Face Tattoos Have Become an Increasingly Expensive Regret

By Mark A. Kellner | Posted May 20, 2019

Eleven tattoos mark the face of Mauricio Arias, a 30-year-old New Yorker, including his eyelids. One tattoo innocuously depicts the Manhattan skyline, but a bloodied knife and brass knuckles are also featured on his countenance.

And today he regrets every single one of them.

That’s why Arias is now undergoing painful and expensive laser treatments to remove the marks he’s accumulated over a lifetime of hard living. Arias had a rough childhood and has lived on the streets since he was fourteen. Never expecting to live long, his tattoos were meant to document elements of pride and despair, including the notion that he would be a lifelong drug addict.

Yet Arias has done some growing up in recent years, forsaking drug use and other bad behaviors, earning a degree from a construction technical school and planning to get an associate’s degree in civil engineering technology.

Job Barrier

But as much as Arias has turned his life around, he acknowledges that his facial art might prevent a prospective employer from considering him as a serious job candidate.

The Queens resident told The New York Post, “As soon as I walk in for a job interview, they’re gonna think, ‘Who’s this guy trying to get a job looking like that?’ I feel trapped. … What are the chances anyone is going to want me to manage a million-dollar construction project when they look at me?”

Writer Mark Hemingway saw more tattoos than he’d anticipated when he traveled across America in 2016 and 2017. He wrote, “If America can be divided into those who don’t have tattoos and those who do, the two groups seem to be rapidly approaching equilibrium. About one in five Americans have tattoos, and among 18 [to] 29 year-olds the latest figures peg those with ink at 40 percent.”

Getting the ink is one thing; removing it is quite another. A 2015 Harris poll said that 23 percent of those with tattoos now regret getting them. While the tattoo-removal business is growing—billboards advertising such clinics are now common in large cities—the procedures are neither inexpensive nor pain-free. Of course, leaving the ink on, Hemingway reports, can lead to tattoos fading into “a pre-school watercolor,” while components of the ink end up in the body’s lymph nodes.

Arias told the Post the removal process isn’t easy: It’s “more painful to remove them than to [get] them … I wake up the next day feeling like someone beat me up.” He says that it will take a year to remove all his facial tattoos, and a physician will have to supervise the eyelid tattoo-removal process.

At Florida’s ReversaTatt, for example, removal sessions cost between $120 to $500, priced according to the size of the image to be erased. WBBH-TV in Fort Myers said the firm needs six to nine sessions to completely remove a single tattoo.

Yet Arias, who began to turn his life around after being invited to church and embracing the Christian faith, believes the pain will be worth it. “I feel like God changed me inside a lot, but I feel trapped because of my outside,” Arias told the newspaper. “When I remove the tattoos, I’m going to feel free, born again.”

Erasing Sin’s Marks

Whether or not we have a tattoo, almost all of us can empathize with Arias: The effects of some of his sins can be read on his face—and to have them removed will symbolize the changes he’s experienced in his heart.

One of the reasons this story resonates with Christians is because all of us bear the marks of sin in our lives. They may not be tattoos, but our trespasses and transgressions have left their trace on our hearts, and sometimes on our faces—whether they’re scars from a fight or a lasting sadness in the eyes from years of behavior that we regret.

How can we deal with these marks of sin? How can we heal? Can anything erase them?

Of course, there is no earthly laser that is up to the task of repairing the spirit of a man or woman. Yes, a cosmetic surgeon can minimize or even erase physical scars, but no scalpel can repair the damage to one’s soul. The Psalmist asked, “How can a young man cleanse his way?” He then answered, “By taking heed according to Your word”—the Bible, which is God-breathed (Psalm 119:9).

It’s worth noting again that Arias decided to get those tattoos removed after he started attending church and became an active believer. So it is for many who’ve forsaken sin: We turn to God in repentance and then strive to live as Jesus would have us live. Through studying the Bible, fellowship with other Christians, and prayer, we can walk in “newness of life” and serve God and our neighbors.

We also know that the Bible speaks of those who will be in heaven as having had their names recorded in a special register. As Pastor Doug Batchelor says, “There will not be anybody in heaven whose name is not in a book. This is very clearly taught in the Bible. Everybody in heaven needs to have their name in … the Book of Life.”

And just like the young man who’s having his tattoos erased, a day is coming when your sins—and the effects of those sins in your heart and body—will be obliterated. We’ll be redeemed, healed, and delivered! The free Bible study lesson The Ultimate Deliverance explains when and how this will take place.

If you haven’t yet trusted Jesus for salvation, consider doing so now. His gift of life eternal is free!

Mark Kellner
Mark A. Kellner is a staff writer for Amazing Facts International. He is a veteran journalist whose work has been published in Religion News Service, The Washington Times, and numerous computer magazines.

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