How Much Is the Tattoo Removal Industry Growing?

The tattoo removal industry has grown 440% over the last 10 years. The industry is still growing and is expected to reach $83.2 million USD by 2018. It can cost up to $500 USD to have a tattoo removed; the cost of removal depends on the color(s) of the tattoo and how deep the ink sits in the skin. Tattoo removal is performed by a trained specialist using a laser, and a tattoo can be removed in as few as two to four sessions. However, some tattoos may take up to 10 sessions to completely remove.

More about tattoo removal:

  • An alternative to having a tattoo removed is to cover it with another design.

  • According to the Pew Research Center, more than 40% of Americans between the ages of 26 and 40 have at least one tattoo.

  • Regret is not the only reason individuals choose to remove a tattoo. Many choose to remove a tattoo when seeking employment or because they suffer from an allergic reaction to the ink.

More Info: Market Watch

Discussion Comments


I have several tattoos, being an old "Flower Child" from San Francisco. But last year they almost got me killed.

I suffered a rattlesnake bite with full envenomation, but the ER charge nurse didn't believe anything I said. She insisted the poison's actions on my body were simply from hyperventilation. They stabilized my vitals (I'd gone into tachycardia, and was listed "critical") and then sent me away helpless, in the care of a naive neighbor who declined to take me back next morning because, "the doctors said you'd be OK."

I nearly died, and didn't get antivenin until 28 hours after the bite. Another neighbor took me back in and insisted on proper care which at that point involved several days in ICU and two months bedridden followed by much physiotherapy. However, if I'd been treated in a timely fashion, I'd have gone home the next day with some bruising and little to no tissue loss with no organ damage.

I believe the shabby treatment I received was due to inferences drawn about what kind of person I must be, due to my tattoos -- images that were innocent enough but old, faded and blurry by now.

I'm getting all of my beloved tattoos removed, after nearly 50 years of them being part of me, as soon as I'm fully recovered in health. The bite took a terrible toll on me, due to going so long without treatment.

All it takes is one judgmental fool to spin any situation dangerously out of control. Now I just want to sink ever further below the radar, eluding notice by others. A little mistrust can go a long way, and invisibility is the best shield. I never felt that way about anything before, but you never know the mindset of everyone you may encounter, and sometimes you will be at their mercy.

So I'm on a mission to erase any surface indicators that might cause me to stand out, wishing not to be victimized by prejudice again. There is an old Japanese saying, to paraphrase: "The nail that stands up gets hammered!"


I haven't had much experience with tattoos before, but I can imagine that getting one can be a pretty painful process, let alone getting one of them removed. Overall, I think the reason is because they're a permanent mark of sorts, and once you get one, there's no way to "remove" them, per se. Not only does it become part of your body, but even more so, it can become part of your identity as well. For example, what if someone was experiencing the death of a loved one, and in order to cop with the loss, they decided to get a tattoo of the person's name. It's more than just a mark. It's part of your identity.

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