Remove a tattoo completely, or just cover it up?
“I have a tattoo of my ex’s name right across the front of my chest. She was great until she wasn’t, that’s all I can really say about her! Obviously I need to get this off but my friend who had laser removal said I might want to just do a cover-up instead. What are your thoughts, Dorian?”
Coverups can do a lot more than you think
You may think that covering up Jessica or Cassandra in block letters would be a difficult job. You might be surprised. Oftentimes we can hide these in dragons or other extremely complex designs. If the pattern is written in cursive, vines are an option, mystical figures, you name it. Any artist worth his salt can take what you have as a base and suggest multiple options to you.
As for me? I guess I got lucky because my ex had a short name 🙂 Lots of options there.
If you want it totally gone
Okay, let’s say you’ve made up your mind already and you don’t want the tattoo at all anymore.
Well you already know I’m an advocate of all-natural, laserless removal. Cheaper, safer, and more effective if you just follow the darn guide! (Here it is by the way: Link)
The thing I love about home based removal methods is that they reinvigorate the skin as well. Laser takes away, but exfoliation methods add fresh new layers of skin using safe, skin-healthy ingredients.
For example, my aloe vera gel method not only removes the tattoo but softens the skin around it! Yes, it requires 3 to 4 daily applications, but when you’re talking just a few weeks removal time versus six months minimum for laser-based methods, the extra short-term effort is well worth it!
Tattoo Removal: What to expect in Terms of Cost
“Hey Dorian, can you give me a breakdown of the cost to expect with tattoo removal methods?”
When you’re looking at laser-based methods, you’re paying for an initial consultation followed by a per session charge.
Clinics that are hungry for business might offer the initial consult for free, but usually, you’re paying about $100 for the privilege. Basically, the doctor or his assistant will look at your tattoo, tell you how easy or hard of a job it’ll be for the lasers depending on the size, complexity, and amount of ink pigments used. And based on that plan he will recommend a series of laser removal sessions.
In essence, you’re being charged $100 or so for a sales presentation. But hey, when you get to call your clients “patients,” you have that luxury 🙂
So how about the cost per session? Depends on part of the country you’re from, but expect to pay about $150-$400 per session. If you have a really easy removal job you may have as little as three treatments, but more likely you can expect to be going for five or more. It’s not uncommon for someone to continue treatments for two years for larger tattoos that cover the whole of the back or thigh area.
Home-based removal: the cost of a grocery bill
Or not even that. Home-based methods can be surprisingly affordable because they use natural exfoliation to bring the ink up to the surface layers where it is then expelled through natural processes.
Take the aloe vera or lemon juice methods mentioned in my laserless tattoo removal guide (found here: [link]). How much do these ingredients cost at your grocery store? $10 max nowadays? Unlike laser methods, you’ll probably pay a lot less for the removal than the actual tattoo!
Of course at home methods do require more effort on your part, since you’ll need to keep to a schedule and exfoliate multiple times a day before you see a decent level of fade. Based on the money you’re saving, though, it’s well worth it. I mean, when you look at a series of laser treatments, you’re talking $500 at the very minimum for a small heart tattoo. $1,000 plus for a tattoo of any size, and well into the thousands for larger designs. And you’re not even really saving time because you have to keep driving to the clinic and going through multiple sessions.
Just my opinion anyways, as someone who teaches and preaches home-based removal methods. You’re free to make your own decisions my friend.
What can I do if my tattoo isn’t completely faded?
“Dorian, I went to a removal clinic and after several months of treatment, my tattoo isn’t gone! They said there is nothing more they can do to fade it!”
This is probably the most common issue with laser removals. You have a level of fade that leaves the tattoo less visible than before you started but still oddly visible, like a ghost tattoo that someone can still see if they look right at it.
Not a fun place to be.
The good news for you guys who haven’t gone through this is that your tattoo is lower risk if it’s solid colored. Complicated multicolored tattoos are more difficult to fade because different inks respond in different ways to the ink removal lasers. There’s a tendency for part of the tattoo to be more visible than other parts, another reason I recommend doing a cover up as first option (more than just a bit).
High complexity, lower fade
The most difficult tattoos for the lasers are multicolored tattoos that are also highly complex in nature. I’m talking about intricate patterns like sweeping back designs with full on backgrounds and character details down to the hairs and facial gestures. Oh boy, those ones will likely not fade completely.
The more detail, the more ink used. And if some of the tattoo is flesh colored, red, tan, or white, you can be sure that you’re looking at a partial removal from the lasers at best.
Natural removal tends to fade more evenly
As natural removal methods exfoliate the skin, bringing the ink to the top, they are less discriminatory in that sense. The amount of ink used and the different types of color/pigment are less of a factor. A lot of my clients are rather surprised after paying a couple thousand dollars to a laser tattoo removal clinic, and then trying a basic exfoliation process and the rest of the tattoo goes away on its own!
Of course, you don’t need to wait until a laser removal returns a subpar result. Check out my laserless removal guide if you haven’t already for lower cost, at home removal methods: Link
You know why you haven’t seen these techniques on TV? Because they’re not good moneymakers. They’re low-cost and don’t require a doctor. Thankfully, ink under the skin isn’t a terribly difficult problem to solve, especially with the right ingredients and removal process.
Which tattoo colors can you remove?
I got some pretty wicked tattoos: tribal stamp around my left wrist, my own words to live by on my upper back. But my biggest one is my flower blossom that uses quite a few colors. Is this going to be a problem if I decide to remove it? Thanks man”
It definitely makes things more complicated, that’s for sure. Some tattoo removal methods are very sensitive to the type of ink pigment being used.
For example with laser methods, black and red pigment won’t be an issue. But others will, especially if they’re lighter. The problem is that lasers have difficulty targeting these ink layers.
Nontraditional colors, nontraditional methods
The flip side of the coin is that it doesn’t matter if you’re tattoo is pink, purple, or some crazy lime green if you use methods like the apricot scrub mentioned in my guide (check it out here)
That’s because exfoliation methods don’t discriminate, they simply wear off dead layers of skin until the tattoo is exfoliated.
Of course, this is one of several methods discussed in the guide.
Another thing you need to keep in mind especially if you’re considering another tattoo is “Will this be something I can modify or mask later?” For example, pink flower petals will be much harder to mask than black which can be easily turned into a wheel, astrological symbol, or many other things.
But you’ll never need to change that tattoo, am I right? There’s a reason you’re on this page isn’t there 🙂
I have tattoos of various types on every limb in my body. And I’m perfectly cool with it because I know how to reverse, cover, or modify all of them. As a professional artist and remover, I guess that extra bit of knowledge helps. All I can say is be smart about your upcoming tattoo and always have a backup plan.
How to remove tattoos naturally
When you talk about natural tattoo removal, how does it work exactly? I get that you’re using body-safe, natural ingredients, but I don’t understand how they act on the body to remove tattoos.”
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about this. It seems a lot of people appreciate the safety aspects of natural removal (compared to laser), but don’t quite understand how natural removal works.
Did you know that your skin exfoliates on its own, without you doing anything?
It’s true, in fact, the layers of skin that you see are actually dead. That’s why you can rub a fingernail against your skin and not even feel anything. But if you push deep or use the sharpened end of a pair of scissors – different story. You’re going to feel it, and it’s not going to be pleasant. In fact, you may see some red. You didn’t strike oil, but you did strike living skin cells.
Accelerated exfoliation gets to that layer. It does so by doing something the body normally doesn’t do on its own — it increases the rate at which living skin cells die and rise to the surface.
Now, this may sound like a bad thing, but the other side to the exfoliation process is that young skin cells mature to take the place of the ones on the layer above them that much quicker as well. So there’s no harm, and you get the added benefit of bringing up the deep subcutaneous skin layers that normally don’t exfoliate at all.
These are exactly the layers that tattoo artists target as they embed ink. This is why tattoos hold for a long time even when the top layers of your skin do not.
You can see where this is going. To remove the tattoo, we then need to exfoliate deeper layers than normal. Here’s how: First we use various ingredients to enhance skin exfoliation. Then these deeper layers come to the top. The ink trapped alongside the deep layers comes up as well and wipes off with the brush of a towel.
Of course, all of this is an abbreviated explanation and it’s not going to happen that quickly, in fact, it takes weeks. But when you compare that to the much slower “vaporize, scar, heal, and vaporize again” laser approach to ink removal, who in their right mind would choose laser?
Now you know why I say that the only people who choose laser removal either don’t understand or have never heard about natural deep exfoliation. It’s just plain a better method for tattoo removal.
Thankfully you don’t have to make that mistake. If you don’t already have a copy of the Laserless Tattoo Removal Guide, everything we talked about is in there, including the details on how to get it done with skin safe ingredients from your grocery store: Click here