A woman who got a giant skull tattoo on her face after a nasty break-up has filmed herself getting it lasered off – after turning her life around.
Allison Allen says she got the striking facial tattoo – which cost $60 (£50) in 2017 after a painful break-up left her feeling so depressed she ‘wanted to die’.
Entrepreneur Allison, who is a cosmetic company boss, says she is now a happier person having finally got help through a behavioural programme and classes in 2020.
The 28-year-old is now sharing her tattoo removal journey online but admits she receives a lot of negative comments as many perceive those with facial tattoos to be ‘thuggish’.
Although she’s spending $1,700 [£1,423] to get the ink removed, the mum-of-one says she doesn’t regret getting the tat done as she claims it saved her life.
Allison, from Atlanta, Georgia, US, said: “I was really depressed and I was going through a lot.
“I was in a bad break-up with the father of my child and it hurt me really bad. Then I started hurting other people because I was hurt, and that escalated to hurting myself.
“I would have suicidal thoughts and I attempted it a few times – I overdosed on pills and it didn’t work.
“The tattoo was my way of expressing how I felt on the inside. It was my way of saying I wanted to die.
“The skull, for me, represented a new beginning. Death is a new beginning in a way. I was like ‘Well if I’m still going to be on this earth, I’m going to get the biggest craziest thing on my face’.
“It was also my way of showing people that I needed help. It was a cry for help. The tattoo was only $60 [£50].
“It really hurt my family. They told me I’d ruined my face and I was ruining my life. At the time, it just made me want to keep ruining myself.”
However in 2020 Allison finally began turning her life around and was able to get the help she needed with a behavioural program along with classes for anger management and coping skills.
She has since launched her own cosmetic business.
With a new lease on life, Allison has started on a journey to get the tattoo removed as it reminds her of the person she used to be.
Allison said: “When I look at the tattoo, it reminds me of the person I used to be. And that’s why I started getting it removed.
“It didn’t have the same meaning anymore, and I’m just not the same person I used to be.
“I don’t regret the tattoo because it saved my life in a way. I got it as an alternative to another suicide attempt. It was an alternative to putting those suicidal thoughts into action.
“Through doing TikTok for fun, people started asking me about the tattoo. I found that more people are cruel and judgmental about the tattoo than they are caring and sympathetic.
“But I’m okay with that.
“In real life, that’s not the case. But online, people are really mean about it. They think they can say things from behind a screen.
“I do get people looking at me when I walk down the street. It makes me feel good because I’m noticed.
“Since I shared videos of my tattoo removal to TikTok, I’ve had people reach out to ask me questions about that process.
“I try to be as relatable as possible. A lot of people will be thinking about getting a tattoo removed or they’ve already started that process.
“I think there is a stigma around face tattoos. People see somebody with a face tattoo and think they’re thuggish or a criminal or just dishonest.”
It will take Allison up to two years until the tattoo is fully removed.
Allison said: “For a full removal, it’s going to take up to two years. It’s a long process. I have to do anywhere from 16 to 18 sessions, and I’ve only done two so far. I have a long journey ahead of me.
“The whole thing will cost $1,700 [£1,423]. I’m currently on a monthly payment plan, so I’m paying $119 [£99] for appointments that happen every four weeks.
“The tattoo looks the same right now, but it’s just breaking up the ink right now.
“I know I still have a long journey ahead of me, but I’m excited about it.”
Commenters have praised Allison for sharing her experiences to TikTok.
One user wrote: “This is a beautiful story, shame on everyone for judging you without knowing you.”
Another commenter said: “I’m glad you didn’t do it and got the tattoo instead. I am happy you’re finally in a place where you don’t need it anymore,” whilst a fellow supporter commented: “I mean if it saved your life in any means it’s beautiful then.”