Who Does Tattoo Removal

In this post, Who Does Tattoo Removal? | 3 Options For You,  you will learn about professionals that are trained and certified to perform laser tattoo removal. You will learn the advantages and disadvantages of having an esthetician, dermatologist, and plastic surgeon conducting the laser tattoo removal. The hope is that you will be able to answer, “Who Does Tattoo Removal?”

There are many options on the market, including: lasers, creams, and incisions for tattoo removal. You might be asking yourself, “Who does tattoo removal for all of these services?” There are generally three types of professionals who specialize in removal, so let’s discuss your options.

1.) Who does tattoo removal? | Estheticians

Estheticians are trained professionals that specializing on the skin. Most states require at least 500 hours of training to become an esthetician, although the requirements vary by state.  They may operate independently in a beauty salon, spa or wellness center, medical spa “MediSpa/MedSpa,” and may accompany dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

Generally, estheticians deal with cosmetic needs including: facials, light chemical peels, masks, microdermabrasion and treatment of minor forms of acne. Skilled estheticians may perform invasive, deeper penetrating chemical peels under the direction of a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon.

These estheticians undergo continuing education to specialize in medical aestheticians. Make sure your laser technician has a “Certified Laser Specialist” or “Certified Medical Laser Technician” designation to operate a laser on you.

Tips when researching estheticians

  • Ask where the esthetician finished their schooling and received their certificate. They usually have it hanging on the wall at their place of employment
  • Ask if the esthetician has additional training in specific areas like medical esthetics.
  • CLS or CMLT certifications specific for lasers.
  • Ask if they received formal training on the specific laser they work with and if they are up to date on the certification.

Note: Laser tattoo removal from a medical spa or tattoo removal clinic will generally cost less than a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, mainly because they have had less formal medical training. Keep in mind, more medical spas and tattoo removal clinics may specialize in laser tattoo removal and their certified laser experts may actually conduct more procedures than a dermatologist or surgeon. In this respect, they are more experienced.

2.) Who does tattoo removal? | Dermatologists

Dermatologists also conduct tattoo removal; although, not as many as you might think. Dermatologists need a special laser to perform laser removal. This is a valid option to consider before going under the knife to remove a tattoo.

Removing a tattoo with a knife?

The cost of laser tattoo removal is expensive; moreover, if a local medical spa, dermatologist, or cosmetic surgeon does not have the correct laser for your removal, you could consider removing the tattoo by excision. This may not make sense with a large tattoo, but it can make sense with a small tattoo.

Related: Factors That Affect Tattoo Removal Costs


  • Usually costs less than laser tattoo removal.
  • Operation can be done in one visit.
  • Less downtime. There is minimal downtown after a laser removal; however, because laser removal usually requires more sessions, the downtime is extended across each day you have treatment. When removing the tattoo with a knife, you have one visit, and downtime is similar to that from laser removal, minus all the sessions.
  • Dermatologists can usually numb the area on the skin.


  • There may be a larger scar
  • There may be skin stretching
  • Depending on the size of incision, it may take up to a year to fully heal.

Tips when researching Dermatologists

  • Ask who will be conducting the procedure. This is so that you know if the doctor is conducting it. Doctors and estheticians that are trained for removal with lasers, are usually skilled at removal with a knife. Make sure to ask them what they are most comfortable with, and how many removals they have done.
  • Ask if the doctor has had any malpractice lawsuits, specifically from a similar operation.
  • Ask if they have received formal training on the specific laser they work with and if they are up to date on the certification.

3.) Who does tattoo removal? | Plastic Surgeons

It is less common for plastic surgeons to conduct this procedure. You will typically see an esthetician in a plastic surgeon’s office perform this procedure (usually with a laser). A plastic surgeon is usually involved if you are concerned about scaring, in which they will most likely do removal by knife.

Tips when researching a Plastic Surgeon are similar to the tips mentioned above for estheticians and dermatologists.

There are many factors to consider when it comes time to select who will remove your tattoo. It can be hard to compare each expert’s experience, training, certifications and costs. Although, having this information can be invaluable before it is time to go under the laser or knife.

We hope this post on “Who does tattoo removal?” provides you with insight to your options.


Right ArrowAbout DermBids: We provide free laser tattoo removal estimates from local doctors and medical spas, just by taking a picture. We compare doctors based on experience, laser quality, distance and costs so you can make an educated buying decision when you decide to make an appointment!

Try us out! Visit our laser tattoo removal quote page.

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Photo by: Oceanview Med Spa