Well-known for his ‘pro-tattoo’ approach, MJ Driver is a renowned laser tattoo removalist and tattoo enthusiast. Having undergone laser treatment himself,
Driver and his team understand what it takes to deliver the best results for their clients, often working with tattoo artists for the best possible outcome for both full tattoo removal or lightening of a tattoo for a cover up.
As a strong advocate for the use of Cynosure technologies such as PicoSure, Revlite and Medlite for tattoo removal, we recently sat down with Driver who offered his insights into the world of laser tattoo removal.
What are the most common reasons people are getting their tattoos removed?
One of the main reasons is due to how drastically a person changes over the years, especially from an 18 to a 30 year old – Overall, 70% of our clients are in their late 20s or early-mid 30s. This is the age group that most likely received their tattoos around 10 years ago, and this is enough time to get sick of the old and be ready for the new or the tattoos don’t necessarily represent who they are today. Another popular reason is that either the tattoo hasn’t been well thought out, a spontaneous decision made in the wrong frame of mind or the wrong artist has been chosen to apply the tattoo.
What are the most common types of tattoos and areas that people have removed?
With tattoo removal, we don’t usually come across too many unique designs! The tattoos we remove are usually stereotypical of a certain era, for example in the 90’s it was tribal and now it is typically an infinity symbol, more recently turning into bird silhouettes. The most common symbol that we remove is the Southern Cross, followed by either a cross or upside down cross, with the arms, tops of the shoulders or inside of the wrist the most popular area for removal. Finger tattoos have been an increasingly popular spot for removal in recent times.
What is your opinion on the ‘tattoo regret’ positioning that gets used so often within the media? Do you find that many of your clients regret their tattoos?
I grew up on punk rock music, tattoos were always around and on the people I looked up to, so to me tattoos will never be a regret. I only wish I’d made better decisions on the tattoos I got when I was younger. Probably 50% of our clients are choosing to lighten or fade their old tattoos to get new, better tattoos that represent them at a new stage in life, versus completely removing them.
Which laser technology do you prefer to use in your clinics?
Cynosure lasers, including PicoSure, Revlite and Medlite C6, are able to safely remove, lighten and tidy up tattoos. PicoSure will achieve complete clearance on more colours than any laser that I have seen previously, with treatments being less painful (though still a bit uncomfortable!) and downtime considerably faster and better than Q-Switch Technology. However, to clear some denser, more stubborn tattoos, Medlite C6 or Revlite is the perfect tool to get the job done.
Why do you think laser tattoo removal is the best option in comparison to a cover up?
I learnt the hard way when I was 18. I had a consultation with a laser clinic and was provided a quote and all the information regarding my removal but instead I opted to go straight for a cover up with my tattoo artist. I ended up hating the tattoo even more than before and then decided to push forward with laser removal from there. This time the area was much larger, denser and the process more time consuming, painful and expensive!
How often do you see poor laser removal work?
Every. Single. Day. A lot of people think they can buy a cheap laser and make a million dollars, but it doesn’t work like that at all! It’s the old adage ‘cheap equipment ain’t good, and good equipment ain’t cheap’. When lasers vary between $1,500-$300,000 it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out there is a vast difference in the quality and reliability between those dollar figures. I’ve been around long enough and seen a lot of irreparable skin trauma caused by cheap equipment.
You and your team are known for having a real appreciation for tattoos – why do you think this is important?
This way of thinking is imperative for my business. When I was younger, going to laser consultations at a bunch of different clinics I was spoken to quite badly as I only ever intended on lightening my tattoos for newer, nicer tattoos. No one wants to go to a judgemental clinic, go through anxiety and pain and then hand over potentially hundreds of dollars. Treat your clients with respect and offer a comfortable experience.
What is your advice for people who are looking to do tattoo removal or a cover up?
Be sure to have a detailed chat with your chosen removal clinic or technician, and plan for patience as it takes time – a lot of time. However, when a new tattoo is completed over that area, there is no better feeling in the world than feeling comfortable in your own skin again!
Ready to find your beautiful? Get started by locating a Cynosure provider near you.