POSTED: Sunday, April 1, 2012 - 2:00pm
UPDATED: Sunday, April 1, 2012 - 2:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — In a down job market, tattoo removal is up. What some call body art can be a strike against you in the work world.
Adriana Perez found that out the hard way.
After leaving the military, she had trouble finding a job. She decided to try law enforcement, but there was one problem. She says she was told she could not have visible tattoos.
Perez admits she likes tattoos. She has 13 of them. However, she now knows not all employers love them.
"I was actually asked once if I was a drug dealer," she says.
Perez says she would only apply for lower level jobs because she felt like she was judged because of the wizard tattoo on her neck.
That's why she's visiting Dr. Ramsey Marcus at the VA Hospital to have some of the more visible ones removed.
"Professionally, there are certain fields where visible tattoos just aren't allowed. It's a major reason why people have tattoos removed," Dr. Marcus says.
Marcus is a dermatologist who specializes in lasers. He says it's common to see more people trying to get rid of tattoos to get work in this tight job market. He reminds everyone that it's a very gradual process but it does get rid of tattoos without leaving a scar.
It can take up to a year and up to eight painful treatments, and it still doesn't always remove it completely. He says it's far more expensive and painful to get a tattoo removed than it is to get one.
It can cost thousands of dollars to get rid of it completely but if it gets you that job, it could be worth it.
For Adriana, she says she's finished getting inked. She does hope to still one day get into law enforcement once the tattoo on her neck and hand are gone.
At the VA, there's a special program for veterans so they pay far less. Marcus says there's now an ink called infinity ink that is easier to remove with the lasers.
It's supposed to be gone in one to two sessions.