The cost of tattoo removal depends on the type of treatment you receive and also the type of tattoo you have. This guide is designed to help you understand the different options available, and in addition, how they will affect the final cost.
In a way, tattoo removal is comparable to getting dental treatment. As with the dentist, it is factors such as the reputation of the clinic, the experience of the surgeon, the quality of the equipment, and the amount of work you need doing that contributes to the final cost.
There is no way of knowing beforehand how much a tattoo will cost to be removed. Most tattoo removal procedures run into the four-figure territory, consequently, getting multiple tattoos removed will almost definitely cost thousands of dollars. The following 7 factors are key to determining the eventual cost of your tattoo removal:
#1. Tattoo Size
A fairly obvious one to begin with. The size of your tattoo will affect the amount of time – and therefore the amount of money – it will take to remove it.
The cost is calculated by measuring the square inch coverage of the tattoo, however, size is only one factor amongst many that determine the total cost of the removal.
#2. Choice of Facility
Tattoo removal is becoming increasingly common throughout North America, as a result, there are now numerous facilities capable of carrying out the procedure for you.
Dermatologists & Plastic Surgeons ($150-$1000/Treatment)
Dermatologists and plastic surgeons usually charge on a per session basis, consequently, their prices usually fall on the higher end of the price scale.
Medical Spas ($100-$700/Treatment)
These facilities provide a relaxing spa environment and also a trained medical practitioner to go along with it. Many people find that the welcoming environment of a spa makes the removal process more enjoyable.
Private Tattoo Removal Clinics ($50-$500/Treatment)
Private tattoo removal clinics specialize solely in laser tattoo removal. As a result, they often offer a better price range than the other facilities that have more than one area of expertise.
Tattoo Shops ($200 – $500/Treatment)
Many tattoo artists recommend fading or lightening ink before doing a cover-up tattoo. As a result, more tattoo artists than ever before are investing in removal equipment.
#3. Technician Experience
There are several types of certification available to tattoo removal technicians. In addition, the level of training and experience that a technician has will alter the price they charge.
It is always a good idea to enquire into the level of experience your removal technician has – even if it is a case of selecting one with less experience for financial reasons.
#4. Removal Method
When it comes to the actual physical procedure of getting the tattoo removed, there are several methods available. Laser removal is the most popular and well-known method, so much so that many people in the industry consider it the only truly viable option. The four main options include:
This is by far the most common method for tattoo removal. The reason is that laser removal has proven to be both safe and effective. The process is neither the fastest nor the cheapest method but as far as side effects and overall quality goes, lasers are the best option.
This is an extreme procedure in which the skin underneath a tattoo is removed and then stitched back together. In many cases, it leaves a surgical scar and can require a skin graft.The cost varies from $1,000 to $10,000.
This unpopular method is known for being painful and unreliable. Any savings you might make in cost are generally deemed to be not worth the trouble.
Another form of dermabrasion; chemicals are applied to the skin before the tattoo is then rubbed off. There are various methods of chemical-based tattoo removal, all of which are strongly advised against by the majority of health care professionals.
The dangerous chemicals used in the procedure can easily scar or injure a patient on a permanent basis. Worse still, they often fail to remove the tattoo in question.
#5. Your Tattoo Assesment Score
Most tattoo removal technicians use a standard method to estimate your treatment time. The so-called “Kirby-Desai Scale” assigns numerical values to tattoos, the number corresponds to the number of appointments you will need. Factors that the scale takes under consideration include:
- How much color layering is present
- How much scarring is present
- The amount of ink used
- The types of colors used
- The location on your body
- Your skin type and color
The higher the number your tattoo is assigned, the more difficult it is considered to remove. The grading scale is accurate enough that the technician can predict almost exactly how many sessions you will need.
#6. Skin Type
As was hinted at in the previous entry, your skin type will affect the ease with which your tattoo can be removed. Technicians use something called the Fitzpatrick Scale to classify skin types.
As far as lasers go, tattoo ink is easier to distinguish on lighter skin. As a result, darker skin tones often require more sessions as greater care must be taken to avoid side effects such as hypopigmentation.
#7. Method of Payment
This is not an issue of cash vs card, although that could play a small part in the overall cost. However, the biggest differential between payment methods is between paying outright after each treatment and staggering your payments in a payment plan or finance option. There are also discounts available for customers who purchase multiple treatments at one time.
Most clinics offer discounts when you purchase a package of treatments, and even bigger discounts when you purchase your entire treatment plan up-front.
Guessing your tattoo removal cost
As we mentioned from the outset, there is no way of telling in advance how much your tattoo removal will cost. However, the information here will allow you to make a rough estimate and start saving accordingly. In general, tattoo removal is more expensive than getting a tattoo and tends to run into the thousands as opposed to the hundreds.