How Much Does It Cost To Remove A Tattoo

March 7, 2022
Max Stevens
how much does it cost to remove a tattoo

Do you have a tattoo you regret? Maybe you’re trying to hide your bad tattoo with clothes and makeup. But when the convenience of that wears off, one of the two options you’re left with is 

  1. another tattoo to cover it up
  2. Tattoo removal by an expert 

But tattoo removal methods can be expensive. And without proper research and information, tattoo removal can lead to bad decisions and results. 

By reading this, you’ll be able to know how much it costs to remove tattoos, the factors that affect the prices, and the possible methods of removing them.

Does Tattoo Removal Work?

Unfortunately, you can’t completely remove a tattoo. The best you can hope for is to make it look like it was never there at all.

Tattoos are made up of ink that has been permanently placed in your skin. The most commonly used tattoo inks consist of industrial metal pigments or plastic-based pigments. 

The only way to get rid of a tattoo is to break up the pigment and let your body absorb it. This can be done using several different methods that we’ll cover below. 

Are Old Tattoos Easier To Remove?


Tattoos that have been in place for a long time are easier to remove. Why? Ink particles, which contain the colour, “spread out” throughout the dermis or second layer of skin over time. 

In other words, there is more room for the laser energy to work on removing all of the tattoo pigment.

Is It Worth Removing a Tattoo?

It depends on why you want the tattoo removed. Some reasons include

Career Opportunities

In some countries, people with many tattoos are not seen as ideal job applicants compared to those without.

And currently, there are no employment laws about tattoos in the workplace. Therefore, if employers decide to reject an applicant because of his/her tattoos, they certainly can. 

This can be very discriminating for individuals who have cultural tattoos like the Maori people of New Zealand. Some companies may discriminate against tattooed individuals due to front-facing jobs or other factors. 

So if tattoo removal can improve your chances of a job, it may be worth having the procedure done.

Personal Reasons

If you want your tattoo removed for personal reasons such as a bad breakup, you might want to consider getting a cover-up.

Covering up a tattoo is the safest and cheapest option for removing your unwanted ink. You can have another tattoo inked on top of your old one, effectively covering it up.

Factors Affecting Tattoo Removal Costs

tattoo removal on the arm

Before getting an estimate for how much it costs to remove a tattoo, you need to know what factors could affect the price. Five main factors can affect how much removal will cost:

  1. Body Location

Where on your body is the tattoo? Is it near your wrist, neck, or another joint that makes removal more complicated? This will affect how much work it takes to remove the tattoo and could raise the price.

Tattoos located on your upper arms, wrist, or neck can take fewer sessions to remove than the tattoos on your feet or legs. The reason behind this is that tattoo removal treatment will work faster if your tattoo site has better blood circulation.

Also, different areas of the body have different pain levels. For example, treatment around your neck will be more painful than if you get a tattoo removed on your arm or shoulder. This is because the skin of your neck is thin, making it more sensitive than other parts of your body. 

  1. Size

How big is your tattoo? The bigger it is, the longer it will take to remove and the more it will cost. For example, big tattoo styles like angel wings or full-sleeve tattoos will cost you more than simple and smaller designs. 

  1. Colour

What colour is your tattoo? Dark-coloured inks like black and blue are easier to remove than lighter colours like green or pink. 

  1. Skin Tone

People with darker skin tones take more sessions to remove a tattoo. This is because darker skin tones require a higher wavelength on laser tattoo removal. Lower wavelength may be effective on darker skin tones but can cause scarring and skin discolouration. 

  1. Method

The method you choose to remove your tattoo is one of the biggest factors that affect the cost. 

Some procedures may cost higher than expected but can provide promising results, while other options are cheaper but may not be effective in removing tattoos.

Tattoo Removal Methods

There are many different methods that professionals can use to remove tattoos. Here is a look at each of them and how much they cost.

Method Cost Sessions Effectiveness Scarring
Laser Removal $200 to $500 per session 7-10 Will make tattoo lighter Low
Surgical Excision $1000 to $2500 1, depends on size Tattoo will be entirely removed High
Dermabrasion $100 to $5000, Depending on size 1 Results vary from person to person Results vary from person to person
TCA Chemical Peel $150 to $1500 Depends on the size Not really effective High
OTC Tattoo Removal Creams $15 to $50 Could take months to fade tattoo Will only fade tattoo High, may even cause severe dermal damage

Laser Tattoo Removal

This is the most common method of removing a tattoo. A laser light breaks up the ink into tiny particles that are absorbed by your body over time.

Laser tattoo removal can be painful, and the doctor will need to numb your skin using a lidocaine injection (local anaesthetic).

Laser removal can take up to 7 to 10 sessions before seeing complete results. This method won’t cause any permanent damage and has the lowest risk of scarring.

The average cost of laser treatment range from $200 to $500 per treatment session. The laser treatment price will vary based on the size and location of your tattoo.


Surgical excision is another option for removing tattoos, though it’s usually only for big changes or complicated pieces removed.

During the procedure, the skin is numbed using lidocaine injection. The tattooed area will be removed using a scalpel, and the edges are then sutured together. 

Surgical excision will often leave a scar where the tattoo used to be. This method can cost around $1,000 to $2,500.


This method removes the tattoo by sanding down the epidermis (skin’s top layer) using a rapidly rotating device, removing ink particles.

It can be effective but can result in a very noticeable scar and is often used only on smaller tattoos.

The price of dermabrasion will vary based on how big your tattoo is, and it may cost from $100 to $5,000.

Chemical Peel

A trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel is used to remove the top layers of dead skin cells.

This can help smooth out your skin, eliminating the appearance of tattoos.

Chemical peels are quick et expensive. It also involves risks such as permanent scarring. This method of tattoo removal costs around $150 to $1,500.

Over-the-Counter Removal Creams

There are a variety of tattoo removal creams on the market that claim they will help break up your tattoo and make it dissolve over time.

Although they cost cheaper (around $15 to $50), there is no evidence that these creams remove tattoos effectively. They could cause unwanted side effects such as scarring, skin discolouration, and other serious dermal damage.

How To Choose the Right Tattoo Removal Method

When deciding which tattoo removal option is best for you, consider your budget for removal. Do you have a certain amount to spend, or can your wallet stretch to several sessions? 

Another thing to consider is safety. What are the possible risks? Will there be potential permanent damage?

Next, evaluate the different methods and decide which one would be best for your tattoo. Also, check with other people who have used these methods to see if they were happy with their results.

Finally, do your own research. Talk with your doctor about the possible side effects and how you can avoid them. Make sure you know exactly what results to expect from each method.

Although it can be overwhelming, researching these things could help you find the best tattoo removal option for your needs.

How Much Does It Hurt To Get a Tattoo Removed?

Does tattoo removal hurt? Yes, it does. No matter what method you choose to remove your tattoo, there is some pain involved in the process. The pain level will vary for every person. Some people may experience mild discomfort, but others could find the process extremely painful.

There are also possible side effects, including but not limited to

  • swelling
  • Itching 
  • hyperpigmentation (dark patches)
  • hypopigmentation (light patches)
  • scarring
  • redness
  • infection

It is always best to talk to a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon before your treatment session. They will be able to tell you if there are any risks involved and give you a reasonable estimate on how long it may take for your tattoo to fade.

How To Take Care of Your Skin After a Tattoo Removal Procedure

To heal your skin faster and avoid health issues, it is crucial to do an aftercare routine after getting your tattoo removed.

Here are some steps you can take to properly care for your skin after a tattoo removal session:

  • Apply an antibacterial cream to the area to prevent infection.
  • Protect your skin against sun exposure for a couple of weeks to avoid dark patches.
  • Do not expose your skin to pools, beaches, or hot tubs for at least two weeks.
  • Avoid working out or doing any physical activities for at least 48 hours.
  • Avoid using any type of makeup or lotion on the treated site for 48 hours.
  • Apply a cold compress to the area to avoid possible inflammation.

Can You Remove a Tattoo Naturally?

No. Many DIY tattoo removal methods on the internet claim they can naturally remove your tattoo.

However, there is no way to do this without surgery or laser removal. The best they could do is to fade your tattoo, but the side effects are not worth it.

It is always better to consult a medical professional instead of relying on information from the Internet when removing tattoos.

Is Laser Removal the Best Way To Remove a Tattoo?

Laser removal methods can charge you more treatment sessions, depending on your tattoo’s location, size, and colour. But with lower chances for scarring and dermal damage, laser treatment is the preferred method for removing tattoos. 

Final Thoughts

There is no such thing as a tattoo that can’t be removed. However, not all tattoos can be removed the same way, and some might require expensive treatments to get the job done.

With today’s technology, methods for tattoo removal work differently and can provide different results. If you want to remove your tattoo, you should evaluate these other methods and decide what’s right for you.

The price of having your tattoo removed can range from $200 to $500 per session for laser tattoo removal, $1,000 to $2,500 for surgical excision, and $100 to $5,000 for dermabrasion.

It’s also important to know the side effects of every procedure before getting it done.

If you’re only looking to cover your tattoo, using a cover-up design is the best option.

Aftercare is also very important to get the results you want, so don’t neglect it.

If you’re considering getting a tattoo removed, be sure to do your research and find out which method is best for you.



Max Stevens

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