Removing a tattoo can cost much more than getting one

I noticed on your Web page the other day something about a tattoo removal contest. Out of curiosity I clicked on the link to read the fine print. The grand prize — removal of a tattoo no larger than 4 by 8 inches, with a value of $4,500 — got me to wondering ... just how much does it cost to get a tattoo in the first place? I know there are lots of variables involved here about the complexity of each piece of body art, but the real question is: does it cost more to get them removed than to have them applied?

— Rogue River Bill

Great question, RRB. We can't give you a precise answer because, as you said, there are many variables that go into pricing for receiving and removing tattoos.

We talked to Erica Mazzella at Epic Ink in Medford who gave us some guidance. Mazzella said that her shop has a minimum price of $60 for their tattoos.

"I've seen baseball size tattoos run anywhere from $90 to $200," Mazzella said. "It really depends on the complexity of the design."

But it does indeed cost more to remove a tattoo, much more.

Mazzella told us that one of the artists at Epic Ink is having a tattoo removed at a cost of $395 per session. Brace yourself, Bill: Depending on the tattoo, Mazzella says, that removal can require between seven and 12 sessions.

According to Mazzella, the removal is also much more painful than getting a tattoo.

"The artist getting the removal is usually out for the rest of the day after her session," Mazzella says. "It depends on the tattoo, but sometimes, for cost and pain, getting a tattoo covered up (with a different tattoo) is easier."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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