There are few things you can buy that will last a lifetime -- but a tattoo is one of them. Tattoos have increased in popularity over the past decade, but sometimes they become permanent reminders of a temporary phase. And while they are easy to get, they can be difficult and painful to get rid of.

Tattoo removal is one of the fastest growing areas of dermatology as everyone from teens to seniors pays to get rid of them. Lasers are used to blast away the ink particles which are then absorbed by the body's immune system.

Shane Bolton of Fading Fast Tattoo Removal says "people have many reasons for wanting to get rid of a tattoo. It could be something they got when they were younger they regret having now. It could be the placement of the tattoo which may limit their wardrobe or it may just be bad art by a tattoo artist who wasn't very good at what they were doing."

Getting rid of a tattoo is more expensive and more painful than getting one. Bolton sells ten sessions of laser treatment for $2,400. Some colours like black, red, brown and green are easier to remove than other colours. It also depends on the age of the tattoo and the depth of the ink. Sessions are held 4 to 6 weeks apart, meaning it could take one to two years to completely get rid of one.

Courtney Silva got a tattoo of a flower on her foot when she was 18 years old. Now she sys "I love the tattoo but not where it is. It's not a great place to have it in the corporate world."

After five sessions the tattoo has faded but she may need another 5 to get rid of it completely. There is also no guarantee a tattoo can be completely removed. Some will leave a ghost image of the tattoo. Something relatively new in the tattoo industry is an ink that is permanent, but can be more easily removed.

Infinitink will last as long as any other tattoo ink, but can be blasted away with a single laser session, something to consider if you are unsure about getting one.

Also be careful getting a loved one's name on your body. Angelina Jolie may love Brad Pitt now but when she was with Billy Bob Thorton she had "Billy Bob" tattooed on her upper arm. When the relationship ended she used lasers to remove it.

"If you want to tattoo a name on your body my advice is to stick with blood relatives. I've had people be married for 25 years, tattoo their spouse's name on their body and then two years later they are separated. It's almost like a curse," Bolton said. 

He also offers this advice. "If you are thinking of getting a tattoo, get a picture of it and put it somewhere you will see it every day like a bathroom mirror. Look at it everyday for 6 months and if you still like it chances are you will like it on your body. If you don't -- don't get it."

For before and after photos of tattoo removal examples check