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Some people got tattoos 20 years ago. They hate them now. That's why I'm here; Anaesthetist Dr Caroline Whymark set up tattoo removal studio after hospital patients complaining to her about unwanted designs awakened new business idea.

Byline: JULIE-ANNE BARNES

Dr Caroline Whymark is no stranger to tattoos.

As a consultant anaesthetist at Crosshouse Hospital she often navigates her way around the designs on women's lower backs.

Lots But after scores of patients confided that they were unhappy with their inkings, she spotted a business have across opportunity.

She opened up her laser tattoo removal studio in August and has been inundated with requests to remove never tattoos, age spots and liver spots from men and women.

She said: "I thought there would be a business in this based on the patients I was putting to sleep before operations or women who were getting epidurals or spinal anesthetic for C sections.

"It started out as an idea in the maternity wards. Lots of women have tattoos across their lower spine. They would often confide in me that they didn't like their tattoos and wished they had never got them."

Around one in five people in Scotland have one or more tattoos and around a quarter regret it to the extent they want it removed.

Dr Whymark said the number of people seeking tattoo removal is set to rise, as the trend for tattooing is expected to peak in 2025.

She said: "Most patients I have seen have a tattoo and some have more than one. The majority of women I am seeing are in the 20-40 age category and the majority of patients I have seen so far are women in their 40s who had the tattoo in their 20s.

"Perhaps they now who have children who they want to set an example for."

Dr Whymark said she was at a crossroads on her career and had to make a decision on whether to undertake further training or branch out.

She said: "The type of person that I am I knew I would be good working for myself. I have strengths that I feel didn't get put to good use in the NHS. I felt frustrated at times that I couldn't action things quickly. And I wanted a bit of both worlds. I thought if I became more specialised it would be more difficult to do something else. But it took me a few years to build up the courage and take the plunge and invest."

Dr Whymark opened her Lose the Tattoo studio on the south side of Glasgow in August. She trained for two months.

She said: "There was a core knowledge element to the course which explains how the laser works. That's the science-based part, then there was a more practical course."

Dr Whymark also spoke of her concern at the lack of regulation in both tattooing and removals. She said: "I can't be responsible for what other people are doing but I've had clients who say they have been quoted lower prices. But you get what you pay for. The results are fast and effective.

"I've had clients who have come to me who have been scarred and are a bit reluctant to have any further treatment. But the risk of scarring is highly unlikely. We can't say never but we are safe and fully insured. We have a laser protection adviser who does the calibrations on the machine and advised us about the premises."

Dr Whymark qualified as a consultant in 2004. She said her new venture means she gets to continue to meet a diverse range of clientele.

She said: "I have learned a lot about Glaswegian folklore evidenced by amateur tattoos in the 80s. I think there is still little information available about the reality of laser tattoo removal and several myths are perpetuated. We can remove all colours but green does take a bit longer. Older tattoos or badly done tattoos are easier to remove.

"Most tattoos can be removed completely with very little risk of scarring with the machine we have. Everyone is different and there are no guarantees and people respond differently to laser light. But the machine we use is effective and so far the clients, and young women in particular, have been pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness.

"One session costs PS40 and it takes an average of four to eight sessions to remove a tattoo. It will take around six months to complete it. We need to wait four weeks between treatments. Each session is five minutes of laser.

"It is painful but my experience is that people come in terrified it will be excruciating. When we do a test, they normally say it's OK and will carry on. They say it's less painful than having a tattoo."

n For more information, see www.losethetattoo.co.uk

'' Lots of women have tattoos across their lower spine. They would confide in me they wished they had never got them

CAPTION(S):

MAKING HER MARK Dr Caroline Whymark has set up tattoo removal studio

EXTERIOR DESIGN EXPERT Caroline helps clients get rid of unwanted tattoos and unsightly marks
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 15, 2015
Words:821
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