St Mary’s Boys Tattoo Saga, And How To Remove Permanent Body Art

During an individual’s heydays, aggression and vigor are normal with the feeling that anything is possible and by yourself, you can conquer the world. As the years go by, however, that state of mind fades away and life acquires a new taste and meaning. Lately, Kenyan airwaves have been running discussions on the legality and regulation of the tattoo industry in Kenya after a private school, St Mary’s Boys Secondary School suspended 10 students for tattooing their bodies.

This issue has attracted mixed feelings from the public with most people tabling the same argument that tattoos and education do not intertwine at any given point, neither does the body art affect grades and school performance. Tattooing among teenagers is mostly influenced by peer and societal pressures and most of the time the individual hardly gives the decision a second thought. For some, it is for the love of art and influential individuals such as celebrities across the world have aided the growth of such love. It is a symbol of ‘coolness’ and that of being a ‘hardcore’ to some, even though the art is a legitimate cultural practice in some communities.

Teachers and parents are now at loggerheads since the two parties hold different opinions on whether or not children should have tattoos and still retain their admission in school bearing the ink. You see, tattoos go beyond school and social popularity, for instance, government jobs and other high profile ones have been known to reject tattoos especially if it is not based on cultural practices.

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The school in question, St. Mary’s Boys Secondary has put its foot down emphasizing that the students will have no place in the school if they do not remove the permanent tattoos off their bodies. As a parent, this decision presents two options; to transfer their children to other schools or pay a handsome amount for tattoo removal. Eradication of such body art is possible, however, it can be painful and it is quite costly of course depending on the skin type, and the size and color of your tattoo. Unfortunately, tattoo removal is not a one-day business and in this case, for the students to resume school with no tattoos visible, they will have to take quite some time out of class.

Ways to remove a tattoo

Laser Surgery

You will need to visit a medical professional who will use lasers on your skin to destroy the ink on your skin. This method removes tattoos by breaking up the pigment colors with a high-intensity light beam during which the tattoo pigment is expected to absorb laser wavelengths. The pigment then breaks down, after which the body carries it away. It could take up to 10 treatments with healing in between for it to clear and even then, you may incur swelling, blisters or bleeding. Since this is a cosmetic procedure, most insurance covers hardly pay for this.

Surgical removal

Surgery in most cases applies to small tattoos, a medical professional uses a scalpel to cleanly cut the tattoo out after numbing your skin using local anesthesia. After the procedure, the professional then stitches your skin back together. Large tattoos can also be removed using the procedure but the patient here will have to undergo skin grafting, where the doctor takes a piece of skin from elsewhere on your body and applies it to the area the tattoo is removed. Both procedures need extra care using prescribed ointment and drugs.

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This is also a surgical method involving a medical grinding tool used to remove the outer layers of the skin, controllably. The ink is leached out by using a rotary tool with a sanding head to wear down the skin. It is harsh compared to other methods but it only needs a single treatment although costly. Dermabrasion only takes 2 to 3 weeks to heal.

Gathoni Kuria

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