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More Women Get Tattoos (And Get Them Removed)

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas resident Karen Cunningham has a tribute to one of her favorite bands inked on her right arm. “It’s a little Beatles-inspired tattoo,” she said. “I love the art of it. I think it’s awesome.” The colorful depiction covers her upper arm, from her elbow to her shoulder, and it is not her only work of art.

Cunningham has six tattoos, and she isn’t done yet. “The first one was because I was 18 and I was allowed to,” she said with a laugh. “I wouldn’t mind getting another one on this arm.”

Cunningham is part of a growing number of women expressing themselves through body art. Lightspeed Research polled 1,000 people between the ages of 18 and 49. Nearly a third — or 29 percent — of those surveyed had a tattoo, and more than half of those sporting permanent ink are women. Of those surveyed who had a tattoo, 59 percent were women and 41 percent were men.

But at FemStart Medical Spa in Irving, women also outnumber men in getting tattoos removed. “That’s one of numerous things we do, is tattoo removal,” said Dr. Charles Powell, Chief Medical Director. “One of our first questions we’ve learned to ask is ‘When did you get it?’ Because a lot of times, it turns out, it was a mistake over the weekend and they want to get it taken off before mom and dad find out, or their husband, or somebody else finds out.”

Advancements in laser tattoo removal have made the process faster and less painful, and have reduced the amount of scarring, explained Powell. To completely remove a tattoo, it usually takes multiple sessions.

While tattoos are becoming more socially accepted, employment experts advise people on the job hunt to cover them up. In the professional world, sporting ink could spoil your chances of being hired, said Len Friedrichs, Executive Vice President of Dallas-based staffing agency Eli Daniel Group. “You don’t want to detract from your qualifications,” Friedrichs said, “and unfortunately, something like that does detract.”

But Cunningham, who works at a comedy club, isn’t too concerned. “I know plenty of people who have tattoos that are successful in their careers, and it doesn’t hold back on them,” she said. So, she will proudly show off her artwork — without any regrets.

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