Have a hated tattoo? I want to remove it for you !
May 6, 2013 6:41 AM   Subscribe

What should I know to research good training in tattoo removal? I'm interested in solid, respected programs that will qualify me to work in a professional setting doing quality work. Googling yields expensive proprietary schools charging many thousands of dollars. Is this really state-of-the-art laser training? I want to be a well-prepared candidate when I graduate, able to work in a medically-based office or spa.

What programs are an expensive waste of time? Which are the best? Are there medically-based training programs I should investigate? I am a registered nurse, but medical training does not appear to be a prerequisite for any of the programs I saw, and I'm not sure if tattoo removal requires a professional license. It would be a relief if it was, you know, a profession with professional licensing standards!

My ultimate goal is to offer low-cost tattoo removal for those who really regret their earlier choices, but who can't pay the high cost of removal.
posted by citygirl to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Isn't this typically something that's done by dermatologists or plastic surgeons?
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:15 AM on May 6, 2013

A quick google search showed up this page, which suggests that regulations vary by state.

It looks like you're in Pennsylvania, and I couldn't find the Pennsylvania tattoo removal regulations (if there are any) online. I would start by looking at the websites of local places that do tattoo removal, and see what training the people who work there have.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:28 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

My ultimate goal is to offer low-cost tattoo removal

Ain't no such thing, unfortunately. Tattoo removal is the province of physicians, generally dermatologists and plastic surgeons, as showbiz_liz suggested. Not every state even requires a license for tattoo artists, but removing them is frequently a species of medical procedure which requires a medical license, i.e., going to medical school. This may not be universal, depending on the nature of the tattoo and the state you're in, but I guarantee you that in every state, there are tattoos that can only be removed by a physician, simply because it's going to be a major procedure. So if you want to offer a full range of services, not having a medical license is going to be a problem.

That being said, you should probably contact an equipment manufacturer like this one. They'll know what you need to do/know/have to set up a facility like this. But notice that none of their products have their prices listed. That's a cross-industry way of saying "If you have to ask how much this costs, rather than merely negotiate about volume pricing, you probably can't afford it."

But I think your main problem here may be biological as much as anything else. Getting a tattoo removed can take half a dozen or more visits. That's just what it takes to get permanent ink out. Considering you can probably only do one, maybe two visits an hour, even if you're going flat out, then given your overhead costs, the recommended average of $200 per appointment doesn't seem unreasonable. But that means that's $1,200-1,600 per tattoo. More if we're talking something big, I'd wager. This seems a lot cheaper than prices I heard about ten or twenty years ago, but it's not chump change, and it's not going to be covered by insurance. So if your goal is to offer tattoo removal services for about the price that people paid to get the tattoo in the first place, I think you can give that one up as a pipe dream.
posted by valkyryn at 7:39 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I agree that it's unlikely to impossible that an individual could run a low cost tattoo removal clinic as a for-profit business. However, there are nonprofits that offer low or even no cost tattoo removal; here's an example of one in Los Angeles. There seem to be a couple in LA; not sure about other cities.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:25 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

There are methods of tattoo removal which do not involve lasers and are not performed by doctors - usually just acupuncturists or aestheticians. Here's one such example in Seattle that I've checked out. I have no clue how the proprietor was trained.
posted by sweltering at 8:31 AM on May 6, 2013

Okay. Here's my 2 cents (from someone who has tattoos, plans for more, and hates when people go "I'm just going to laser them off." Go ahead and call me a tattoo snob. I can take it.)

IF you want a cheaper way, without having to do lasers, try something like Eliminink. I'm sure there are other similar serums out there.

Eliminink does NOT require a laser, only a tattoo gun, however you still have to get certified to tattoo, and really know what you are doing so you don't scar the skin. It also takes a few sessions.

As far as pricing, you need to know how much time it's worth, how much you have to pay for a clean space - I mean really clean - and how much it is for the Eliminink serum (or a similar product.) Tattoo removal is usually expensive because tattooing and/or laser is just inherently expensive. You would really have to crunch the numbers.

This product also works better as it bonds to the ink. Lasers have trouble on certain areas of the body, and certain colors such as green and blue. They also cause scaring. Therefore if I hadddd to get one removed (although I would just get a coverup) then something like Eliminink is the route I would go.

Also, please take this career seriously if you do get into it. It's going to be painful for your client, and you also need to practice especially clean and sanitary actions. Don't do this out of your house.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:41 AM on May 6, 2013

You might want to try contacting the local branch of the dermatology association for the state where you're thinking of working to ask them about local laws and see what the reputable programs are for training.

Here's the Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology and Surgery's website.

posted by forkisbetter at 12:55 PM on May 6, 2013

Response by poster: To update those who are interested, in Pennsylvania there are lamentably few regulations. No license is required, and the medical director of whichever place you perform tattoo removel, such as a dermatology office or "medical spa" is the person who says you are qualified. Some sort of "certification" is needed, but the training programs are all proprietary and there is no regulating body.

You might be interested to know that it costs about $3000 to become certified, and takes the equivilent of 3 days of training, including some on-line coursework. I am currently investigating programs in my area, and have so far been disappointed. I felt pushed by reps who were clearly on commission. Still looking!
posted by citygirl at 6:54 AM on June 6, 2013

« Older How to focus/have more presence/be more...   |   How to automatically backup iPad data without a pc... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.