Tattoo removal on the rise in Germany

Tattoo removal on the rise in Germany
Ass antlers! Photo: DPA
Tribal style lower-back tattoos known as Arschgeweih, or “ass antlers” in Germany, were popular in the 1990s. But now a herd of Germans are stampeding to get them removed as they and other tattoos go out of fashion.

“The number of laser removals for tattoos has almost doubled in the last five years,” Heinz Bull, president of Germany’s GÄCD plastic surgery association, told news agency DPA on Thursday. “Now young people who got tattoos on the spur of the moment want to have them removed.”

It’s important for people looking to shed their inky antlers search for qualified doctors, because different ink tones require different lasers, Bull stressed.

Dermatologist Walter Trettel has laser clinics in Hamburg, Kiel and Preetz that each remove the names of old lovers and other unwanted markings for some 20 patients per week. “This costs about three to four times more than the original tattoo,” he said, adding that is also more painful than getting a tattoo. Removing “ass antlers” requires between six and ten sessions, which can cost between €100 and €300.

But today’s laser removal is still gentler and more effective as earlier methods, Trettel said. “When I first began at the Kiel university clinic we would cut tattoos out or grind them down,” he said, adding that this often left large scars behind.