For the entire time I’ve been in the tattoo removal industry, the question I get asked more often than how long will it take, how many sessions will I need or how does it work, is how much does it cost?
Here’s the simple answer: It depends….on like… A lot!
I know, that’s not the answer you were looking for, but it’s true. I’ll try my best to break it down for you so you have an understanding of why there is no straight answer.
Firstly, Laser tattoo removal requires multiple sessions. Since all lasers are different, and so is everyone’s skin, the number of sessions will vary.
The number of sessions you’ll need depends on this:
1. The tattoo itself.
The older the tattoo, the faster it will fade. Shading gets removed the fastest. Lines and solid fill take the longest to remove. It also depends on where it is on your body. The further away from your core you get (i.e: the closer to your fingers and toes), the longer it will take to remove.
2. What kind of laser the establishment uses.
A quality laser will give you quality results. A cheap laser will give you hypo/hyper pigmentation and scarring. A cheap laser also means many…many more sessions, and ultimately a higher cost for your tattoo removal.
Two different lasers, one a quality machine (ie: the Quanta Q Plus C) and the other bought on eBay, working to remove the same tattoo on the same person, could take a difference of 5 and 20 sessions respectively to remove… And once you get into these number of sessions, it usually means that the laser isn’t effectively targeting the ink, so there comes a point where the tattoo stops fading, and all the laser is doing is burning your skin.
3. The knowledge and experience of the laser technician.
Most people in this business are only hear to make money. They will tell you to return every 4-6 weeks to have a session done. As your removal progresses, we can use higher and higher energies. Our clients, for example nearing the end of their removal, might wait 6 months or longer between their last sessions. It’s easy for technicians to have you come back more often and charge you each time, when in fact they are not speeding up the process. So be aware if you are being told to come back at specific equal intervals.
4. Your immune system.
The laser removal process works with your body’s immune system. If you are healthy and take care of yourself, you will see your tattoo fade faster. Whereas someone in poor health, or on immunosuppressants will take longer to see similar results.
Alright, those are the factors that will decide how many sessions you’ll need. So now what? What will those sessions cost?
Don’t hate me, but again it depends.
Most places will charge by the size of your tattoo. And depending which laser they use, will usually reflect in their prices. Remember you can find lasers on eBay for a couple of thousand dollars, and some are the price of a house.
To summarize my point, if you go with a cheap laser, or a laser that doesn’t effectively target your tattoo ink, you might pay less per session. But you’ll require significantly more sessions than if you were to go with a quality laser with the proper technology to target your ink. You may pay more per session, but $250 x 4 sessions ends up being less than $100 x 15 sessions. And when your sessions end up going into double digits, the odds are the laser is doing more to damage your skin, rather than target your ink.
See why it’s so difficult to give a straight answer about the cost of tattoo removal? I hope this article has given you a better understanding of what factors play a part in determining the cost.
Do your research and don’t be cheap! The results are permanent, the good results and the bad!