Think before ink

ANY young person considering getting themselves tattooed should first read the story of Debbie Egdell, reported in this edition of the Gazette.

Like many teenagers past and present, she found herself succumbing to considerable peer pressure to fit in with what was apparently the norm in her immediate social circle. While it didn’t seem like a big issue for her as a 19-year-old, her adult life has been blighted by the considerable amount of ink adorning her arms, legs, shoulders and back.

And the consequences have been devastating for her. Even now, at 42, despite dramatic changes to her personal circumstances which include holding down a good career in accounting and with two children, she is left battling depression as a result of the decisions she made more than half a lifetime ago.

Her regrets have only been made more difficult to bear because the NHS will not fund tattoo removal for so-called ‘cosmetic’ reasons, yet ironically will pay for breast enlargements or reductions if the patient is suffering distress as a result of their condition.

Debbie’s last resort was expensive laser surgery, which actually left her scarred.

But she has now found new hope in the Human Life Trust, a charity set up to relieve some of the anguish she has suffered by providing free procedures to try to restore her skin back to its natural state.

Cases like hers may seem unusual, but given the proliferation of body art in the mass-media, with heavily-inked celebrities much the norm, some young people will undoubtedly share her experience.

What they really should do, however, is learn from it.