If you have a permanent tattoo of your ex-lover’s name, or one of many other ill-advised ink designs, listen up. A Canadian PhD student is developing a topical tattoo removal cream that could help fade your ink to a distant memory.
The cream is the invention of Alec Falkenham, a 27-year-old student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada’s CBC News reports.
“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,” Falkenham told CBC.
Laser-based tattoo removal is also expensive. Falkenham said the topical cream he’s developing would cost about 4.5 cents per square centimeter, or about $4.50 for a 10-by-10 centimeter area, for one treatment, CBC said.
Falkenham is testing the removal cream on tattooed pig’s ears. He’s not sure yet how many applications of the cream are necessary to completely fade the ink.
The cream is still in the research stage, but Falkenham is hopeful that it will someday provide an alternative to laser removal. He told Global News:
You’re destroying the skin in the process of all the other techniques I’ve seen so far. What we’re trying to do is stay away from actually destroying the skin while still removing the tattoo.
According to Global News, Falkenham’s topical cream “allows a drug to penetrate the skin, killing cells that hold tattoo pigment while leaving the surrounding cells untouched.”
There’s no injection or inflammation with the cream. Falkenham told CBC:
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.
There’s no word yet on when the topical tattoo removal cream may be available.
I am happily uninked. When I was 17, I desperately wanted a daisy and dolphin chain tattooed around my ankle. My parents refused, with the argument that I would regret it. They were right. My teenage self was not ready to pick out a permanent decoration for my body.
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