How Much Does Laser Tattoo Removal Cost?
Most of us do something we regret at some point in our lives…And for some, it's getting a tattoo.
There are any number of reasons people want their tattoos removed. Perhaps you no longer like the design or maybe you no longer wish to be reminded of the ex you got it with.
Whatever the reason, the good news is that you don’t have to live with it forever. You can remove unwanted tattoos safely and efficiently with a series of laser treatments.
Today's advanced medical-grade laser technology is vastly different from the painful rudimentary tattoo removal methods of the past.
But how much does laser tattoo removal cost?
Here is a breakdown of the laser tattoo removal process and what factors affect the cost to give you a better idea of how much you can expect to pay.
How it Works
Gone are the days of painful abrasive substances, cuts and skin grafts to remove tattoos. We use the most advanced laser system on the market for tattoo removal.
When you get a tattoo, ink is lodged in the middle layer of skin called the dermis. Your immune system responds by sending white blood cells to the area to remove the foreign ink particles.
Only smaller particles that can be broken down by the white blood cells are removed. Large ink particles remain to form your tattoo.
When the laser shatters the ink particles in your tattoo, they break down into smaller bits that can be removed by white blood cells.
The PicoWay® laser (that we use here at Cloak & Dagger Tattoo Removal in London) is a high-power laser that generates an extremely short pulse duration of a picosecond (trillionth of a second). The pulse speed generates shockwaves in the targeted tissue, which shatter the tattoo ink.
Unlike a photothermal (or heat) approach that causes scarring, the PicoWay laser works below the skin surface and leaves the outer layer of the skin undamaged.
What Affects Tattoo Removal Costs?
Several factors will determine the number of treatments that you will need to completely remove your unwanted ink. Laser technicians worldwide use the Kirby-Desai Scale to determine the intricacy of each tattoo removal based on a number of factors.
In general though, the more sessions you need to remove your tattoo, the higher the cost. Plus, there may be unique challenges with your personal tattoo.
At Cloak and Dagger, we provide free estimates for tattoo removal so that you can have a good idea of the cost before taking the plunge.
The Size of Your Tattoo
Typically, the bigger the tattoo, the more it will cost to remove.
Size alone does not determine the cost. A small colourful tattoo could be more costly to remove than a large black tattoo.
But, if you have a large tattoo, you should be prepared to spend a little extra to remove it.
How Long You've Had the Tattoo
The older the ink, the more easily it can be removed.
Your body breaks down the ink over time, causing the ink to fade. Faded ink is also an indication of your body’s ability to remove small ink particles.
Sun exposure can also fade a tattoo. Over time, UV rays from the sun can degrade the tattoo ink. This will make it easier to laser it away.
Your Skin Type
Your skin type and tone are a priority when considering how many laser sessions you need to remove your tattoo. Skin is categorised on the amount of melanin pigment it contains.
The Fitzpatrick scale grades skin tone from one to six. One being pale white skin, blue or green eyes and blonde or red hair. Six is dark brown or black skin.
Tattoos are easier to remove from lighter skin. If you have a dark tattoo on fair skin, you will likely need the least number of treatments. The darker the skin tone, the more conservatively the laser must be used and the more sessions you need to remove your tattoo.
The Quality and Colour of Your Tattoo
A professional tattoo will require more treatments than an amateur tattoo. Professional tattoo artists inject ink deeper into the skin to create bold, highly saturated designs. The ink quality will also be high and more challenging to break down.
Vibrant and densely inked tattoos absorb the laser light more than muted colours or shaded tattoos. They, therefore, need to be managed more cautiously and will need more treatment.
Amateur tattoos are more superficial, contain lower-quality inks, and are easier to break down.
Tattoos with colours are also more challenging to remove than black and white tattoos.
This is because you’ll need to use different wavelengths to target each of the colours. Only one wavelength can be used per treatment. So, a multicoloured tattoo will require different treatments for each colour.
The Location of Your Tattoo
The location of your tattoo on your body will also affect how easy it is to remove. The better the blood circulation in an area, the more readily your tattoo will break down.
Tattoos closer to the heart, for example, on your neck, chest and upper arms, will respond more quickly than tattoos on hands, feet and ankles.
How Many Sessions You Need
Of course, the number of sessions you need to completely remove your ink will impact the total cost of laser tattoo removal.
When calculating how many sessions you will need, there are multiple points to consider. Even with all the above points taken into account, it’s impossible to know exactly how many laser treatments you will need.
At each session, the laser shatters the ink particles, which are then carried away by the white blood cells. However, how quickly you heal depends on the condition of your immune system. You will need more sessions if you smoke, take drugs, or drink alcohol.
The Depth of the Ink
The depth at which the ink is placed into the skin will affect how successful laser tattoo removal is. The deeper the ink, the more difficult it is to remove. Professional tattoos are typically much deeper than amateur tattoos, and so they will take longer and require more treatments to remove.
Type of Laser
The newer picosecond lasers are more effective than Q-switched lasers for tattoo removal because they break the ink particles up into smaller fragments which can then be carried away more effectively by your immune system. The down side is that picosecond lasers are considerably more expensive to buy. While the tattoo will be removed faster and require less treatments, you will pay more per session as a result of their greater cost.
Your Immune System
The ink particles are typically removed from the skin faster after laser tattoo removal treatments in people with a strong immune system. This could mean that you require fewer treatments and therefore have a lower total cost. However, if you have a weaker immune system, it will take longer for your body to clear the ink and you may require more treatments. This could lead to a higher overall cost for laser tattoo removal.
When you get a tattoo, it is important to take care of it so that it heals properly. Aftercare is especially important for laser tattoo removal. There are several things you can do to help the process and ensure the best possible results. It is important to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your specialist in order to ensure the fastest and safest tattoo removal process. This is essential in order to minimise the amount of treatments that are required.
So How Much Does Tattoo Removal Cost?
Tattoo laser removal is often charged per session. So, as mentioned, the cost of your tattoo removal will depend on how many sessions you require and the type of laser used. Picosecond lasers are typically more expensive but require fewer sessions than the Q-switched nanosecond variety.
On average, paying per individual laser treatment is more costly than buying a package of multiple sessions. Because removing a tattoo will almost always require a couple of sessions, it’s worth going for a package deal.
A tiny tattoo of 3cm x 3cm can cost between £55 - £80 per session, depending on how many sessions you pay for at once. Complete removal of a small tattoo could cost around £600.
For removal of a medium size tattoo up to 10cm x 10cm, you can expect to pay £140 for a single session or around £1000 per session if you book and pay for multiple sessions up front.
A large tattoo of up to 25cm x 25cm will cost you in the region of £300 to £400 for a single session or £2500 plus for the complete removal of your large tattoo.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for a laser tattoo removal treatment that does not damage the outer layers of the skin, the PicoWay laser is the way to go.
In the hands of our highly trained laser technicians, PicoWay laser tattoo removal is the most effective way of removing unwanted tattoos of any colour.
Following PicoWay laser tattoo removal, patients have little to no downtime meaning they can return to their daily activities shortly after treatment.
If you want to learn more about the laser tattoo removal process or get a free estimate on what it will cost you to have your tattoo removed, give us a call today.