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Is Laser Tattoo Removal The Solution To Tattoo Regret?


Removing an unwanted tattoo is now possible with laser technology but there is time and expense associated with a procedure that may restore your previously un-inked skin.

Tattoos have been around for centuries - different cultures across the globe have used tattoos to decorate the body, to mark major milestones, and sadly in some cases, as identification. However, in the past decade, there has been a huge rise in popularity of tattoos and as with any trend, there is the inevitable regret that follows. Unfortunately, getting rid of a tattoo is not as easy as say, returning a pair of ill-chosen trendy sandal/boots. However new technology, laser tattoo removal has made erasing your ill-chosen tattoo possible but at a price.

laser tattoo removal before and after
Laser Tattoo Before and After Photos by Dr. Janee Steinberg

Recently featured on The Doctors, laser tattoo removal is also growing in popularity as more people are facing tattoo regret. "There are many people who come to me and they say, 'I did this when I was young and foolish and now I'm grown up and in the business world," says Boca Raton dermatologist Dr. Janee Steinberg. And while Dr. Steinberg has seen many tattoo designs come, her job is to help them go.

Dr. Steinberg stresses that tattoos that have many colors will require several different lasers and at least 6-10 sessions to successfully remove the tattoo. It is not possible for laser tattoo removal to be performed in only one session since the laser treatment would be to aggressive and would cause severe scarring. Another important thing Dr. Steinberg points out is patient expectation, "Greens, purples, oranges and yellows are very difficult to remove. The patient has to understand from the very beginning, that you may not be able to remove every bit of ink that they have." Black and blue tattoo inks are the easiest color ink to remove with laser tattoo removal.
tattoo removal before and after
Laser Tattoo Removal Results of Dr. Janee Steinberg

As discussed on The Doctors, the patient that underwent laser tattoo removal said on a pain level of 1-10, it was an 8.5. Laser tattoo removal is not an easy and pain-free procedure and may hurt even more than when the tattoo was put on. "It probably hurts a lot more to remove the tattoo than to put it on," states Dr. Steinberg, "But with numbing creams, topical lidocaine anesthetics, local injections and maybe sedation in some cases, it's doable most people put up with it they're motivated they want that tattoo off." The patient on The Doctors set did say although the pain was pretty bad, it was bearable - especially since she really wanted the tattoo to be removed.

The larger the tattoo, the more expensive it is to treat. Cost of laser tattoo removal will vary from market to market and availability of the procedure. Most practices charge by the square inch and patients can expect to pay $30-$55 per square inch. Depending on how large the tattoo is, this can translate to $6,000 to $12,000 to remove a tattoo since 6-10 sessions are required.

The best way to avoid the time and expense of laser tattoo removal is to really re-think getting a tattoo. In a culture that is as impulsive and trend-driven as ours, this may be difficult. But getting a tattoo is a commitment and it is permanent unless you willing to spend a lot of time and money to get it removed - which is something worth considering before going under the needle.