Megan Fox shows the unwanted Marilyn Monroe tattoo at the launch of Transformers in 2009. Source: AP
TATTOOS are designed to last for life – but nothing endures that long in Hollywood. Film stars such as Megan Fox, the Transformers actress, who helped to make them fashionable are now leading a backlash against "body art".
Fox is undergoing painful treatment to remove a portrait of Marilyn Monroe from her arm. the 25-year-old actress told an Italian magazine last week that the Monroe portrait was being erased because it got in the way of her work. "It’s too negative," she said.
Statistics suggest Fox is far from alone. according to a Harris poll, the number of tattooed Americans, which was below 10 per cent until 1990, soared to 16 per cent in 2003 but fell back to 14 per cent in 2008.
Since then the number of US tattoo parlours has fallen by 10 per cent and laser removal treatments are booming, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
"not everyone is erasing them entirely – just off the hands, arms and faces, which might get in the way of the next job," the academy said last week.
While elaborate designs may still be popular in jails, Silicon Valley and other youth-oriented centres of enterprise, elsewhere they are being removed.
"Starbucks may have accepted them but other retailers are turning away jobseekers because their tattoos may unsettle older shoppers," said the Texas Chamber of Commerce.
Body art may also unsettle jurors: last year John Ditullio, once a leading member of Florida’s neo-nazi movement, asked a judge to employ a make-up artist to cover the swastika on his neck during his murder trail. he was still found guilty.
Police officers in Phoenix, Arizona, have been ordered to cover up all tattoos. "we are professional and don’t want to give anyone a reason to mistrust us," said the Phoenix force, which has also banned pierced tongues.
Names of loved ones have always been most vulnerable to change. when Johnny Depp broke up with fellow actor Winona Ryder, he changed the inked name to "Wino Forever’.
Eva Longoria, the Desperate Housewives actress, is undergoing laser treatment to erase the number nine from the back of her neck – it represented her former husband’s number in the San Antonio Spurs basketball team.
The young may also be growing tired of tattoos: Kelly Osbourne, the daughter of rock star Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon, said she got tattooed as "a way of self-harming to upset my mum and dad".
Aged 26, she no longer feels the need to rebel and is having many of them erased.