It seems that in the United States 40% of teenagers between 18 and 25 and 40% of those between 25 and 40 have at least one tattoo ( and you just need to take a look around to realize that the rest of the Western world isn’t too far away.
Although there are still people who struggle to accept them and job sectors where it’s not advisable to have any visible ones, it is undeniable that, compared to the past, in the last couple of decades tattoo has become a common and acceptable practice.

Thanks to this change of trend many people have increased their knowledge about tattoos and others have realized that they could have decorated their body paying more attention.
Now, before getting a tattoo, people tend to spend more time gathering information on the subject and looking for an artist with a style that suits their needs.
Unfortunately, there are still people who get tattooed in an instinctive way, relying on improvised (or at least very unprofessional) people or who look for the best price. It goes without saying that these people end up, in the best of cases, with tattoos of poor quality and of very questionable taste. Those who realize their mistake then search for artists who are able to cover those “insults”, but in spite of the artist’s skills it is not always possible to cover a tattoo.
Even those who have an old tattoo with which they are no longer happy, if they ever were, are often in search of a cover-up.

I understand those who realize that the tattoo done 20 years ago is no longer the work of art they once thought it was, but in the Internet age, where anything can be researched in real time, I find making the mistake of getting a crap tattoo almost inconceivable.
Everybody makes mistakes but nowadays it seems more deplorable.

The result of this “naivety” is that today cover-ups represent a good chunk of the tattoo market.
I don’t know any tattoo artist who is happy to do cover-ups, some may become an interesting challenge and raise one’s self-esteem if the artist has done an excellent job, but we are far from what I would call “a work done with enthusiasm.”
Doing a cover-up is always annoying and the larger and the darker the old tattoo is, the more difficult it will be to cover.

I am of the opinion that there is a basic semantic error when it comes to cover-ups, it would be more correct to speak of “camouflaging”. It really isn’t possible to cover an old tattoo, let alone maintain its same size, unless it is entirely covered with black.
Unless the tattoo is small enough to be covered by a dark area of the new tattoo, it is almost always a camouflage because the black of the old tattoo tends to resurface, not to mention the obvious changes colours undergo when they are superimposed.
If you are planning to cover a small tattoo you have to consider that a job well done will require a tattoo triple the size of the old one (or even larger). If the tattoo is big you will have to consider a “camouflaging job”, but it will require a good dose of luck to find a design that can hide the old one efficiently. A good camouflage can sometimes make us forget the old mess, but if you expect it to disappear completely I think it’s best that you talk to some guru who is able to perform miracles.
It is also appropriate to clarify that, in spite of what many people believe, you CAN NOT cover properly a tattoo with white ink!

Cover-ups are more expensive than a standard tattoo, they are more complex, challenging, difficult and require a larger amount of time compared to tattoos on “clean” skin.
The choice of subjects is obviously limited to those that best fit the purpose. In the vast majority of cases the most suitable subjects are: flowers, dragons, carps, biomechanicals, and all those subjects with elaborate patterns, but they aren’t always enough.
If you have an arm full of tribal decorations it will be almost impossible to cover it with something, a biomechanical could do the job but it can’t be taken for granted, it depends on how much un-tattooed space is still available.
Each cover-up requires careful evaluation, preferably live.

If a cover-up is not feasible, nowadays it’s possible to resort to laser tattoo removal.
Trying to improve a tattoo that you already don’t like or trying to hide it with something that doesn’t entirely satisfy you doesn’t make any sense, why reduce the feeling of discomfort when you can get rid of it?
It’s much better to remove the tattoo you don’t like and then think about what you want to do next when your skin is clean, or at least lighten the old tattoo before intervening.
Laser removal is a slow and painful process (more than a tattoo) but it allows you to “clean” or lighten the skin so that you can later evaluate the work you want free from constraints.

Having undergone laser removal myself I can give you some first-hand information.

As mentioned above, the procedure is more painful than a tattoo, FAR more painful, but the application of an anesthetic cream greatly eases the pain. For the cream to have effect follow the directions on the packaging carefully; usually you need to spread a layer of cream until it has been absorbed and then apply a second thick layer that needs to be covered with an occlusive dressing (plastic wrap/clingfilm can be used) and left in place for at least an hour and a half.

laser removal after 3 sittings on a 20 years old tattooLaser removal requires a long period of time, depending on the size, amount and type of colours used in the tattoo and on the depth and age of the tattoo ink. Typically from 3 to 5 sessions are needed to remove black ink (in some cases even more) and these should be spaced out at least 5 weeks apart. For a complete removal you’ll have to take into account a few months, provided that the tattoo can be treated all in one session, otherwise the time required will increase accordingly.

A good dermatologist is able to perform laser removal without leaving any scars.
Beware of improvised charlatans, wearing a lab coat and having a medical degree doesn’t always guarantee a job well done.

For this reason, when considering laser removal, the first thing you need to do is ask to see pictures of past work. Don’t be satisfied with before and after pictures (it’s way too easy to see a piece of skin with a tattoo and one without), ask to see pictures of the entire process so that you can be sure that you are dealing with someone who doesn’t leave any scars.
Also ask how many sessions are needed and then make sure they don’t charge an exorbitant price.
The number of required sessions varies depending on the tattoo (depth and quality of the ink used, age of the tattoo, colours, etc.) but the doctor should be able to give you an approximate number. 4/5 sessions should be enough to remove, or at least lighten, a black tattoo.
The most significant results can be observed in the first sessions, in the following ones progress becomes slower.
Turn to various centers in your area to get an idea of ​​costs and results.
If the amount of money they charge per sitting seems excessive, make sure it includes an open bar and jacuzzi, otherwise look elsewhere 😉

If you live or happen to be near Bergamo I suggest this center:
Eurodent S.r.l.

I also suggest watching this video:

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