More people opting for laser tattoo removal

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

TEMPE, Ariz. -- More and more people who once wanted to express themselves artistically with tattoos are having those tattoos removed.

According to, revenue for tattoo removal has surged to nearly $76 million in the past decade. That's a fivefold increase with even more growth on the horizon.

3TV's Heidi Goitia went to a Dr. Tattoff clinic in Tempe to find out how the process works.

Registered nurse Holly Bennett is a tattoo removal specialist there. She estimated that about 45 people come in every week. That's more than double the traffic the clinic saw when it opened about two years ago.

Dr. Tattoff has clinics throughout the country. The company says its nurses and techs have done more tattoo removals than any other company in the U.S. According to the Dr. Tattoff website, its clinics perform about 10,000 laser tattoo removal procedures per year.

A client who was having a "relationship tattoo" removed told Goitia that the process is more painful than getting the tattoo in the first place. Despite that, she said it is worth it.

"I'm just ready to have it gone and move on with life," she said.

Removing a tattoo is not a quick process. Depending on the size, it can take several treatments over the course of several months. A typical removal requires between 10 and 14 treatments, one every seven weeks.

"It's about a year-and-half process to remove a tattoo," Bennett said.

The individual treatments, however, only take a few minutes.

Tattoo removal is not a cheap endeavor either. The cost per treatment is minimum of $98, depending on the tattoo's size and how many treatments will be required. Consultations are free.

Bennett said the most common procedures involve forearm or neck tattoos on people who are looking to join the military or find a job. She said she also finds herself removing quite a few facial tattoos, relationship tattoos and ring-finger tattoos.

"That's pretty standard," she said.

According to Bennett, black and red inks are the easiest to remove.

"[E]ven the most challenging colors will usually fade to a point where they're nearly impossible to see," according to the Dr. Tattoff website. The company promises that there will be no visible sign of your tattoo by the end of the process. What's more, there should not be any scarring.