Tattoo Removal or Cover Up? What You Need to Know

Tattoo Removal or Cover Up? What You Need to Know

Tattoo Removal or Cover Up

Are you tired of looking at your tattoo? Whatever the reason may be for wanting it wiped clean from your canvas, you know you want it gone. The problem however, is that you’re torn between removal and a cover up. The good news, is that you have choices, and as a full service tattoo business with shops in Vancouver and Toronto that offer both options, we have lots of insight on the matter. Today, we’ll take a look at what you need to consider before making your big decision.

4 Things You Need to Consider When Deciding Between a Tattoo Removal and Cover Up

1. Access to Industry Leading Laser Tattoo Removal 

Laser tattoo removal systems are not created equally. Not at all. The safest and most effective procedure is one done naturally. Most people don’t realize this, but it’s not supposed to be the laser that removes your tattoo, but your body. How is that accomplished?

Cutting edge (and in some instances, proprietary) technology is applied to deliver ultra-short pulses of specialized energy to targeted ink particles on your skin. These pulses occur so rapidly that they result in a change in pressure that breaks ink into minuscule particles (dust, essentially). The remaining particles are then absorbed by your lymphatic system, a network of vessels through which lymph (fluid) drains from the tissues into the blood. This process eliminates the ink that was once so pronounced, and it does so organically.

This is not something that traditional laser tattoo removal can effectively accomplish. When you walk into most tattoo shops that offer removal services, you won’t find this option. However, when you locate one that applies PicoSure’s patented PressureWave technology, you gain access to the most effective and natural form of laser tattoo removal. Under an expert hand, PicoSure can obliterate everything from multi-colored tattoos and deep dark black ink to previously treated (err….attempted) pieces that your local skin care clinic could not manage.

Long story short, if you can’t find a laser tattoo removal shop that offers the professional application of PicoSure technology (ask!) then you might be better off with an old fashioned cover up. Or, plan a trip to Vancouver or Toronto and visit Adrenaline to get the job done right.

2. Cost Comparisons

On the surface, it may seem as if laser tattoo removal is more expensive than a quality cover up which can run you between $160-$180 per hour. However, every single laser removal case is different, which is why there is no simple quote that can be provided here. The size and color/s of the piece, skin type and pigment, age, and overall health and wellness of the recipient all factor into the laser removal equation. It’s also worth noting that when you opt for a cover up, a lot more ink is required than it would be for a tattooist working on a blank canvas. Just because the work cost you $800 back in the day doesn’t mean that price will be about the same for a same-size cover up today. It will be more. The only way to arrive at a conclusion when it comes to this decision maker, is to schedule a FREE consultation with a shop that provides for both options. Only then can you receive estimates that you can compare against one another.

3. Whether or Not You Still Want a Tattoo There

This is an obvious consideration. If you simply don’t want a tattoo anymore, then get it professionally removed. Of course, the converse is true too, as one of the easiest qualifiers for cover up candidacy is the fact that in the end you still want a tattoo in the spot that your existing ink impedes upon. If the design you have in mind can effectively conceal the old work while coming out great then you have your answer. That being said, if you know that concealing it under a new design will be problematic (for example, it’s large and dark) then we suggest that you consider the option detailed below.

4. Combined Procedures?

Truth be told, in many cases, the best case scenario will be a combination of laser work and a cover up. This is especially true for those of you who need to conceal a large and/or more intricate piece that can be a challenge to tattoo over on its own. Laser therapy will be applied to lighten the tattoo, and after the appropriate healing period, a cover up can be performed with much greater effect given that the previous ink is no longer as pronounced as it once was. Does this sound expensive given that you’re getting two types of procedures? Don’t worry, you’re not actually paying double under this scenario. In fact, you may end up saving money.

On its own, laser on a large/intricate tattoo will take numerous sessions that will be spread out over months. The end result may indeed be effective, but it can cost you deep into the thousands. The same goes for a cover up on a large or convoluted piece, as much more planning and many additional hours, sessions, and ink will be required. However, when laser is applied to lighten (versus remove) the preexisting tattoo, the follow up tattoo work needed will be significantly reduced. Once healed, the tattooist will have a much easier time inking over the remnants of the past, and will be that much closer to completing your cover up.

Another big benefit of the combined option, is that you will have a new tattoo to show off without the unnecessarily long transition period. Just make sure you choose a cover up design/concept that you can live with this time!


Even with the information provided above, we suggest that you speak to a professional studio near you that can look at your existing tattoo and prescribe the best course of action based upon your own wants and needs. If you live within (or can visit) the Greater Vancouver BC or Toronto Ontario area, schedule that consultation with Adrenaline.