Zap Away Tattoos … Faster! - FOX 35 News Orlando

Zap Away Tattoos … Faster!

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Some call it art. Others call it regret.

"I thought it was going to be pretty, but it wasn't," recalls Kaitlyn Rendel.

When she was just 15, Rendel decided to permanently ink her favorite quote on her body.

"It says don't lose your soul to gain the world," Rendel says.

But at 20, that decision is now one she wishes she could take back.

"I asked my mom and he said, ‘Oh sure,'" Rendel recalls. "I wish she would have said no."

J. Matthew Knight, M.D., of the Knight Dermatology Institute, says about 15 to 20 percent of those who get a tattoo eventually remove it.

"The majority are young females in their 20s or 30s that may have had a tattoo placed in their late teens and for social or occupational reasons just really want it gone," Dr. Knight says.

Today Dr. Knight is using the latest technique to erase Rendel's body art.

The R20, developed in Europe, promises to cut the removal time down from a year to just a few months. Instead of getting just one session today, Rendel is getting four, spaced just 20 minutes apart.

"When shooting the laser into the skin, like playing pool when you use the white ball and break the rack up, that's what we're doing," explains Dr. Knight. "We're smashing that tattoo pigment into little tiny bits that your immune system can come in like little tiny pac-men and gobble up and take away and that's why you see lightening of the tattoo over time."

So far, studies show the R20 doesn't increase scarring or side effects.

"The challenge for scientists and doctors is to take an unknown tattoo and eliminate it in a rapid and successful way and it's really a challenge but i think we're right on the forefront of some really cool technology," Dr. Knight says.

Rendel is excited to see the results, but if there's anything she's learned from her experience...

"If you want to get a tattoo that bad you need to wait," she says. "It's a big mistake."

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