How Much Is Tattoo Removal?
Last Updated on May 7, 2021
written by tattoo artist Steven Martin
How Much Is Tattoo Removal?
We’ve all made bad choices when we’re young, such as getting a rubbish tattoo in college or getting your drunk friend to tattoo you and wake up the next day regretting your life choices and being stuck with a permanent tattoo as a result.
But how much does it cost to get a tattoo removed?
Laser tattoo removal is probably the safest way to remove a tattoo, but it came at a stupendous price tag and can be quite uncomfortable for beginners.
Let’s talk about tattoo removal costs and whether it’s worth the plunge.
Average Cost of Tattoo Removal:
So, how much out of pocket will you be if you plunge and go for tattoo removal? On average, tattoo removal tends to fall between $900 and $4000 depending on the size and how many sessions it takes to remove.
Now I know what you’re thinking; that’s even more than the tattoo itself! But this is the total average amount after all the sessions, but it also considers several different factors when pricing up the tattoo removal cost.
Like pricing a tattoo, it isn’t one size fits all; everyone is different, everyone’s skin is different. For example, removing a basic black design will be quicker than removing a large, detailed design.
Here’s how everything is calculated to give the final tattoo removal cost:
How laser tattoo removal cost is calculated:
The laser tattoo removal cost is determined and calculated with a range of different factors like size, color, tattoo age, ink quality, density, and tattoo location.
These factors tend to depend on how many sessions will be needed to be completed to remove the tattoo. On average, tattoo removal takes around 8-10 sessions to remove a tattoo, but for some, it takes longer, and the more sessions, the more it will cost.
The number of sessions is dependent on protocol and technology used, included in the factors of tattoo age, color, depth, and density of the tattoo as a whole. All can be dependent on where you live too.
Let’s break each factor in more detail:
The location of your tattoo on your body plays a massive role in the ease of tattoo removal and hence the tattoo removal cost. Many people may not realize this, but the location affects how long it takes for tattoo removal and how many tattoo removal treatments are needed.
Tattoos in areas far away from the heart may take longer to remove as it takes longer for the blood flow to reach these areas. When a tattoo is faded through laser tattoo removal treatment, the dermis is broken up, and white blood cells work to kill the small ink particles from the skin.
Essentially, if your tattoo is closer to your heart, this process speeds up because the blood can rush to the area and the skin where the tattoo is being removed, and the tattoo ink more can be dispersed efficiently and quicker.
For example, a tattoo on your chest, arm, neck, or stomach will remove quicker than tattoos on your hands, fingers, legs, feet, and toes as they don’t receive as much blood flow.
As a result, the treatment plan and the tattoo removal process will take longer, and the overall laser tattoo removal cost will be higher.
Location of the tattoo removal clinic:
This same concept goes for getting the tattoo in the first place; tattoo removal will be much cheaper in a state like Mississippi over New York or California because the living costs are much higher in built-up cities.
The quality of doctors and treatment options are most likely to be higher in these states, too; hence the price being much higher overall.
Tattoo Color and size:
You may not believe me when I say this, but a black tattoo is much easier to remove than one full of color! I know it’s a weird concept, but here’s why:
Black colors tend to be much easier to remove as they absorb all wavelengths of the laser used. In contrast, colored tattoos require different wavelengths and lasers, and the process is much more complicated.
So darker colors actually disappear easier and faster than lighter hues– not always the case for stains but for tattoos, it is much easier. Black tattoos will take fewer sessions to remove too.
Light blue, green, yellow, and orange are the hardest to remove, and turquoise can be almost impossible as not many laser removal clinics have the right lasers to target the color.
So, all in all, black, brown, dark blue, dark green, and dark colors, in general, are much easier to remove. They tend to be removed using a Piqo4 laser as it hits the right wavelength for these dark colors.
Colored tattoos require different targeting sessions as the different colors will require different lasers and wavelengths to absorb the pigment.
Another factor contributing to the tattoo removal cost is the size of the tattoo, as a larger tattoo will take more time and more treatment sessions to remove than a smaller one.
Sadly, if you’re looking to get a massive, colored tattoo removed, you need to prepare for a long tattoo removal treatment process and a stupendous price tag.
Different skin tones can play a massive role in the cost of the treatments and the overall procedure of tattoo removal. Laser tattoo removal actually works most effectively on skin with less pigment.
This contributes to the overall removal treatment cost and how many treatments you’ll need. Black ink on less pigmented skin is the easiest to remove than colored ink on highly pigmented skin tone.
Tattoo Age and Ink Quality:
Over the years (and if you forget your SPF), the pigment will begin to fade, hence why a tattoo that is 10 years old is easier to remove than one that is around 5 years old.
Newer tattoos tend to be much more vibrant, bolder, and brighter, and breaking up the pigment of a newer tattoo takes much longer, and the number of laser tattoo removal treatments will be higher.
This will affect the overall laser tattoo removal cost; luckily, most laser removal clinics offer payment plans and financing options to help with the overall cost.
Ink quality plays a massive part in laser tattoo removal costs too, higher quality ink was built to last and will take longer to break up and flush out of the skin over a tattoo created with low-quality ink.
Removing a tattoo with high-quality ink will take longer to get the results you want and will take more laser tattoo removal sessions to accomplish, increasing the overall cost.
Your immune system also has more of a say regarding how quickly the tattoo removal process will be and how quickly your tattoo will fade. A stronger immune system will eliminate the skin from skin much faster than a weak immune system.
These factors have a massive impact on how many laser tattoo removal treatment sessions you will need and the tattoo removal cost overall.
Companies then use their own methods of calculating the fees of their treatment options and tend to charge around $10-$25 per inch of removal per session. The larger the tattoo and the more inches in size then the more inches you pay for.
Other companies may charge by category, for example, $100 for a finger tattoo, $200 for a hand tattoo, or $600 for a back or sleeve tattoo. This price can differ depending on the geographic location and the quality of the doctor doing the treatment procedure.
Most tattoo removal clinics will offer tattoo removal financing as the tattoo removal prices can be quite heavy going and tough for patients to afford all at once. No one should have to afford an arm and a leg for the results and the cost of the procedure.
These financing payment plans tend to range from six months to up to 5 years to gradually pay off the cost of removing a tattoo from your body. You should be able to move on with your life; the tattoo cost shouldn’t hold you back.
Fair tattoo pricing plans are a sign of good quality and high-end tattoo removal clinics that will offer you a high-quality service. I would recommend going for a consultation before you decide on your payment plan.
Some companies even offer that if your tattoo removal takes fewer sessions and if you’ve purchased a package, the clinic will refund the remaining sessions.
What is the laser tattoo removal procedure like?
You are probably aware of how much the tattoo removal process is roughly after considering the factors above, but what is the laser tattoo removal process like?
Well, with each pulse of the laser, it will send light energy and lasers into your skin. The doctor will use different wavelengths for their laser treatments between patients, tattoos, and colors in your tattoo.
The light energy is directed into your skin and absorbed by the tattoo ink particles, breaking down the dermis in your skin. Your ink particles then absorb this energy and break down the ink into tiny fragments.
After your first tattoo removal session, your immune system works to remove the ink over the following weeks, flushing it out of the skin away from the tattooed area.
Each laser treatment breaks down more and more ink.
From session to session, you will notice that your tattoo will begin to lighten in appearance; each procedure treatment will break down the dermis and eliminate the ink until the tattoo can no longer be seen.
Is the laser tattoo removal painful?
If nothing has been done to numb the pain, then tattoo removal can be painful for a number of people. The doctor doing your treatments will offer numbing creams and skin cooling devices to make the treatment methods almost painless.
Laser tattoo removal treatments tend to involve some level of pain, but it is less painful for most people than they expected. The doctor will be very experienced and will ensure the results are worth the pain.
You may have a tingling sensation, almost like someone is pinging you with an elastic band, but it can be very mild when numbed effectively.
The pain is a bit more painful more (or even less for some people) than getting the tattoo itself– and you’ve done that already!
Will laser tattoo removal leave a scar?
Many patients worry that after the laser tattoo removal treatment, the tattoo will leave a scar. We all want our skin to look as natural as possible, which is the last thing we want.
If you notice scarring during the laser tattoo removal treatment, this may stay even once the treatment has finished. This isn’t often caused by the laser tattoo removal process but rather by the tattoo artist when the tattoo was created.
If the proper laser protocols and patient aftercare instructions are utilized effectively, it is extremely uncommon that patients will be faced with a scar.
This is because laser treatments target the skin and break down the tattoo pigment within the skin, so if there is any pre-existing scarring, cit will break down the pigment within the scar tissue so that the pigment will disappear, but the scar will remain.
In some circumstances, it can leave a scar if you’ve tried to remove yourself or gone to a cheap doctor (that may not even have a medical degree), and they’ve done a botched job.
So how much does the tattoo removal process cost? Well, many factors come into play, but it all depends on the size and pigmentation of the tattoo on your body.
Laser tattoo removal is brilliant if you want part of your tattoo removed, too, so you can go for cover-ups with new tattoos over the original design.
To work out pricing options and whether you’d like to go through the process, I would recommend going for a consultation with different clinics to decide which is best for you!
Good luck with your tattoo removal!