Regret That Tattoo Gone Wrong? A Cream Can Remove It For You
There have been hundreds of instances where we have heard about a tattoo going wrong. Buzzfeed and many other sites even post photos with titles like “15 Tattoos Gone Wrong, ” and “Tattoos that you wished didn’t exist.”
While we may amuse ourselves in the comfort of our homes by looking at tattoos of disfigured portraits of ex-girlfriends tattooed on arms, or quotes misspelled, it is not so amusing for the people who carry those regrettable tattoos with them to their graves. That is why, Alec Falkenham at Dalhousie University is working on a cream that he believes will be able to remove a tattoo without further destroying your skin.
Tattooing is not a new concept. It has been around for the past many centuries, where colored designs were made onto the skin either permanently or temporarily (usually like henna). However, the basic working of tattooing was same: puncture the skin with sharp instruments and then add color droplets into the puncture to sustain it. Do it repeatedly, and the cells absorb the color for good, while some of it is rejected by the white blood cells of the immune system.
The processes of the cellular mechanism that then follow inside the body during healing are what actually help hold the ink for years. This also allows for the Falkenham’s process to be carried out, known as bisphosphonate liposomal tattoo removal, or BLTR, to eradicate the tattoo.
To remove the ink, the cells (macrophages) containing the ink inside have to be destroyed. The most popular method to do it is through laser which produces enough energy so the targeted cells can be ruined for once and for all. However, it involves damage to the skin and costs tremendous amounts of money.
The BLTR method manages to remove the macrophages without destroying the skin, as it supplies a drug that kills the cells instead of heating them till they are void. This minimizes the impact on surrounding macrophages.
When the cream is applied to a tattoo, the active compounds are absorbed into where they find the macrophages loaded with ink. So just as the macrophages took in the ink before, they take the compounds in the same manner. This equals taking poison just like you take food. The compounds degenerate the cells, and new macrophages are produced by the body to remove the dead cells.
Falkenham believes that after enough application of the cream, the ink from the original tattoo can be almost completely cleaned. Early estimates suggest weekly applications for a few months, similar to the laser treatment.