Do tattoos leave a black mark on your prospects?
FIRST impressions are important and lots of tattoos could prove to be a handicap when applying for jobs, according to one business leader.
Research suggests one person in six who has a tattoo done goes on to regret it.
And as one city trouble-maker takes steps to have his facial markings removed we asked what others thought of tattoos.
David Parlby, Plymouth Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said: "If someone who was heavily tattooed came to me for a job, it would put me off.
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"I've always worked in the professional services sector, where personal appearance and first impressions are important.
"Tattoos are potentially off-putting, and don't help your chances of success in competitive selling situations.
"I believe many people share my views."
Mr Parlby said tattoos might not be such a disadvantage in jobs where there was little face-to-face contact with the public.
Asked if he would recommend people to have tattoos removed to improve their job prospects, he said: "I believe it's a pretty painful process and expensive too."
Veteran Union Street tattoo artist Doc Price said: "We don't tattoo people in any way which will cause them problems.
"We don't tattoo anyone who is under-age or who appears under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
"Some people will tattoo their faces - usually offenders or people who share a common lifestyle.
"I have friends with facial tattoos, but these are mature people who know what they are doing."
Mr Price, 80 and a tattooist for 60 years, conceded some tattoos could prove a handicap to getting a job, but said he and his son Bill, 50, acted with common sense and respect for their clientele.
"Everyone and his mate now wants a tattoo," he said.
"People follow fashion; they want what David Beckham and the other celebrities have.
"We don't remove tattoos; there is a private clinic in Devonport and we point people in that direction for a consultation.
"I think it costs around £80 a session for removal, using lasers to evaporate the pigment in the skin tissue.
"Some I have seen look fairly successful."
Fiona Phelps, assistant director of commissioning at NHS Plymouth, said only five requests for tattoo removal had been received over the past year.
She said: "Tattoo removal is not routinely funded but it is recognised that every patient is an individual and that there may be particular circumstances which give grounds for funding treatment."
FEEDBACK: views on the street
TOM BOYLAN, aged 25, and from Honicknowle: “I have eight tattoos but regret only two - the name of an ex-girlfriend and one badly done on my leg.
“I don’t like facial tattoos; your face should be left alone because it describes who you are.”
Hairdresser Sarah Reilly, aged 20, from Plymstock: “I have three tattoos: on my foot, hand and back.
“I wouldn’t have one anywhere that showed, but I like them on men.”
Shop worker Michael Curtis, 23 and from Yelverton: “If I had a tattoo it would have to represent something.
“Having tattoos on your knuckles or face makes you look bad.
“Tattoos could affect your job prospects unless you cover them up.”
Retail manager Marcus Gannon, 41: “I have no tattoos but if I did it would be something to do with my two children; my wife Josie has one of our birth flowers intertwined on her stomach.
“If someone came to me for a job and they had lots of visible tattoos it would put me off; it’s not becoming in a retail setting.
“I think tribal tattoos on the face can be quite scary.”
Kyran Turvey, 30 and from Eggbuckland, a sales assistant at Dunelm Mill: “I have no tattoos but I am designing one for myself based on Polynesian artwork which will run down the side of my right arm.
“I wouldn’t have a visible one, especially on the face or neck; I think people who do are too confident about themselves.
“Where I work, people who have tattoos try to cover them up, for example with longer sleeves.”
Andrew Metcalf, 40 and from Saltash Passage, a local businessman, landlord and property owner: “I have one big tattoo on my chest and arm and one on my leg.
“Having facial tattoos makes you look like a thug, but I have employed people with visible tattoos because they are generally cheaper!”
Surya Stillingfleet Smith from Peverell, aged 19 and a student in London: “I have a small tattoo on my wrist of my name in Hindu.
“I’m quite happy with it because it’s subtle.
“Most of my friends have tattoos but people who have lots carry a certain stigma.”
Why facial tattoos are being removed
A NOTORIOUS trouble-maker is arranging to have his distinctive facial tattoos removed.
Sonny Parsons, aged 23, was due at an appointment on the day he faced Plymouth magistrates for having an illegal drug in the street.
His solicitor had previously told a court his extensive facial tattoos could be seen as ‘some form of self-harm’.
Geoff Parlby told the latest hearing: “His mother believes it is of more than symbolic importance that he is arranging to have his facial tattoos removed.
“He is arranging that through his GP. He wants to make progress and put his past behind him.”
The Herald understands the Parsons family is paying for the cost of tattoo removal privately. The family declined to comment after the case.
Parsons, of Boringdon Avenue, St Budeaux, admitted possession of 90 millilitres of methadone on March 24.
He admitted failing to answer bail as soon as possible after May 21.
Zeenat Begum, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Parsons was spotted on CCTV approaching people and apparently trying to sell them a laptop computer in George Street, Devonport, at around 9am.
She said an officer searched Parsons and found he had a small bottle containing 90 millilitres of methadone, a heroin substitute.
Miss Begum said he told police he had taken the drug as part-payment for the computer.
Mr Parlby said Parsons had no history of heroin or methadone use.
He added he was bailed for the offence until May 21, but was in the interim sent to jail for 12 weeks.
Mr Parlby said his client could not answer his bail because he was in custody, but should have surrendered as soon as he was released on June 8.
He said Parsons had received help from the mental health service and was suffering from ‘extremely low self-esteem’.
Mr Parlby said: “He has for years abused Valium, without which he hardly feels like he can leave the house.
“When he has it, he feels like he can conquer the world.”
The court heard Parsons has previous convictions including assault, affray and public disorder.
He added he had been in custody for two days since being arrested for failing to answer his bail.
Magistrates fined him £100 for each offence but waived any payment because he had spent time in custody.
Presiding magistrate Clare Thomas said: “We have been lenient with you but this is a turning point.”