View Full Version : Burning Off A Tattoo

06-03-2015, 07:11 AM
My character has a gang tattoo that he will burn off himself. He's 18 years old.

The tattoo is basically like this picture except the chains/shackles are the ink. http://images.maskworld.com/is/image/maskworld/bigview/neck-and-wrist-shackles--mw-107626-1.jpg

There's a couple things I need to know. First, is there some kind of household chemical he could use to quicken the process? The actual firestarter will be a lighter.

Would the burn be severe enough for him to need to go to the hospital or could a friend just bandage him up?

My last question is (if he was really motivated to) at what point would he be able to move around/be able to drive etc?

If it makes any difference he will end up in the hospital anyways within the next day or two (he'll get shot).

Thanks to anyone that can help! I can add more information if needed.

06-03-2015, 08:30 AM
Would he really burn it? I've heard of people using concentrated TCA to remove tattoos at home. Of course it's not recommended by anyone at all but it sounds more realistic to me.

06-03-2015, 09:00 AM
Haha! One of my main characters just burned off a gang tattoo. So. This is the research I came up with.

Home tattoo removal is really uncommon. That's because it's extremely dangerous and excruciatingly painful. What you are doing, essentially, is removing a layer of flesh. All the dyed skin? You're burning it off. Your character is going to have enormous scars wherever the tattoo was.

So think of it in those terms. Your character is going to have burned flesh across a large portion of his body. Yeah, he might have to go to the hospital. The burn can't just be a first-degree burn; it has to get all the way down past the skin, to where the ink is.

Aftercare is important. The wound is going to be large. Blood loss is not a major concern when it comes to burns, but infection is. He might need skin grafts. The tattoo my character removed was only two inches across, and I still had him tied down, carefully tended to, and given alcohol to ease the pain.

Who is doing the tattoo removal? Like I said, it's going to be excruciatingly painful. It's hard to believe that someone could torture themselves for hours with a lighter. If he's restrained and a friend is doing it for him... that's a little more feasible.

If the burns are across his wrists, throat, and chest, yes, that's going limit his movement. Again: lots of pain. If he's going to be up and moving around, then he needs some serious painkillers. He might not drive a car, but he could sit in one. He could probably run (if his life depended on it).

Once he gets to the hospital in a couple days, they're definitely going to notice his burns and want to treat him.

I would recommend acid, by the way. It would take less time, and could be done all at once.

Good luck.

06-03-2015, 09:27 AM
I'm not sure if your set on burning it off but another option could be blacking out the tattoo. Essential a black tattoo to cover it up. But if I'm understanding the picture you posted correctly it would probably still be obvious as to what the tattoo was before.

If your character does too much moving around after burning off the tattoo I'm sure the movement would/could rip open the wounds if they have begun to heal.

06-03-2015, 08:11 PM
Fire's a big theme with my character. He's a pyromaniac and an arsonist. However, I could get away with just doing the intent of burning it off and his friend refuse to do it. He'd then probably try it himself and find it too painful. Not as exciting but it would still get the message across. Now, he'd still have to get it removed later on. If done this way he could get it professionally removed as money wouldn't be an issue by then. I wouldn't have to go into detail on the process, the tattoo would simply be gone in the last scene of the epilogue. I would just need to know if there would be any scarring or if the tattoo would be faded etc. At this point it would be early 1990. I've read laser removal just started around then, does anyone know if it would be available to the public yet or know of another method of professional removal?

06-03-2015, 08:44 PM
Actual burning with fire is going to cause a 3d degree burn at best, and the larger those are, the greater the risk of infection. You can Google "3d degree burn" for more info, but I'd discourage you from clicking on any images.

Here's a couple of pieces on tattoo removal

From what I can find, laser removal is a long process, where the tattoo fades over time, rather than it just disappearing. You might check out a couple of episodes of "Tattoo Nightmares" to see what can be done with cover-up art.

06-03-2015, 08:46 PM
How does your character end up getting shot? Those gang types can be very poor sports about people quitting as well as people they feel have a tattoo that too closely resembles one of theirs. so much so that they, the more extreme ones, have been known to literally cut the tattoo from a persons flesh.They see that emblem as being 'gang property' If you haven't decided on the circumstances you could have former gangmates come to claim the tattoo, they shoot him and cut the tattoo off and leave him shot and bleeding and on his way to the hospital.

06-03-2015, 09:33 PM
Ah, a good idea except that his gangmates wouldn't have time to cut it off. My character tries to stop his gangmates from kidnapping one of his friends he brings a gun and tries to shoot them but fails and the others get his gun. The shots fired would be heard and the police would be called since this takes place at an apartment. They shoot him just as they're leaving. In between this time and him waking up in the hospital the gang leader has been killed, and one of his executives has been arrested. That executive is blamed for the murder so he knows he's a dead man anyways so he'll spill all he can on the gang. So the gang will be running for the hills by then. lol

06-03-2015, 10:14 PM
Depending on where and how big it wouldn't take long to carve that puppy off. Pop a cap in his but, he looks dead, take a few seconds to carve and hit the door. Cops wouldn't make it for at least 3-5 minutes. Maybe a little longer if theyre busy.

06-06-2015, 04:51 AM
Knife or fire? It's a classic question for gang tattoos when a member leaves the gang. Both, with a tattoo of any size, are going to result in serious wounds and hospital time. Home removal is almost impossible, nobody will withstand the pain long enough to complete the process. A friend could get him drunk and burn it off with a torch, then drop him at the emergency room.


06-06-2015, 08:13 AM
tattoo removal rules change from gang to gang, blacken out tattoos would be my choice in a book.