Gilbert Rodriguez, 32, spent the last 16 years of his life inking demons to his hands, Hollywood starlets to his legs and a lot of other things to a lot of other places on his body.
"No purpose," he said. "No reason to it. It was just something I had done at the time."
Gilbert paid around $5,000 for his body of work, much of it needled on during a stint traveling the world with the U.S. Marine Corps. But now he plans to invest $60,000 allowing Claudia Theodoro of Bare Body Laser Spa to burn off 90 percent of those tats with a special laser.
"It breaks the ink into micro-particles that your white blood cells will be able to absorb and flush out," Theodoro said of her laser.
Each tattoo requires as many as eight sessions.
"It is extremely painful," Theodoro said.
Gilbert, in for just his second appointment when Fox 5 caught up with him, expects three years' worth of visits with Theodoro.
"I've had various broken bones. It's nothing compared to this," he said. "It's like a million rubber bands all hitting you at the same time. It's 10 times worse than getting them on."
One skincare website estimates tattoo removal increased by more than 30 percent between 2011 and 2012.
Gilbert put himself on Theodoro's exam table in Manhattan to gain respect from strangers.
"I get judged every single day," he said. "I'm not a troublemaker. [Tattoos] do have a taboo and a stigma to them."
Theodoro performs as many as 30 removals a day, a statistic that's grown steadily the last couple of years. She said other clients want to erase work because of professional concerns, regret, and to make way for new art.
"A lot of names," she said. "A lot of exes' names."
Gilbert's ex-wife can still find her name on his ring finger. But not for much longer. Soon, that too will fall under Theodoro's laser.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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