Are Tattoo Removals Expensive? Cost of Laser Removal

Are Tattoo Removals Expensive

Tattoos may seem like a great idea in the moment, but sometimes tattoo regret sinks in over time. According to research, around 17% of people with ink eventually want their tattoos removed.

But before taking the plunge into removal treatments, the big question is – how much does it cost to get a tattoo removed? Are professional tattoo removals really as expensive as everyone says?

The short answer is that yes, laser tattoo removal is expensive, with the average cost ranging from $150 to as high as $500 per treatment session. With most people needing between 6 to 12 sessions spaced 6-8 weeks apart for full removal, the total cost can reach $1000 to $4000 or more depending on your specific situation.

While laser removal is certainly not cheap, the good news is that the technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, becoming safer, faster, and more affordable than ever before. In this post we’ll break down everything you need to know about the actual costs of laser tattoo removal in 2023 and what factors affect the price. We’ll also provide some smart tips to help you save money on this intensive process.

How Much Does a Single Laser Tattoo Removal Session Cost On Average?

The average cost per treatment session ranges widely based on several factors covered next, but generally falls within the following ranges:

  • Small tattoos under 2 inches x 2 inches can cost around $150 per session on average.
  • Medium-sized tattoos may cost approximately¬†$250 per session.
  • Larger, intricate, or multi-colored tattoos generally start at $400 per session and beyond.

To give you a better idea, here’s an overview of what you can expect to pay per session based on tattoo size:

  • Small tattoos (under 2×2 inches) – $150 – $200 per session
  • Medium tattoos (around 3×3 inches) – $200 – $350 per session
  • Large tattoos (over 3×3 inches) – $350 – $500+ per session

The size of the tattoo correlates with how many laser pulses will be required to treat the entire area, and more pulses mean a higher cost per session.

Now that you know roughly how much a single treatment costs based on tattoo size, let’s look at the other important factors that affect the price.

What Factors Affect the Price of Laser Tattoo Removal?

While size is the most basic price-determining factor, several other elements affect the total cost of your treatments:

Ink Color

  • Darker solid black tattoos are the least stubborn and cheapest to remove.
  • Multi-colored, brightly-hued, and red/yellow/green inks are most difficult to eliminate.
  • Colorful tattoos require more treatments and thus have a higher overall cost.

Tattoo Location

  • Areas like the fingers, toes, neck, or face are more sensitive and require gentler treatment methods.
  • Sensitive or visible locations cost more to treat per session.

Type of Clinic

  • Doctor’s offices, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons charge the highest rates.
  • Dedicated laser tattoo removal clinics offer lower pricing.

Package Discounts

  • Many clinics offer discounts if you prepay for multiple sessions in a bundle.
  • Packages of 6+ treatments can save 10-20% per session.

Laser Method

  • Advanced “picosecond” laser removal is faster than traditional lasers.
  • Although pricier per session, picosecond needs fewer treatments for full removal.

The Technician

  • Doctor’s office prices reflect their staff rates and overhead.
  • Tattoo removal techs at dedicated clinics command lower fees.

As you can see, the ink color, body placement, clinic pricing, and type of laser all work together to determine the costs of your removal regimen.

How Many Laser Tattoo Removal Sessions Will I Need?

On average, complete laser tattoo removal requires between 6 to 12 treatment sessions spaced 6-8 weeks apart.

That may seem like a lot, but spacing out treatments allows the body to naturally flush away the shattered ink particles between sessions. Closer sessions are ineffective and won’t yield faster results.

Here are some general guidelines for how many treatments to expect based on tattoo size:

  • Small, simple black tattoos may need 6-8 sessions
  • Medium complexity tattoos around 8-10 sessions
  • Large colorful intricate tattoos up to 12 sessions or more

With each session costing $150 to $500 each on average, you can multiply the per session rates above by the estimated number of treatments to get an idea of the total cost range.

For example:

  • Small tattoo at $150 per session x 8 sessions = $1,200 total
  • Medium tattoo at $250 per session x 10 sessions = $2,500 total
  • Large tattoo at $400 per session x 12 sessions = $4,800 total

These ballpark figures demonstrate why most reputable clinics quote tattoo removal pricing as an overall investment rather than a single treatment cost.

DIY Home Laser Removal – Does It Save Money?

In the quest to save money, some people consider purchasing do-it-yourself laser removal devices designed for at-home use.

These gadgets only fade the tattoo, rather than fully removing it. Multiple treatments with a doctor are still needed to finish the job.

DIY home lasers also have higher risks of scarring and other damage if used incorrectly. You’re better off booking a consultation with a pro to discuss options.

7 Smart Tips to Save Money on Tattoo Removal

While laser removal isn’t cheap, the following tips can help reduce your overall costs:

  1. Shop around – Prices vary widely, so get quotes from a few clinics.
  2. Ask about package pricing – Prepaying for 6+ sessions in advance can save 10-20%.
  3. Consider a cover-up first РCovering with a new tattoo is often cheaper than full removal.
  4. Start ASAP – The longer you wait, the more sessions will be required as ink spreads under the skin.
  5. Go with picosecond – This advanced laser needs fewer treatments, reducing total cost.
  6. Aim for partial fading – If full removal is cost-prohibitive, lightening it up makes cover-ups easier.
  7. Avoid amateur ink – Removal is tougher and pricier for unprofessional, low-quality tattoos.

The Bottom Line – Is Laser Tattoo Removal Expensive?

There’s no way around the fact that completely erasing unwanted tattoos through laser removal costs a significant amount of money, with the average price tag ranging from $1000 to $4000.

However, the technology has evolved to be faster and more affordable than ever. Even better, the high probability of success and low risk of scarring make professional laser removal well worth the price for those seeking to permanently erase serious tattoo regrets or mistakes.

While the process certainly requires an investment on par with the permanency of tattoos themselves, the liberation of removing that ink you no longer want makes it worthwhile for many.


If an unwanted tattoo has been weighing you down, don’t let the cost deter you from exploring professional laser removal. With realistic expectations about the investment required, a little savvy shopping, and choosing the right laser clinic, you can make removing that regretful ink more affordable.

While laser removal costs are not insignificant, they pale in comparison to a lifetime of looking at an unwanted, permanent tattoo. The money and time invested can provide not just physical but mental relief as you reclaim your self-image.

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