An Ohio woman whose mugshots went viral for her spooky skeleton and cobweb face tattoos has unveiled a dramatic transformation after undergoing grueling laser treatments to remove the ink.
Alyssa Zebrasky, 31, first made headlines in Dec. 2018 after she was arrested in Ohio on charges of shoplifting and drug possession.
Her booking photo showed her forehead covered with a spider web tattoo, along with Day of the Dead-inspired skull design around her eyes, cheeks, nose and lips.
In April. 2019, Zebrasky and her macabre ink were back in the news after she was picked by the police again.
But now, more than three years later, Zebrasky has turned her life around after completing a drug court program and rehabilitation.
As part of her recovery process, she has decided to get rid of all her face tattoos in a bid to forget about an ex-boyfriend.
Zebrasky said that she had agreed to acquire the grim body art more than four years ago while in a toxic relationship with her then-partner, who at the time was in a gang that she wanted to join. To become part of the group, the boyfriend told her she needed to get face tattoos.
The woman went under the needle during two arduous sessions in June 2018, from which she emerged looking like the stuff of nightmares, reported Kennedy News.
Zebrasky found herself in police custody three times in six months, including one incident with her ex that resulted in short police chase, which they blamed on him “needing the bathroom.”
After undergoing rehabilitation, Zebrasky became desperate to permanently get rid of the tattoos, so she turned to a Texas-based charity called INK-nitiatve, which helps people remove undesired body art to get a fresh start free of stigma.
With support from her family and her new partner, with whom she is in “the healthiest relationship” she’s ever been in, Zebrasky has been documenting her ink removal journey on social media.
“Looking back at those pictures, I just feel disappointed in myself,” she said of her viral mugshots. “But I have to remember that I hadn’t worked on myself or tried to learn how to love myself like I have now.
“So then I feel proud because change is possible and healing and learning new things are possible. I like being able to look back and see my personal growth.”
Despite sporting tattoos all over her body, heavy machinery worker Zebrasky only wants to remove the ones on her face and hands due to the association of them with her ex, which she said had pushed her to get the inkings – and even picked out the Dead of the Dead design.
“Initially I said no and then he just kept talking about it. [Now I believe it was] so nobody else would want me,” she said.
The Ohio woman added that while she was in jail, her then-boyfriend visited her only twice.
“I have to think about that every time I look in the mirror,” she said. “I started healing mentally from all the stuff I went through with him.”
Zebrasky started the grueling de-inking process in October 2019 at the Pittsburgh Removery as part of her quest to feel “normal” — and be regarded as such by those around.
“I go into a store, and people stare at me. It makes me uncomfortable,” she said in a testimonial shared on the tattoo removal clinic’s website. “I want to be looked at like a normal person. I live my life just like everybody else.”
Zebrasky was told she’d need a dozen 20-minute sessions to clear up her face.
“When I first started going, they did my cheeks, forehead, and hands because like a tattoo your body can only heal so much at once,” she explained. “Now the cheeks are gone but we haven’t started around the mouth yet.”
Zebrasky said the process of removing the ink from the nose has been especially painful.
“The initial pain from the laser I would relate to having a rubber band snapping against your skin, that’s what the laser feels like and then like afterwards it’s sore for 30 minutes,” she said.
“It welts up afterwards and there’s some pain almost like if you spilt oil from the stove on your hand, that’s the closest I can compare to what it feels like on my hands,” she added.
Becca, a Removery technician who has been working with Zebrasky, stated on the business’s website that initially she was “intimidated” by her client’s appearance.
“I’ve never seen so many tattoos on someone’s face,” she said. “We didn’t know what her background was; why she went to jail.” But Becca said she soon discovered that the 31-year-old was “sweet” and “funny.”
As the tattoos get blasted off her skin, Zebrasky said she’s now “accepted” her face and hopes that by being honest about her experiences she will help others in a similar situation.
“For a very long time, I felt like I wasn’t free. Like I had to live a certain way because of things that were going on in my life with addiction and self-harm,” Zebrasky said in her testimonial. “And now, I feel like I don’t have to live like that anymore. I can just live my life — I’m finally free.”