Can I get my tattoo removed on the NHS?

Tattoo removal is rarely available on the NHS.

Cosmetic surgery

Surgery for cosmetic reasons is not usually available on the NHS if, for example, you no longer like or want your tattoo.

In rare cases, cosmetic surgery may be required to protect a person's health  for example, if their doctor thinks their tattoo is causing them significant distress or serious mental health problems.

Tattoo removal

To get a tattoo removed on the NHS, you must meet specific guidelines set out by your local clinical commissioning group (CCG). You should see your GP first as they will need to refer you for treatment.

If your GP thinks you may be suitable for NHS treatment, they will refer you to a consultant, who will decide whether treatment on the NHS is appropriate. Before they decide, they may ask you to have a psychological assessment.

Treatment to remove tattoos is available at private clinics. You will have to pay for private treatment.

Read the answers to more questions about NHS services and treatments.

Further information:

Things to know before getting a tattoo

Thinking of getting a tattoo? A tattoo artist explains what to look out for

Media last reviewed: 20/07/2017

Next review due: 20/07/2020

Page last reviewed: 08/05/2015

Next review due: 15/05/2018