NTattoos decorate the whole body of educator Vanessa Stark from Berlin. But two failed specimens must disappear. That's why the 24-year-old has been visiting a laser studio for weeks now. "That's pretty annoying and not cheap," she says.

Just the removal of a mandala on the hand costs about 1300 Euro – about ten times the tattoo price. Like her many other tattoos in Germany. And it could become even more expensive in the future.

Tattoo removal by laser – this is currently still anyone who has a device and a trade license and has completed a laser safety course. But according to a new ordinance on radiation protection, from the end of 2020 only doctors will be allowed to offer the service.

The future of many laser studios is therefore uncertain: "We do not yet know what will happen," says Markus Lühr, founder of the Tattoolos chain, which works with alternative practitioners. Doctors may not hire the GmbH. "Tattoo removal will be much more expensive in the future, and there will be long waiting times. I hope that the whole thing does not drift off into a gray area and is practiced in the back rooms, "says Lühr.

Soon illegal treatment or abroad?

This fear is shared by the founder of Finally Without, Andrea Goeman. "Our customers are often very burdened by their tattoos and soon have no way to legally remove them legally at affordable prices. I hope that the policy will give in, "says the non-medical practitioner from Hanover, who works at beauticians and nurses nationwide, but also consulting physicians. The new regulation is destroying for their enterprise. Goeman expects customers to go abroad for tattoo removal in the future.

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The Karlsruhe dermatologist and laser expert Christian Raulin, however, emphasizes: "A doctor has an education, medical understanding and in many cases an ethic."

In almost half of the cases, he guesses against tattoo removal. "If I see that the colors are unfavorable or the tattoo is too big, I will keep my hands off it." Tattoos that cover half an upper arm are still removable from his point of view. On the other hand, he prophesies that the tattoos of the First and Second Bundesliga, which are tattooed on a large scale, have a different fate: "They will have to keep the tattoos their whole life."

"Have to settle for beach visits where we will see faded tattoos"

"The new regulation unfortunately leads to fewer doctors being available for their actual job: to take care of the patients," says the CDU health politician Alexander Krauß. "In the coming years, we'll probably have to put up with beach visits, where we'll see faded tattoos that are not really beautiful. Because many will lack the money to have these tattoos removed. "

In a laser treatment, the dye particles are shot into small pieces. The fragments should be removed from the body or dismantled. Possible side effects: According to the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, the destruction of some pigments can cause toxic and carcinogenic compounds such as hydrocyanic acid or benzene. It also warns of burns, pigmentation, inflammation, and scarring if the laser is not used properly.

"If the tattoo is a suspicious birthmark, skin cancer can develop almost unnoticed after a laser treatment," adds Raulin. In addition, it is possible that allergic substances from the tattoo spread throughout the body: "Then it itches suddenly everywhere."

It is also conceivable cold therapy

Lasers, according to Raulin, are the only option. In addition, unpleasant images but also sanded or filed, etched away with acid or treated with liquid nitrogen by cold therapy. Because of aesthetically unacceptable scars, pigmentation disorders and other permanent side effects, these procedures should be strictly rejected.

Ideally, a professional tattoo can be removed after up to 20 or more sessions. However, clinical experience shows that about one third of patients did not succeed in removing them completely even after many sessions.

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Tips for skin care

Especially colorful and multi-colored tattoos and those that contain a lot of color pigments are difficult to remove, according to the doctor, who often experiences that tattoo artists just are not the hoped for Picasso or Durer. "It turns a owl into a duck and a shark into a cod."

Often, however, the motives were no longer wanted – such as ass-antlers or the name of the ex-partner. "And sometimes there just has to be room for something new," adds Tattoolos founder Lühr.

"The lines are way too thick," Vanessa Stark criticizes the mandala on her hand. Even more annoying is a tattoo on her thigh. "Here too much was stung, there were scars formed," said the Neuköllnerin, which also models.

There are only estimates of the number of tattoos. According to a study published by the University of Leipzig in 2017, there are about 16 million people. 1.2 million patients undergo laser tattoo removal every year.

(t) Tattoos (t) Tattoos (t) Newsteam (t) Radiation Protection (t) Cosmetics (t) Cold Therapy (t) Tattoo removal (t) Leipzig (t) Health (t) Tattoo (t) Laser treatment (t) Vanessa Stark (t) Second Bundesliga (t) GmbH

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