Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Average Cost of Laser Tattoo Removal UK

Laser tattoo removal is a highly effective method of removing tattoos that you no longer wish to have. When it comes to the cost of laser tattoo removal, one of the most important things to consider is how large your tattoo is. The larger your tattoo, the more time it will take to remove it and the more money it will end up costing you.

But there are other factors that can affect the cost as well. For example, if you have dark skin or a lot of scarring in the area where you want your tattoo removed, it may be necessary for your doctor to use more than one treatment session. This can increase overall costs. Also, if you have a large number of tattoos or need more than two treatments per session, it could add up quickly!

In this post, we will provide information on how much does laser tattoo removal hurt and average cost of tattoo laser removal.

Average Cost of Laser Tattoo Removal UK

The average price for laser tattoo removal in England is ÂŁ180 per hour. This means that if you are someone who has two sessions per week for six weeks straight (which would be an average), then this would cost ÂŁ1,080 total!

Tattoos are a wonderful way to express yourself and commemorate a moment, but they can also be a source of regret. If you’ve found that your tattoo no longer reflects who you are, or if it’s faded over time, then you may want to consider getting it removed.

Laser tattoo removal is a popular procedure that can effectively remove tattoos from your body. The process works by using a laser to break apart the ink particles in your tattoo. As the ink breaks down, it’s absorbed into your skin, which eventually fades away.

But how much does laser tattoo removal cost? How long will it take to get rid of your tattoo? And what are the risks involved with undergoing this procedure? In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and more!

How much does tattoo removal cost?

The average cost of laser tattoo removal is $423, according to 2020 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This average cost is only part of the total price – it does not include other related expenses. Please consult with your plastic surgeon’s office to determine your final fee.

It is important to consider the type of procedure being performed. Options such as dermabrasion and surgical excision are likely to be more expensive than laser treatments.

Patients should also consider the number of treatments that may be necessary to treat a particular tattoo. Large, colorful and elaborately designed tattoos are likely to require more removal sessions with lasers or trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels, and will, therefore, be more expensive to remove.

Most health insurance does not cover cosmetic surgery or its complications, but many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.

Tattoo removal costs may include:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Procedure costs
  • Facility costs
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Medical tests

When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for tattoo removal, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the procedure.

Tattoo Removal: 11 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting It

Are you the not-so-proud owner of some regrettable ink and considering tattoo removal? Welcome to the club. I have four (five, if you count the one on my back as two) tattoos from my late teens and early twenties that I could probably definitely do without. So I set out to finally part ways.

If you’ve heard anything about laser tattoo removal, it’s probably along the lines of it being insanely painful, like maybe even more than getting the tattoo in the first place. But while there’s plenty of info on what to consider before getting a tattoo (and pages on pages of enticing inspo), there still isn’t a whole lot of discussion surrounding the dark side of ink jobs: What happens if you grow to no longer love that little shooting star or random Latin phrase (ahem, see below)? 

While going through the process, I picked up a handful of tips along the way that I wish I’d known going into it. So to do you all a solid, I put together a list of everything I’ve learned. From the costs associated to the potential side effects, here’s what you need to know about tattoo removal.

Image may contain Skin Human Person Tattoo Sunglasses Accessories and Accessory

1. Consider a doctor or a tattoo removal specialist.

I’d previously had one tattoo zapped at a spa (I was living in small-town Canada where there weren’t plastic surgery offices or dermatologists), where an aesthetician used an outdated heat laser that ended up burning and scarring my skin. This time around, I got my treatments done by John F. Adams, M.D., at the New York Dermatology Group, where everything is done under medical supervision. I suggest you find your own removal expert by asking friends, influencers, or even by stopping people that you see with removal in process—which, yes, I have done.

2. It will take months—if not a year or more.

Tattoos don’t just disappear after a once-over with the laser. (I wish!) “A complete tattoo removal takes a minimum of 2 1/2 years on average,” says Bethany Cirlin, tattoo removal specialist and owner of Clean Canvas More Art. “Laser treatments should be scheduled three months apart from one another so you get the most out of each treatment. This allows your body to break down as much of the tattoo as it can while also giving your body the opportunity to heal completely before your next session.”

As of writing this, I’ve had six sessions, and I’d wager that I need about five more, despite the fact that my initial estimate was six to eight sessions. It takes a long time to complete because each time the tattoo is lasered, particles are broken down and digested by the body’s immune system. The regeneration period is up to eight weeks, and the next time you go, the laser breaks down new particles of pigment. And so on and so forth.

3. It’s expensive.

If you have your procedures done by a doctor, the bill for each visit can run you hundreds of dollars. Brace yourself: The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery estimates the average cost per session at $463. But see point number one for why it’s worth it. Your tattoo removal cost can also will vary based on the size, color, and age of your tattoo.

4. All ink can be taken out.

Contrary to the old belief that light, colored ink was hard to remove, Adams assured me that all hues will now disappear—no matter your skin tone. (FYI: The previous explanation was that, similar to laser hair removal, the laser would solely be attracted toward dark colors, like black.) With PicoSure technology, he says you can even get out yellows and greens, which were previously the most stubborn.

5. Lather up on the sunscreen prior to your sessions.

“Once you know you’re unhappy with a tattoo on your body, immediately start using a zinc oxide sunscreen on it,” says Cirlin. “The most common reason people can’t get lasered is because their tattoo has had sun exposure. By using a zinc oxide anytime you’re outside, you’ll help protect your tattoo, which will allow you to get lasered regardless of the season.”

6. Make sure to block out your schedule.

While some laser sessions are quick and easy, not all are. Mine have been taking about 45 minutes because we take before photos, clean the areas, inject them with lidocaine for freezing, laser them, ice them, and then bandage them. Oh, and sometimes a weird side effect happens where I taste metal when the laser hits my skin. According to Adams, it’s a sensation that some people experience when the laser hits the lidocaine, and it’s completely normal.

7. There might be some pain during the session.

But consider this warning from Cirlin first: “Pain is completely individualized, and if you tell someone that something is going to hurt, they go into it with that expectation. That said at my practive, we offer a topical numbing cream, which helps to take the edge off the procedure.” Just know that even with a numbing cream though, your experience may not be totally pain-free. “We also use a piece of equipment called a chiller that uses cold air to help keep our clients comfortable,” she says. It’s definitely worth asking for a consultation with your practitioner ahead of time if you’re worried about pain. 

8. There might be some slight discomfort after your tattoo removal procedure too.

I would advise that you budget for discomfort for about a week. For me, the sites blister and need to be covered in a salve and bandaged for a few days; then they start to depuff, scab, peel, and regenerate. There is good news though: The more treatments you have, the less after care there is (since there’s less ink reacting to the laser).

9. Prepare for your tattoo after care in advance. 

You’ll need things like Aquaphor, bandages, and even clothes that don’t rest on your tattoo. Yes, I actually bought shirts that didn’t have material where my neck/back tattoo is. At first, I was cutting tags out, but when tagless cotton tees still made the spot hurt and itch, I figured keyhole backs were a good investment. If you have tattoos on your ribs or feet (and like to wear bras and shoes) it might be best to plan your sessions accordingly.

It also helps to apply a thin coating of antibiotic ointment or healing moisturizer three times a day, like from Aquaphor or Kiehl’s, for the first three days of the healing process.

10. It might be worth getting a cover up tattoo instead of a full tattoo removal. 

One tattoo removal method that isn’t talked about as much is semi-removal—i.e. If you don’t want to take your tattoos all the way off, you can simply lighten them enough to get some good cover-up work done. I have a friend who had a bird piece lightened enough to have a tattoo artist ink a lightbulb over the top. I thought it was smart because it meant her new tattoo didn’t have to be heavy-handed.

11. Know that the process could leave scarring.

If, like me, you want your ink completely removed, you should know that the skin that is left might not be flawless. While the risks are nowhere near as big when you are treated by a removal specialist or medical professional, your skin pigment can be lightened. Which, again, is all the more reason to refer back to the first point on this list—go to a qualified doctor or specialist. 

Laser Tattoo Removal Near Me Cost

How Much Does Tattoo Removal Cost? A Look at Prices and Procedures

Key takeaways:

Prices for tattoo removal vary based on such factors as removal method, tattoo size, existing scars, skin color, body part, ink colors, and ink depth.
The average price for laser tattoo removal is $423. For a large piece of art, the cost can reach $4,000 or more.
Insurance will not cover tattoo removal, but some community programs offer free removal if you qualify.
Close-up on a person getting their tattoo removed with a laser removal device.
damiangretka/iStock via Getty Images
If you have tattoo regret, you’re not alone. A 2021 survey revealed that about 12% of Americans would like to be rid of at least one tattoo. In fact, people around the world spent $478 million on tattoo removal services in 2019 alone. One market research firm projects that total will reach nearly $800 million by 2027.

As these numbers suggest, saying goodbye to tattoos can be costly. It can also be time-consuming, requiring weeks or months of treatment. So, it’s wise to think through all the options.

If you’re ready to get rid of your unwanted ink, here’s a look at how much tattoo removal is likely to cost you.

How much is tattoo removal?
The price of removing your tattoo depends on many factors, so you’ll want to talk to the provider about the cost before your first visit. One major factor is the method used for the removal.

Laser treatment is the only FDA-approved removal method. The laser’s light waves break up the pigment under the skin, and your immune system then clears out the pigment over time. The technician uses different lasers for different colors of ink. For most people with light skin, the entire process takes 6 to 10 treatments.

For people of color, the process may take longer (and thus be more expensive). Because the melanin in dark skin increases heat absorption, there is a higher risk that standard laser settings could cause blisters, skin color changes, and even scarring. If you have dark skin, find a professional who has experience in removing tattoos for people with darker skin tones. Your removal process may require longer laser wavelengths, more sessions, and longer healing time.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), in 2020, the cost of laser tattoo removal averaged $423 (not counting related expenses). Removing a large, detailed piece could cost $4,000 or more. Some providers have a flat fee for removal up to a certain size. Others charge by the square inch.

Are there cheaper tattoo-removal options?
Dermabrasion is a less common removal method. A technician uses a rotating device to remove the ink by sanding away the top and middle layers of skin. This technique doesn’t always work. It can also be very painful, with extensive healing time needed between sessions. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery reports that the cost can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. It will depend on your tattoo’s size, location, and age, and on the number of treatment sessions needed.

Surgical excision is another alternative. This method removes the tattoo by cutting away the affected skin. Excision works best for small tattoos, because it leaves a noticeable scar. The ASPS reports that excision is likely to be more expensive than laser treatment, as it requires local or general anesthesia. Anecdotal information about an excision in Charlotte, North Carolina, puts the cost at roughly $1750 for removal of a forearm tattoo.

Special considerations for cosmetic tattoos
There are additional options for removal of cosmetic tattoos, often called permanent makeup. Examples include permanent eyebrow filler, eyeliner, and lipstick. These tattoos are much smaller than other forms of skin art. They also fade after 1 to 3 years because the “pigment” (cosmetic ink) has a different chemical composition and remains close to the skin’s surface. With a bit of patience, you may not even need to pay for removal.

If you don’t want to wait that long, you can see a technician who can use saline injections, glycolic acid, or specialized lasers to break down the cosmetic tattoos. PMU Hub, a resource for permanent makeup artists, reports average costs of about $215 for laser removal, $250 for saline, and $400 for glycolic-acid treatments.

Does insurance cover tattoo removal?
No. Since tattoo removal is considered cosmetic surgery, you can’t get insurance coverage or use FSA or HSA funds to pay for the procedure.

Finding the best tattoo-removal price
The setting for your procedure affects the cost. Tattoo-removal sessions at a medical spa will cost less than treatments from a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Providers with more experience tend to charge more. At Removery, a chain of tattoo-removal clinics with locations in 22 states plus Canada and Australia, laser erasure of an extra-small, one-color tattoo costs just under $1100, while removal of an extra-large tattoo carries a price tag of roughly $3600.

For the most accurate cost estimates, work with a dermatologist who uses the Kirby-Desai Scale. It gauges the cost of a tattoo removal by helping the doctor calculate the number of appointments that will be necessary. The scale’s elements are:

  • Current scarring
  • Amount of ink
  • Amount of color layering
  • Ink colors
  • Skin color and type
  • Tattoo location

This model indicates that removal will cost more for Black and dark-skinned people because they typically need more treatments, as noted above.

Tattoo-removal payment plans
Medical spas and cosmetic dermatologists often discount laser tattoo removal. They may have a special price if you pay cash for services or purchase a package in advance.

Also, many providers offer payment plans. If you decide to finance the procedure that way, take time to compare rates and terms carefully. Consider whether you can get a personal loan with a lower interest rate and friendlier terms than the provider’s plan.

One popular medical credit card, CareCredit, offers promotional rates in the 15% to 18% range but has a standard APR of 26.99%. You can probably do better with a regular credit card; APRs have averaged roughly 14.5% over the past several years.

Free and low-cost tattoo removal
You may qualify for free or low-cost tattoo removal. Programs such as Removery’s INK-nitiative will take on free removal projects for people who want to move past a history of incarceration, gang involvement, or victimization. You can search for similar offerings in your area through the Jails to Jobs network.

How Much Does Laser Tattoo Removal Hurt

Despite the fact that laser tattoo removal can be painful, it probably won’t hurt as much as getting the tattoo did.

The discomfort of tattoo removal is equivalent to that of a severe sunburn, and the laser pulses are similar to elastic bands snapping on your skin. Indeed, it is cringe-inducing, but bearable.

Average Cost Of Tattoo Laser Removal

Tattoo removal costs can vary significantly depending on a variety of factors. One of the main factors that can influence the cost of tattoo removal is the procedure used. Laser tattoo removal is one of the most common methods and typically costs around $423 on average. This procedure involves using high-powered lasers to break down the ink particles in the skin, allowing the body to naturally eliminate them over time. Other methods, such as surgical excision or dermabrasion, may also be used for tattoo removal, and their costs can vary accordingly.

Another factor that can impact the cost of tattoo removal is the size of the tattoo. Smaller tattoos will generally be less expensive to remove than larger ones, as they require less time and resources to treat. Additionally, the presence of any existing scars in the area of the tattoo can also affect the cost, as these may require additional treatments to achieve satisfactory results.

The body part being treated can also influence the cost of tattoo removal. Areas with thinner skin, such as the face or neck, may be more difficult to treat and therefore more expensive. The color of the skin can also play a role, as darker skin tones may require more sessions to achieve complete removal of the tattoo. Additionally, the depth and type of ink used in the tattoo can impact the cost, as certain types of ink may be more difficult to remove than others.

Overall, the cost of tattoo removal can vary widely depending on a number of factors. While laser tattoo removal may cost around $423 on average, the price for removing a larger or more complex tattoo can be $4,000 or more. It is important to consult with a qualified dermatologist or tattoo removal specialist to determine the best course of action for removing a tattoo and to get an accurate estimate of the cost involved.

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