By Stephanie Stahl


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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day coming up later this week, but what happens when you have the name of an old flame tattooed on your body and there’s a new love interest in your life? For some people, love doesn’t last forever, and that’s the problem with tattoos — they do.

It’s estimated about 30 percent of Americans have at least one tattoo and some end up not liking them, especially if it’s someone’s name you’re no longer with. One Montgomery County woman found a fix just in time for Valentine’s Day.

It’s an every day reminder of a long ago romance. Jenna Larkin has a tattoo on her arm that says “Lil’ Keith” — her old boyfriend’s nickname.

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“I thought I was going to be in love with him forever and ever,” said Larkin, who got the tattoo when she was 18. “We broke up about 10 years ago.”

Now, there’s a new man in her life. Larkin, who’s 39 now, says it’s time to get rid of the old tattoo.

“This is going to be my Valentine’s Day present to him because we’re starting out fresh,” said Larkin.

“What’s more romantic than giving the person clean space,” said Dr. David Zweiback, who is located in Jenkintown.

Larkin turned to Zweiback who is using the newest version of the PicoSure laser to erase the tattoo.

“You get a much quicker result, shorter down time,” said Zweiback.

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The PicoSure laser is now able to target all colors, breaking up the tattoo pigment with a high intensity light beam.

“It’s called PicoSure because it takes a picosecond, which is one to the 10 to the minus 12, so it’s super fast, and it will shatter that particle like nobody’s business,” said Zweiback.

PicoSure is becoming more popular since an estimated 25 percent of people end up not liking their tattoos.

“As time goes on, those life moments change and new life moments arrive,” said Zweiback.

Numbing cream is used before the procedure. During the laser session, goggles are worn to protect the eyes.

Then, as the laser fires, the letters are traced and the tattoo color starts to disappear.

Larkin, with just one color, is significantly faded with her first session.

“It wasn’t that bad,” she said.

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Many tattoos require a few sessions to completely disappear, especially if they have intricate work with many colors.

For a 3-inch tattoo removal, the cost per session is $225. It’s not covered by insurance.

Stephanie Stahl