Despite Justin Bieber’s growing collection of religious tattoos, the hot Hollywood trend is tattoo removal.
Marc Anthony got Jennifer Lopez’s name blasted off his arm by a laser even before he filed for divorce. And he got a tattoo of the Statue of Liberty, a pet name for his new girlfriend Shannon De Lima, put in its place.
Mark Wahlberg had had his Bob Marley/One Love arm emblem taken off because he doesn’t want his kids to get tattoos. He said: “I’ve taken my two older kids to the procedure so they see how painful it is and what I have to go through. It's like getting burned with hot bacon grease ... Hopefully that will deter them.”
Megan Fox has already started the excruciating process of removing, via laser, the Marilyn Monroe portrait on the inside of her right arm. She told Ellen DeGeneres, "I've only done one session on it, but it is incredibly, incredibly painful. Wherever the ink is, the laser hits it and it sort of pops up like little pieces of popcorn and explodes your skin. It's really awful. So kids, don't ever get tattoos!"
We hear she's targeted two more tatts for removal, perhaps inspired by the airbrushing of one on her back (inspired by Mickey Rourke) for a Grazia cover: "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music," which is a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche.
But lasers are not just painful. They also can't get rid of all ink colors. Black ink responds well, but brown, yellow, orange, pink, white, purple and green is more difficult to remove.
That’s why Dr. Raphael Nach, board-certified in plastic surgery and otolaryngology at the Osbourne Head and Neck offices in Cedars-Sinai Medical East, has begun using a product called Rejuvi to remove ink colors from his celebrity patients. And no, he can’t reveal who the patients are -- I tried to find out, trust me.
Word of mouth about the Rejuvi treatment is spreading fast because the process is so much less painful than lasers. In fact, the removal feels no worse than initially getting tattooed, which is to say, not very much. Rejuvi also takes far fewer treatments to get the ink out.
Here’s how it works. A mild anesthetic gel is applied to the skin. Patients are then treated with a tattoo needle that deposits the Rejuvi brownish yellow chemical. It bonds with the ink and draws it up out of the skin. You can watch a video of the process on the Rejuvi Tattoo Removal site.
The technique was developed in the mid-‘90s, and initially approved in the US for permanent makeup removal only. Dr. Nach stresses that the treated area must be kept dry for three days, so no baths or swimming. Scabs will form and must be left on for 10-14 days for permanent makeup, 15-25 days for body tattoos.
After the scab falls off naturally, a special Rejuvi healing cream is applied. You must wait 2-3 months between treatments. A body tattoo, depending on the size, can take from 3-7 treatments to be fully removed. Each treatment takes around 60 minutes. But the procedure is surprisingly affordable: Larger tattoos will take longer, but each session costs only $250-$350.
We can't help but wonder if stars who have put off removals may seek treatment now that the excruciating pain factor is gone.
Sienna Miller has a lipstain on her wrist and a cluster of blue stars inked on her shoulder. Charlize Theron wears a goldfish on her ankle. Brad Pitt had Angelina Jolie's doodle on his back inked in permanently.
Then there's Kelly Osbourne's pink angel wings on her back with the words "I love my mommy" in French. Helen Mirren never bothered to remove a star on her hand that she got when she was young and admittedly "very very drunk."
Perhaps Eve has tired of those grey cat paw tattoos on her chest. Or Penelope Cruz may be fed up with being asked about the mysterious "883" numerals on her ankle to intrusive journalists.