But one Houston-area tattoo artist has an alternative to removing a tattoo. He says you could turn it into something else -- something spiritual.
Tattoos are stories on skin. They tell of a person's passion, and they can tell dark stories, too.
For 20 years, Gary Wood had one of those on his shoulder: a pair of lightning bolts.
"I ran with the wrong crowd and got into a little bit of trouble, and it's been haunting me ever since," Wood said.
Now he's about to lose a permanent reminder of the life he left behind.
Any studio will cover up an old tattoo, but this one specializes in it. It's more than a business, it's a ministry.
Scott Hill is the owner of Anointed Ink. He got his first tattoo in the Army 21 years ago.
Hill is a minister and the son of a pastor. He also had a rebellious, hard-living phase. He says he hit bottom six years ago.
"My life is so much better," Hill said. "It sounds cliche or corny, but it's so much better when I'm doing what God wants me to do."
That led him to this small shopping center in Huffman where he opened his first tattoo studio. But he has rules: no X-rated designs, no satanic symbols and he prays for his clients.
"If I put ink in your body that's prayed over and blessed, how much more could that do for you?" he asked.
And here's one transformation from hate symbol to cross.
"That is absolutely amazing," Wood said. "Something I can be proud of now."
The book of Leviticus in the Bible's Old Testament says, "You shall not make any marks upon your body." Hill hears that a lot.
He says, "I'd rather go to Hell doing what I believe in my heart God is telling me to do than go to Heaven doing nothing."
If you'd like to find out more about Anointed Ink or want to see more samples of Hill's work, go to www.AnointedInk.com.
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