TATTOO: The Mark
Used with permission by Terry Watkins
One of the businesses booming
(along with the medical profession and pharmaceuticals thanks to the "hepatitis
C-tattoo" alliance) as a consequence of the tattoo-craze is the dermatology
industry. According to the American Society of Dermatological surgery, over
50% of everyone receiving a tattoo wants it removed.
Tattoo removal via laser surgery is among the fastest growing areas of the
Depending on the size of the tattoo and colors used, the laser tattoo removal
surgery can be very painful and very expensive. Tattoos performed by commercial
tattoo parlors are much more difficult to remove because the tattoo is deeper,
the ink more complex and thicker. It normally takes between 10 and 15 laser
surgery sessions to remove the average tattoo, but 25-30 sessions are not
uncommon, depending on the complexity of the tattoo. When you consider the
average single session costs between $400 - $800, the removal surgery can be
very expensive, costing as much as $20,000. That $25 tattoo might cost $5000 to
remove. And may I remind you, health insurance does not cover tattoo removals –
this is strictly out of the pocket expenses. And yet despite this enormous
personal cost, most people are so disgusted with their tattoo they’ll literally
pay any cost to have it removed.
Plastic Surgeon Tolbert S. Wilkinson, of San Antonio, Texas, who has removed
"If people only realized how difficult it is to remove a tattoo,
understood how costly and how painful tattoo removal is, and recognized that
society as a whole still views tattoos as a stigma, maybe they would think
seriously before getting one.
Laser removal costs a minimum of $7,000.00 (national average) per tattoo, and
takes at least 10 to 15 treatments, spread out over two or more years. Even
with this treatment, the tattoo is still visible." http://www.heloise.com/tattoo.html
Tattoo author Laura Reybold, writes that ". . .an ever rising number of
people are so unhappy with their tattoos that they are willing to pay anything
to have them removed."
"Yet an ever rising number of people are so unhappy with their tattoos
that they are willing to pay anything to have them removed. Tattoo removal
laser surgery is becoming big business for the dermatologists who perform it."
(Laura Reybold, Everything you need to know about the dangers of tattooing
and body piercing, p. 30)
Ronald Scutt, says in Art, Sex and Symbol that even among sailors in
the Royal Naval, over 50% regretted ever getting a tattoo. And among the married
it rose to over 70%
"From the statistics of the Royal Naval survey, the most significant
factor to emerge was almost certainly the incidence of regrets. Out of the
whole sample, more than half admitted that they wished they had never been
tattooed. In the married group, the figure rose to around 70 per cent."
(Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 179)
One article claims that as many as 80 percent of people with tattoos
regret their tattoo. (www.spacecom.af.mil/hqafspc/News/News_Asp/nws_tmp.asp?storyid=02-93)
We receieved the
following email shortly after we published this article on the web.
(Used with permission).
I've just completed reading your article on tattooing and the truth of
it all deeply troubled me. I am a Christian, and like most I've back-slidden
several times throughout my life. During one of these times, I recieved two
One is a "tribal" band on my left arm, though it doesn't fully circle
the whole upper-arm. The other is on my right shoulder, the letters "MSC" in
cursive writing signifying the names of my best friend, his wife, and their
little daughter. Even though I love my friend and his family, I deeply
regret getting their initials tattooed onto my body. Moreover, I seriously
and gravely regret with all my heart getting my other tattoo (the tribal
band on my left arm).
Being a few years older now (29 and married) there is not a day that
goes by that I don't regret getting these tattoos. When I dress, I'm forced
to see them in the mirror. When I shower I'm forced to see them.
What makes matters worse, is that I knew all along that it is was
wrong. I justified it with a back-slidden mind by thinking such things as
"God only considers the heart and mind", "physical sins don't compare to
spiritual sins", and so on, and so on. With my depraved and back-slidden
mind, I justified an abomination to God Himself, who instructs us through
His divine law not to print any marks on our bodies (Leviticus 19:28). If
this is the law that will be used to rightly judge the world, how much more
should we as Christians observe and uphold it?
The woman doing my first tattoo (the tribal band) had to stop several
times for mysterious reasons. She was visibly shaken and could not
concentrate. She kept saying, "man, I need a break." Though It wasn't for my
sake, I hid the pain very well and tuned it out for the most part--but this
woman could not wait to get me out of that chair. She claimed that she drank
quite a bit the night before (I was getting the tattoo on a saturday
afternoon), and this seemed to be the most logical reason that she was
having such a tough time. I can't help but wonder, however, if there was
more to it. Even then my diminished discernment was working, and I sensed a
spiritual conflict taking place. When the woman had finished, she made a
disturbing remark that will foever echo in mind, "there ya go, you're no
longer a virgin." Of course, she spoke not of physical sexuality, but of
spiritual defilement against God in the form of marking my flesh. Now I was
"one of the gang", one of the "cool people", and one of the rebels who
shakes their fist at the law of God.
I'm still troubled, even knowing that I'm forgiven. My only hope is
for the glorification of the body, when the Lord shall raise us
uncorruptable. My tattoos stand as constant reminders of my past depravity
when I forsook truly walking with God, and only rendered Him lip-service.
They will continue to be my marks of shame for the rest of the time
appointed. Thank you for your article. Hopefully this message will get out
and all the right people will hear it, and save them from the fate of my
shame and regret. It would bring great solace to know that another person
would read your article and avert my mistakes--which I would take back in a
second if only I had the chance. Through my own research, I've drawn all the
same conclusions you have concerning tattooing, body modification, and other
May the Lord bless you and grant you peace and understanding,
Before you let that ink "mark" you for life you’d better think very careful
about the possible health, spiritual and social consequences. Most people later
regret, and even hate, their tattoo. The cost of getting a tattoo can be very
high among social and health risks.
"Emotional risks include negative feelings you might have as a result of
getting a tattoo or piercing. Social risks are those that could damage your
relationship with others, including friends, parents, teachers, and employers.
. . For example, body modification can affect your chances for future
employment. Certain jobs are not available to people who have visible body
(Bonnie B. Graves, Tattooing and body piercing, p. 43)
"The fact that so many people change their minds should lead you to
think carefully about whether you want to lock yourself into a fashion
statement that might cause you a lot of aggravation and heartache later in
(Laura Reybold, Everything you need to know about the dangers of tattooing
and body piercing, p. 32)
"What so few realize, tragically, is that such a mark [tattoo] becomes
the albatross around the neck for all time."
(Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 181)
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole
spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our
Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-23
Various Subjects and The Bible's Answers