The reality of laser tattoo removal costs is that they will vary widely based on what you are removing, where you live, and your financial situation. Each company decides its way of figuring out how to charge customers for tattoo removals. The most common methods of pricing are by the square inch, sizing groups, or a flat rate.
Square inches might be the cheapest option because you are only paying for the exact space worked. However, since tattoos can come in varying shapes, it might be hard to determine what fits into a precise square inch so that estimates may vary between companies for the same square inch removal cost.
Sizing groups are widespread, and this easily fits tattoos into a given size category so that you know how much it will cost. If you have a tattoo that is just large enough to fit into a sizing category, then it might feel like you are paying more than you think is necessary, but each company has its pricing standards.
The flat rate involves charging the same amount per session, no matter what size the tattoo. For smaller tattoos, this will lead to higher than necessary costs. Still, for much newer, more significant, or more complicated tattoos, this might be the perfect option to make removal affordable.
Generally, the cost varies significantly based on the type of laser being used and the pricing method used by the company of your choice. Per session, prices can go from $50 – $2,000 depending on these variables. Some places offer a free quote and consultation, which is always a good place to start if you believe you may have found the perfect tattoo removal office.
Number Of Sessions Needed
The size, placement, and age of the tattoo all come into play when attempting to determine how many sessions it will take to remove it entirely. For smaller tattoos that have aged and faded, it might only take two sessions while larger, newer, or more prominent tattoos may take ten or more treatment sessions to complete.
You will want to have an in-depth discussion with your tattoo removal agent before you begin the treatments so that you know going in both how much it is likely to cost and how many painful sessions you will need to endure.
The most a specialist can work on in one session and still maintain safety regulations is 25-35 square inches. The limited space coverage per treatment means, for large tattoos, there will be significantly more sessions needed to do a full once-over with the laser. There will then need to be time for the body to absorb the broken down ink, so there is generally a six to eight-week break between sessions. The significant healing period means that for large, complete tattoo removal, it could easily take a year.
Tattoo Removal Specialists Vs. Dermatologists
The pricing difference is quite significant between places that title themselves tattoo removal specialists, medical spa, and dermatologists. Here is a breakdown of the standardized costs for each type of office:
- Tattoo Removal Specialists: $50 – $500 per session
- Medical Spa: $100 – $700 per session
- Dermatologist: $150 – $2,000 per session
Med spas are generally owned by a single physician and tend towards the higher end of the cost spectrum though certain areas do have lower-cost payment options based on the finances of the client.
Dermatologists are easily the most expensive, and that is for a couple of reasons. Primarily it is because the person doing the removal is a licensed plastic surgeon in most cases. Higher prices do not in any way guarantee better results, but many people are willing to pay more for a doctor with that level of experience. Another reason is that plastic surgeons and dermatologists charge more for all of their procedures with laser tattoo removal being no different.
Time of year, location, and technician experience will all play a hand in the overall removal price. More experienced technicians charge more. The position comes into play because there are specific laws for using laser equipment in areas like New York and California might lead to higher costs. Also, summer months are generally busier, so the expenses are higher, whereas the prices may go down during the winter months when offices are not seeing as much overall traffic.
If you have decided on where you want to go, then ask them about their payment options. Many laser tattoo removal offices and companies will have sliding scale fees, interest-free loans available, or even free options depending on your situation. There are also loan companies like MyLaserLoan, which offers loans for many laser skin services, including tattoo removal.
There are quite a few charities for tattoo removals that are either free of cost or very affordable. They can be found around the United States, but here a handful of them.
- Deinked for a Cause
- Homeboy Industries – the leader in affordable tattoo removal services
- Eraser Clinic
- Fresh Start Tattoo Removal Program, Inc – a non-profit
- Blank Slate – a Catholic charity
- Jails to Jobs: Tattoo Removal Options
Jails to Jobs and similar social assistance programs are meant to help people with visible gang-related or obscene tattoos get them removed so that they will be able to acquire and hold a job. Many related organizations are paid for by donations from people around the country wanting to help others get back on their feet.
No matter where you live, look around for some local removal charities as well. Some states and cities have tattoo artists that run charities or donations for people who need help affording tattoo removal services.
In addition to a traditional skincare office, there are also companies like The Finery that have mobile tattoo removal services that will travel to their client. These are currently available in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. The Finer offers interest-free monthly financing and other payment plans. Mobile tattoo removal companies also have affordable payment options