex, the decision-making part of the brain. Well, guess what- this doesn’t fully develop until the age of 25. I spoke to a client recently who is getting rid of all his tattoos. To him, they were the coolest thing ever, but as soon as he turned 25, he wanted them all gone. The age of 25 is a generalisation but well known in Neurology circles. Not everyone develops at the same pace, and not many want to hear their parents say, “I told you so” either.

The other change of mind tattoos we have seen are to do with locations, biker clubs and the deceased. We have seen plenty of the dreaded tramp stamps, the camel toe, and quite a few facial biker tattoos to remove. Regarding the last one, some have moved on, some are frustrated with entry denial into pubs and other clubs or simply by being hassled.

It is always sad to see a name and a date of someone special. You know there was so much grief here at the time this was done and for some time later. There will always be grief and sadness, it just gets easier to bear and the tattoo becomes obsolete because this special person is always in their heart anyway.


Here the tattoo is slightly raised due to scarring caused by the tattooist

Feeling a tattoo is never a good sign. The tissue has been damaged by the artist and prior to the use of fractional laser in tattoo removal, a scar will be left behind after removing the ink. Before this specialized new technology came onto the scene, tattoo removal in a scarred tattoo was always harder to remove. Scar tissue is fibrous and essentially locks in the ink particles, making the complete process of removal longer.

The worst we have seen is a large thigh tattoo and the artist was stoned. There is nothing worse than being tattooed by someone who is not in full control. It is no longer art, that is for sure.

Scarring is often a result of a very heavy hand, not seen in best tattoo practices.

Other scarring events we have seen are following shoddy laser tattoo removal by inexperienced staff and poor laser quality. The cheaper the price does not mean the removal will be successful and safe. One of our clients took legal action against a beauty clinic that used a cheap desk top Chinese laser with varying power output with staff who had no experience or knowledge of treating different skin types.


Hate is a strong word, but one we hear so often in practice of tattoos gone wrong or changes of mind. There are however solutions.

The Fix

If you notice your new tattoo bleeding within a few days, the first thing you should do is notify the tattooist. They may offer a cover up, but if you feel the artist is not skilled enough, perhaps seek another to cover it for you. If the ink is quite dark, just remember a coverup will have to be as dark or darker. This also applies to the dreaded ex, and line work gone wrong.

The other solution is of course laser tattoo removal. This can reduce the appearance of the blow out. Eight weeks is always required after the initial tattoo for either a coverup or laser removal. Tattoo removal is very effective if a cover up is not a solution for you.

Surgical removal has been an extreme option we have heard of. It is expensive, and you are left with a scar.

The Artist

So you have read above all the things that can go wrong. The most important preventative for many stuff ups is to choose the right artist in the first place. Prevention is always better than the cure-always! Do your research, talk to friends, spend time thinking about what you want and where you want it. Our advice is, if the location or what you want changes in three years, then move on, rethink your ink.

Experience and Technology

Marketing can be a very powerful influence, and it is important to thoroughly research yourself. Some laser companies have spent so much money on marketing, you cannot see the wood through the trees.

What matters is knowledge, experience, and technology. Understanding the science behind it as well as the individual skin types and using the correct machine is paramount for safe and effective removal in the clinic you seek.

Laser technology has advanced in the last few years. If the clinic you visit is not using fractional laser as well, move on. Fractional laser reduces scar tissue and reduces healing time. You want to heal faster, right? Scar tissue needs to be reduced to unlock the trapped ink particles.

If you have Skin type 4-6, the safest laser is the Discovery Pico Plus. Why? – it’s a simple physics formula- it is the highest-powered Pico laser in the world, meaning less energy is required for the same result, making it the safest laser. The engineers are of the opinion that the higher the power, the greater the fracturing of the ink particles, so less treatments are required for full removal. Win win. Where is it made- Italy.

So, our final advice, prevention is better than the cure, and safety and knowledge are better than a few dollars difference in treatment. Your research is therefore a powerful tool.