Laser tattoo removal a new challenge for nurse

By Anne-Marie Emerson

A new Wanganui business is helping rid people of their unwanted tattoos.

Registered nurse Katherine Rivers has operated her laser tattoo removal service since October and business has been steady, she said.

When she wanted a new challenge, she decided to take a course in laser safety.

"At the moment, there is no legislation governing laser tattoo removal - anyone can buy one of these machines and set themselves up. But I wanted to do it above board and be properly trained."

Most of her clients are women, she said.

"Tattoos are so common now, so obviously the number of people who later regret them is on the rise," Mrs Rivers said.

Some tattoos are easy to remove, while others may never be completely erased.

A tattoo's erasability is measured on the Kirby-Desai Scale which takes many factors into consideration.

"For example, If you have dark skin, a coloured tattoo with very dense ink that is deep in the skin will be very hard to remove," Mrs Rivers said.

She said some tattoos could take up to 15 treatments to remove, but most took just a few.

The treatment works by sending a laser beam into the skin, which shatters the inkwhich is washed into the bloodstream and harmlessly removed by the body's natural processes.

"People are often disappointed that they don't see a result immediately, but it takes the body a few weeks to break the ink down. That's why I always wait six or seven weeks between sessions," Mrs Rivers said.

First sessions cost around $50, although for large tattoos it may be more.

Mrs Rivers can be contacted on 021 428362.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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