In tattooing, as in life, expectations don't always match up to reality. Even the most well-conceived idea for a tattoo can result in execution that may range from not quite what you were hoping for to all-out bad tattoos.

As tattooing has grown in prevalence over the past few years, so too have the incidences of tattoo regret. Now this affliction is nearing epidemic levels. Fortunately, there's hope for those who are irked by their ink. Rather than live with a tattoo you aren't happy with, here are some options you can consider.

Become a master of disguise
In some luckier instances, the offending tattoo may be small enough or out-of-the-way enough that the solution can be as simple as covering it with appropriate clothing. Inked backs, legs and even arms can all be covered simply and inconspicuously with your regular clothing – a process made even easier during the winter when layers and long sleeves are the norm. Others may not have things quite so easy – for example, those with tattoos on their neck, hands or other more prominent parts of the body. Even in these cases, however, it can be fairly easy to disguise your tattoo. Many women are no stranger to concealer – this handy makeup-drawer staple can be used to disguise tattoos that you don't want visible. Even men can use this solution if they feel so inclined.

Go the cover-up route
Many people may not know this, but despite the claims that tattoos are permanent, they can still be covered up. In fact, cover-up tattooing has, in recent years, evolved into a subset of the industry that's an artform in and of itself. Of course, not every tattoo can be covered up, and there are many considerations the artist will need to take into account when planning the new design. For example, your cover-up tatt is going to be bigger than the design you're having inked over. Similarly, expect the new image to included darker, bolder colors and heavier shading, especially if the tattoo you want covered is already dark itself. It's also important to understand that not every tattoo can be covered up effectively. Many factors can influence the success of the procedure, from the location on your body to the individual quality of your skin to the age, darkness and depth of the existing ink. For those looking to eradicate any memory of an ex-romantic partner or cover up their embarrassing college logo, cover-ups may be an option, but not the best one. In general, this practice is best saved for those who don't want to get rid of their tattoo, but merely want to change it into something they like better.

Full removal
It may seem like an extreme option, but tattoo removal can for many be one of the only ways to eradicate the offending ink in an effective and reliable way. While this is a broad category that itself encompasses many tattoo removal methods, overwhelmingly the trend is shifting toward laser tattoo removal as the industry standard. Surgical procedures can be painful and severely damage the skin, and injecting pigment-erasing solutions into the tattoo may not be effective and can even lead to bad reactions on the skin. Laser removal, on the other hand, targets the ink particles under the skin and zaps them into tiny fragments so they can be carried away by the body's lymphatic processes. As laser technology continues to develop, this process continues to refine, becoming faster, less painful and more reliable than other methods available.

PicoSure® is the latest technology for laser tattoo removal and offers faster and better removal in fewer treatments. PicoSure shatters ink into smaller, dust-like particles which are more efficiently absorbed by the body's natural processes. It is the first and only aesthetic picosecond laser that is FDA-cleared for the removal of tattoos. Visit to learn more and find a PicoSure Practitioner near you.