How much does tattoo removal cost?
$450 – $1,500 average cost of small tattoo removal
$1,500– $4,000 average cost of large tattoo removal
Tattoo removal cost by size
Tattoo removal costs are $450 to $1,400 for small tattoos or $1,500 to $4,000+ for large tattoos. Most clients get 6 to 10 laser treatments costing $150 to $500 per session on average, depending on the tattoo size. Laser tattoo removal is the safest and least painful tattoo removal procedure.
|Tattoo size||Square inches||Price per session||Total removal cost*|
|Extra small||up to 1||$50 – $75||$300 – $750|
|Small||1 – 3||$75 – $150||$450 – $1,500|
|Medium||4 – 9||$150 – $250||$900 – $2,500|
|Large||9 – 16||$250 – $400||$1,500 – $4,000|
|Extra large||16 – 25||$400 – $600||$2,400 – $6,000|
|Extra-extra large||25 – 100||$600 – $1,000||$3,600 – $10,000|
*Total cost for 6 to 10 sessions.
Average tattoo removal cost per session
Tattoo removal costs $150 to $500 per session on average, with most patients needing 6 to 10 sessions to fully remove the tattoo. Sessions take from 5 to 15 minutes for small tattoos and 20 minutes to an hour for large tattoos. A minimum of 6 weeks is needed between sessions.
Laser tattoo removal price factors
Laser tattoo removal prices depend on the number of sessions or treatments necessary to remove the ink. To estimate the number of sessions needed, technicians calculate the tattoo's score on the Kirby-Desai Tattoo Removal Scale. The higher the score, the more treatments are needed.
The following tattoo features are used to estimate the total removal time and cost:
Tattoo size – Larger tattoos require more laser time at a higher cost than small tattoos.
Ink color – Blue and green inks are generally the hardest to remove, while black inks are the easiest and require fewer treatments. Multi-color tattoos require different laser wavelengths to target the different colors, extending the time for each session.
Tattoo quality – Professional, high-quality inks laid deeper in the skin are more difficult to remove than amateur ink just below the surface.
Tattoo age – Fresh ink takes longer to be broken down by the laser than old tattoos that are already beginning to fade.
Tattoo location – Tattoos on extremities like fingers, toes, and ears take longer to remove since the area has minimal circulation for the body to carry away the ink particles.
Skin color and type – Dark skin with more melanin requires more sessions with longer laser wavelengths. Dark skin is also at higher risk for blisters, skin color changes, scarring, and longer healing time.
Design intricacy – A singular, dense tattoo is faster to remove than one with many elements that need to be erased individually.
Tattoo removal FAQs
How does laser tattoo removal work?
Laser tattoo removal treatments like the PiQo4 laser use light waves to break up the pigment under the skin. The body's white blood cells then carry the ink away and filter it out of the body through the liver.
Laser removal is a highly effective method and can completely remove a tattoo.
Does tattoo removal hurt?
Laser tattoo removal is relatively painless, with some patients feeling discomfort similar to repeatedly snapping a rubber band against the skin. Patients also report red, warm skin like a sunburn for a few hours after treatment. Some clinics offer a local anesthetic to numb the skin before laser treatments.
Less popular tattoo removal options like dermabrasion or surgical excision are more painful with longer healing times.
How long does it take to remove a tattoo?
Tattoo removal takes 6 to 12 months or more depending on the number of sessions needed to remove the tattoo completely. Practitioners recommend a healing period of 6 weeks between sessions, with 8 weeks for darker complexions that are more prone to blistering.
How many sessions does it take to remove a tattoo?
Removing a tattoo takes around 6 to 10 sessions, depending on the patient's skin color and the tattoo size, location, and coloration. Fair skinned patients with black ink may only need 4 sessions, while darker skinned patients or intricate, multi-colored tattoos may require 12 or more treatments.
Does tattoo removal leave scars?
Laser tattoo removal does not typically leave scars, though there is a small risk of scarring in patients with darker skin tones. Scarring can also occur if the laser is not used properly or if the skin is not properly cared for after the procedure.
Is tattoo removal safe?
Laser tattoo removal is the only FDA-approved tattoo removal method. When performed by a qualified and experienced professional, laser tattoo removal is completely safe.
Does insurance cover tattoo removal?
Insurance does not cover tattoo removal since it is considered a cosmetic procedure. Some community programs provide free tattoo removal for those who qualify. These programs help victims of trafficking, ex-convicts, and former gang members.
Getting estimates from tattoo removal specialists near you
Here are some guidelines to help you choose the right tattoo removal specialist near you:
Ask for referrals from your medical doctor.
Search online for a licensed laser technician with tattoo removal experience.
Check their before & after results and reviews from past patients.
Schedule consultations with 2 to 3 laser services.
Confirm prices and package costs before scheduling the first visit.
Review all contract and payment terms before signing.
Questions to ask
When choosing a tattoo removal practitioner, be sure to ask these important questions:
How long have you been removing tattoos?
What is your per session fee for a 1 square inch tattoo removal?
Can I see examples of your past work? Will you provide references?
How many treatments do you think I will need?
How much time between treatments is needed?
Do you guarantee my tattoo will no longer be visible?
How do I care for the affected area at home?