For some people, getting a tattoo is considered to be proof of loyalty or allegiance to a certain group or cause. This particularly true in the case of gangs, with tattoos often created in illegal amateur tattoo parlours and intended to warn others of the wearer’s affiliations.
It would appear, however, that laser tattoo removal is offering a new lease of life to those who sport these badges. In America, the number of gang members or former gang members who are opting to have their tattoos removed is on the rise.
This shift in the attitude to the permanence of the tattoo is also symbolic of a shift in attitude to gang membership. Like the tattoo, the allegiance to a gang and the lifestyle that accompanies it is no longer thought to be permanent.
Psychologically the removal of the tattoo is important in cases such as these, but it can also help in other ways. Outsider perceptions are likely to be adversely affected by the presence of ostentatious tattoos proclaiming gang membership, so removing them can concretely help ex-members to move on and start again.