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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Personal Care & Body Art > Body Modification

Body Modification Cost

How Much Does Body Modification Cost?

low costLow: Piercings run $20-$100average costMedium: Tattoos cost $75-$150 per hour
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Body modifications[1] are the changes made to one's body, typically through tattooing, piercing or scarring techniques. In addition, cosmetic surgery also is considered a form of body modification.

Typical costs:

  • Tattoo artists typically charge $75-$150 per hour, often requiring patrons for a deposit of at least $50. Depending on the size and the complexity of the tattoo it may be done in an hour, or several hours; for example, large tattoos often take multiple sessions.
  • Body piercings typically cost $20-$100, depending on the location of the piercing. Ear lobe, ear cartilage or cheek piercings generally cost $20-$55; nose, eyebrow and naval piercings generally cost $30-$90.
  • More obscure piercings or those around the genital area can cost slightly more. Hip piercings, a surface piercing using a barbell, costs $40-$100. Surface piercings are more prone to failure than other types of piercings. Tongue piercings generally cost $30-$90.
  • Microdermal implants are partially below the skin, with only a small a jewel or metal ball showing. Microdermal implants cost slightly more than most piercings, generally $70-$100, including both the jewelry and the implantation procedure.
  • Subdermal implants are completely implanted underneath the skin, leaving a contoured shape showing. Subdermal implants cost $500-$1,500, although it can be much higher. Some subdermal implant procedures are done repeatedly to stretch skin to greater and greater sizes.
  • Ear pointing -- a cosmetic surgery done to make ears look more elfish or like Spock on Star Trek -- costs $2,500-$7,000 when done by a plastic surgeon.
What should be included:
  • For piercings and implants, body modifiers should place in the jewelry in the proper location and give customers clear instructions for aftercare.
  • For tattoos, the artist will create a stencil of an image and transfer the stencil to the skin. Then the tattoo artist uses a variety of needles to inject the ink into the skin, permanently leaving the image on the skin. Once the tattoo is finished, it will be covered for a few hours as it begins to heal to prevent infections. The tattoo artist will also provide instructions for care.
  • Ear pointing surgery, when done by a plastic surgeon, includes anesthesia and follow-up care. Body modification experts are not legally allowed to administer anesthesia.
Additional costs:
  • Tattoos and body piercings require aftercare. Often products are suggested by body modification expert after the procedure is completed. Tattoo artists generally recommend fragrance-free lotions and skin protectant gels, which cost $3-$12, depending on size. A&D ointment[2] is commonly recommended by tattoo artists for the first 3-5 days of treatment. It costs $3-$10 per tube.
  • Aftercare products for hip piercings are likely to include a cleansing solution. H2Ocean[3] , a sea-salt based cleanser, costs $12 per 4 oz. can.
  • People with body jewelry typically like to have a variety of pieces to rotate between and offer different visual "looks." Body jewelry comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Generally basic pieces starts as low as $10-$30, more expensive materials can cost more.
  • A 5%-15% gratuity for the piercer is considered standard for tattoo artists and body modifiers.
  • Because tattoos can be difficult and expensive to remove, it is important to choose an artist based on quality, rather than on price. In addition, choosing a location based on skill and cleanliness is likely to leave a customer more satisfied that a cheap deal.
  • Geographical location can sometimes play a role in price: Larger cities with greater competition are likely to have lower prices than rural locations with fewer tattoo artists and body piercers.
Shopping for body modification:
  • Piercing laws vary by state. The Association of Professional Piercers tracks legislation by state[4] . The association also provides a searchable database of members[5] . Look for a piercer that operates in a clean environment. Certificates of membership or from local health departments might be posted on walls.
  • Keep an eye out for people who have tattoos that appeal to you, and ask where they got them done. Because tattooists are artists, your choice will be subjective and partly based on your taste and sense of aesthetics. The Association of Professional Tattoo Artists has a searchable membership directory[6] that is broken down by state.
  • Ear pointing surgery is done by both body modification experts and plastic surgeons. Body modifiers typically have experience doing specific procedures, while surgeons have surgical training and experience. Anesthesia cannot be legally used by body modification experts. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons offers a searchable registry[7] of certified professionals. The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has a similar searchable directory[8] .
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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