Zap dance

Dear Ace: Is there a place in Charlottesville where you can get laser tattoo removal? (Not
that I want to or anything…)—Tom E. Lee

Tom: For years, Ace wore only pants. Never Bermuda shorts, never running shorts, never even a bathing suit. He’d never moon passers-by, never undress with anyone in the room (unless it was dark), and certainly didn’t bathe in glass showers. For years, Ace kept this secret because, if it got out, his very refined, professional outward appearance (and reputation) would be at stake. But, after careful consideration—and a straight shot of whiskey—he felt it was time.

Ace Atkins had a tattoo.

Oh, it’s long gone now, like that winding road he drove down last fall. (For the record, that’s not what Ace’s tattoo was.) He took a day off work and skipped town (people talk, you know) to have it removed. But the shame remains. And for those of you in our little hamlet looking to remove your own 18-year-old mistake, don’t worry. Ace has the answer.

There’s only one place in Charlottesville to get laser tattoo removal: Charlottesville Skin and Laser. Ace gave them a call to see how much the procedure would cost. Unfortunately, it’s not as cut and dried as, say, a Dancing Bear tattoo. (Nope, not that either.)

Stephanie, a technician at the center who doesn’t perform the removals, told Ace it can cost anywhere from $100 to $900, depending on the size of the tattoo and whether it’s just an outline or completely colored in.

The laser zaps the tattoo, turning the skin sort of white and then it slowly returns to its normal color. Stephanie said it’s a very interesting process, for the science of it, sure, but also to hear the client’s reasons for removing their tattoo.

Charlottesville Skin and Laser, Stephanie revealed to Ace, only performs tattoo removals once a month, usually toward its end. …Like a full moon. (A full moon? What do you take Ace for?) This month’s date is October 24, and Stephanie says they’re almost completely booked.

Stephanie also said that there’s really no specific group of people that come in wanting to get a tattoo removed. That surprised Ace. But then again, people in glass showers…

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 19 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to

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