MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It takes just a few hours to get a tattoo, but, in many cases, years to remove one.

But thanks to new technology, that’s changing.

In 2012 the FDA approved a new laser for tattoo removal that is proving to be faster and more effective than the previous versions.

A shop in St. Louis Park, that just opened, is the first in Minnesota to offer it, and Angela Davis shows just what makes it so different.

It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but years later some people regret getting a tattoo for a variety of reasons.

“I’ve seen school teachers who hide it from their students and they don’t want to do that anymore. I’ve had people who got a tattoo to commemorate something they don’t want to think about any longer,” Ashley Knuth of Invisible Ink Tattoo Removers said.

Now those folks have a new option, the PicoSure Laser.

The manufacturer claims it’s 100 times faster than other lasers and more effective at breaking up ink. That means fewer treatments are needed.

“So, with the old technology you might be looking at 12 sessions, 12 weeks apart. With our technology, you are looking at six sessions, eight weeks apart. There’s less down time, there’s less healing time, because again because the laser is so much faster,” Knuth said.

Ashley Knuth is the manager of Invisible Ink Tattoo Removers that just opened on Excelsior Boulevard.

She’s also in the process of getting a tattoo removed.

Older lasers deliver heat to the pigment, essentially burning the ink up.

This new laser shatters the ink into tiny particles that are eliminated more easily.

“What would you say your pain is on a scale of one to five?” the technician asked Knuth while she was getting her tattoo removed.

“I’d say maybe a two. You can feel it. It feels about like getting a tattoo,” Knuth said.

And it’s proving to be effective in not leaving behind a shadow or scars.

“With the Pico Laser, our laser loves the blues and greens; we can get them out completely. And we are able to guarantee a complete removal, with nothing left behind,” Knuth said.

The price of tattoo removal ranges from about $1,200 to about $3,000, depending on the size of the tattoo, its location on your body and how long you’ve had it.

The St. Louis Park location of Invisible Ink is just the third in the country. Pittsburgh and Richmond, Va. are the other cities they’re in.

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