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Video:Tips on Changing an Old Tattoo

with Mario Barth

Changing an old tattoo is a difficult and potentially costly process. Here are some tips on the best options for changing an old tattoo, including laser surgery or covering the tattoo up with a new tattoo.See Transcript

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Transcript:Tips on Changing an Old Tattoo

Hi, I'm Mario Barth and today for About.Com we're going to be talking about changing a tattoo. I personally believe that every tattoo can be changed or altered. Some are a little more difficult than others.

Cover Up Very Old Tattoos

If you have a tattoo which was done in the late '50s or '60s or its 30 or 40 years old it's most likely easier to cover. The biggest change in technology came about 10 years ago with the pigments. There were only seven available pigments at that time, seven different colors. Today there's a 160-180 colors. So the range for the tattoo artist is so big.

Use Colors to Change Old Tattoos

Lighter colors are always easier to cover. It really doesn't have that much to do with how deep the tattoo is done or how well it is done -- lighter colors are just easier to cover. You just have to be a little bit careful what you choose for a design. You can't go and have a black spot covered with a yellow rose. It just doesn't work.

But you can do it now with an orange color or with a red color. You would have to choose a little bit where you have some really good shading going on. If the tattoo artist is really good then it shouldn't be a problem to have a really bright tattoo afterwards.

Laser Off Some Old Tattoos

If there is a challenge, though, with some strong black spots then I would just recommend to go to a laser doctor -- you can get a laser removal done -- but only take the first or second session. You don't have to go and remove the tattoo completely, which is almost impossible, you just want to lighten it up and then go for a cover up.

I had the same look on this arm. Then I got it all lasered off and then I got a portrait of my wife.If you want to do an alteration of to a tattoo and the person wants to get a bigger tattoo, you always can do that. You can go and say, if you have a rose and you want to change it around, you can take parts away from that tattoo and add some other stuff to it and make it a different picture.

Changing Old Tattoos Is Difficult

One thing we can't forget is that the tattoo is a permanent design. Whatever is there has to fit in the new design. It's a permanent design. It's not that simple just to say, I wake up tomorrow and it's gone. It doesn't exist. You when you look in the mirror have to be happy. You have to walk around with this tattoo for hopefully for another 60 years.

Consider Your Reasoning Before Getting a Tattoo

If you are going to go in with your thought process that you maybe want to alter it or that technology is great enough that it can -- you're making a mistake. When you go for your first tattoo and you still have second thoughts that you maybe want to change it in the future, just don't sit down.

Thanks for watching. I'm Mario Barth. If you need more information go to About.com.

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