A Canadian uni student has invented a new tattoo removal cream that makes the ink fade away forever by replacing the ink-filled cells with new, clean cells. Right now, if you want a tattoo removed, you have to undergo a painful process of laser removal that involves taking a super-fast laser to the site and getting zapped once a pico second. That’s once every 0.000000000001 of a second. This causes the ink particles to rapidly heat up, and fall apart, at which point the white blood cells will move in and eat them up.
So Alec Falkenham, a PhD student in the pathology department of Dalhousie University in the UK, decided to offer up a different method for removal, and condense it all down into a painless topical cream. “When comparing it to laser-based tattoo removal, in which you see the burns, the scarring, the blisters, in this case, we’ve designed a drug that doesn’t really have much off-target effect,” he told Phlis McGregor at CBC News. “We’re not targeting any of the normal skin cells, so you won’t see a lot of inflammation. In fact, based on the process that we’re actually using, we don’t think there will be any inflammation at all and it would actually be anti-inflammatory.”
When you get a tattoo, ink is injected via a special needle into the skin. The body responds to this foreign material by sending an army of macrophages – a type of white blood cell – to the site to devour it. While some of the macrophages succeed at ridding the body of the ink by carting portions of it away to the lymph nodes, others don’t quite make it, and get bogged down in skin at the site of the tattoo, filled with ink.
Falkenham’s cream works by delivering new macrophages to the tattoo site, where they consume the old ink-filled ones, and then migrate to the lymph nodes. They’ll make it to the liver, and finally, well, you’ll poop them out. Obviously, the time it takes for the tattoo to fade depends on how big the tattoo is, and Falkenham isn’t sure yet how many applications it will take, but says the whole process will be painless, injection-free, and much safer than the current laser removal method. He recommends the tattoos be at least two years old before you try to remove them with the cream. Via This new $6 cream promises to painlessly fade your tattoos away