A Greek warrior shot by an arrow bleeds to death in pursuit of Felix, 43, Valencia. Obviously, the scene doesn’t actually happen, but it’s sketched on your skin. Felix, a fan of Greek mythology, thought that fate was ironic with him: not so long ago, he painted his girlfriend’s name exactly on the heel. When they broke up and she wanted to forget his name anyway, she immediately thought of Achilles. “It was an emotionally painful process”, says Felix over time, “love was my weakness and that’s why I decided to cover the name with this metaphor”.
Tattoo removal was a nuisance a few years ago. Whether because it was necessary to participate in some opposition, or because some employers would not tolerate it, many people have gone through the painful sessions that involve laser tattoo removal. But times have changed and advances have come in three different ways.
“Now many people come to cover it up instead of erasing it,” says professional tattoo artist Tanya Dmytrochenko, owner of the Arte Salvaje studio in Valencia. Tania attends Levante-EMV after retouching paint for a client. In the language of tattoo artists, tattoo coverage is known by the English expression “cover”.
The evolution of this world has made the original professionals. “Before we covered tattoos with anything, we found an accessible design, but now the knowledge of drawing and coloring has been applied. Often, what is hidden is asymmetrical names, so, for example, forests can be presented with black trees”, he says Tanya.
End of Love
In the final sentence, the tattoo artist reveals the main reason for wanting to cover up the design: the end of love. Exactly what happened to Felix. A person’s amorous impulsiveness leads to decisions that, due to an excess of romanticism, end up being problematic in the future. “I had a client cover up as many as five names of five female friends,” says Tanya, laughing. The only question is whether this client is the ultimate romantic or a true stray. “The most common case is wanting to hide ties with another person, shared names and dates tattooed a lot. Before I start, I tell people not to do that, but they don’t listen to me. Someone told me to do it in a way that it would be easier to cover up in the future.”
Disgust is one of the reasons, but not the only one. Keep a close eye on fashion: The tribal tattoos and Chinese characters that popularized the tattoo world at the turn of the century are outdated.
Tanya explains that she gets many customers with ancient tribal fragments that she transforms into flowers, taking advantage of their shape. After honing her coloring techniques, she was able to turn this martial symbol into tranquil designs that included shades of pink, green, or blue. “The art has changed a lot… The key is that the new tattoo has to be more beautiful than the old one.”
“In modern machines, the risk of burns is very low”, explains the assistant dermatologist at Hospital La Fe, Antonio Sahuquillo, who also works in the private area of “tattoo” removal. “The ones we had ten years ago are nothing like them now. They have evolved a lot and are very effective in removing ink and reducing the risk of scarring”, says Sahuquillo. So-called picosecond lasers became popular in 2019, plus they’re less uncomfortable—although tackling pain is always a very personal thing, he says. “With the right number of sessions, you could theoretically erase 100%.”
According to the doctor, “there is no scientific evidence that removing a ‘tattoo’ is worse than covering it up”, although the subject is debated. When cleaning, explains Sahuquillo, what is done is to create a scar on the skin and, at best, “you have to risk hyperpigmentation.”