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The Finery – Buffalo Tattoo Removal

The act of removing unwanted tattoos has been around since tattoos have been in existence, albeit, not in the technological advanced ways we can remove them now. The earliest form of tattoo removal was a technique called salabrasion, a painfully unpleasant way to get rid of a regret. In short, it was like using sandpaper to remove the tattoo off your skin.

While some folks still use this method, a less abrasive technique has been gaining popularity: laser tattoo removal. It wasn’t until the late 1960s when Leon Goldman brought the concept of laser removal to reality. Over the years, it has been refined and is more effective. In Buffalo, you can make your way to The Finery on Elmwood and work with the professional and friendly staff there to get rid of your ex’s name you regrettably inked onto your skin.

Originating in Boston, MA, The Finery is a family owned and operated company that started in 2011. Founder Carmen VanderHeiden and three of her four children started this company in response to a growing demand for tattoo removal focused laser centers in the Northeast. Carmen, her kids, and Buffalo resident Dustin Ortel run five full-time facilities and over 30 mobile tattoo removal locations across five states. Ortel has been with the Buffalo location for almost two years and also manages the local Mobile Tattoo Removal Studio.

According to Ortel, “Tattoo removal works by applying focused light/energy to the segment of skin effected by the tattoo. The laser is attracted to the tattoo ink, breaks it down and your body flushes it away over the course of a number of treatments. [The shop uses] both nano and picosecond lasers that work at a variety of wavelengths to break up different colors of ink into tiny particles that are then safely passed out of your body through the lymphatic system.”

Ortel noted that The Finery has a suite of lasers, including picosure and traditional Q-switched Revlite Si technology in their removal protocol. In layman terms, “The number of treatments is dependent on the client’s overall health and composition of the tattoo rather than what laser is used.”

Ortel added that he chose to work with The Finery because of their unique clinical approach to tattoo removal. “The clinical director Chelsea Labrecque has overseen over 100,00 tattoo removal sessions and developed an environment that affords every client the full attention of the whole clinical team. Rather than seeing one laser specialist every time, our clients get the attention of the whole team in every location. This makes our sessions the safest and most effective in the industry.”

There is a plethora of questions folks have about laser tattoo removal, including its productiveness and, of course, how painful it may be.

“You may find it hard to believe but most clients don’t complain about tattoo removal pain. We ice and use a zimmer cryo chiller to cool the area during and after treatment so the immediate effect of the laser only lasts 15 minutes and it feels like a light sunburn for about a week after,” Ortel said.

Ortel said The Finery “Averages about 3,500- 4000 clients a year.” They are located at 507 Elmwood Avenue.

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Written by Sara Ali

Sara Ali

Sara is a freelance writer living on Buffalo's West Side. She works full time in human services, part time in freelance, and is currently working towards her endeavor to create a nonprofit focused on telling the stories of the refugee and immigrant communities.

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