More celebrities in recent years are rethinking their tattoos and proving that getting inked is not the lifetime commitment it once was.
Megan Fox is getting her tattoo of Marilyn Monroe removed, Angie Martinez is in the process of removing a tat, and both 50 Cent and Pharrell have removed several tats in the past two years. So are tattoos on their way out with celebs? Hardly.
If anything, the result of tattoo impermanence will be an increase in ink on celebrities who know that they can get tattoos removed as needed. Consider the young upstarts of the tat game: Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, who both generated a lot of press by getting tattoos. Oh yeah, and every up-and-coming rapper to emerge in the last five years.
These are all people looking to make statements right now — that they are grown up or edgy, or that they care about something so much that they had it “permanently” etched in their skin. When the time comes, however, that these newcomers have gotten everything they can out of whatever images their tattoos are supposed to project, and they decide they want a change, they will have options.
Tattoo removal techniques have greatly improved in the last twenty years. Laser removal is the most popular with celebs, though many report that laser removal is more painful than getting the tat in the first place. Another technique being developed is the use of skin grafts grown in a lab from the patient’s own skin cells to put down a new layer of skin covering tattoos.
Pharrell considered this technique before opting for laser removal. The skin graft technology apparently was not advanced enough for Pharrell, but it might be a viable alternative by the time the Bieber’s and Whiz Khalifa’s of the world start rethinking their tats.
The result of these advances in tattoo removal technology is that celebs have another tool in their image management toolbox, and tattoo removal specialists are taking their place next to cosmetic surgeons, stylists, and wardrobe advisors in the celeb army of image modification technicians.
Depending on where celebs’ careers are or where they want their careers to be, they may adjust the public’s perception by getting certain surgical enhancements, changing a hairstyle, modifying their wardrobe, hooking up or breaking up with another star, or getting or removing a tattoo.
So 50 Cent got his tats removed when he felt they were interfering with his film career, and Megan Fox is getting her Marilyn Monroe tattoo removed at a time when she hasn’t made a hit movie in years and needs to make a comeback (Fox says she is removing the tattoo because of its “negative energy”).
No doubt the next generation of tatted up stars will make similar choices when they need to later in life.