Alec Falkenham, a 27-year-old PhD student at Canada's Dalhousie University has developed a topical cream that he says will make tattoo ink eventually fade away at a nominal price. "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 the 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."
During tattooing, ink is injected into the skin. The ink initiates an immune response, and cells called "macrophages" move into the area and "eat up" the ink. The macrophages carry some of the ink to the body's lymph nodes. But some of those macrophages that are filled with ink stay put, embedded in the skin. That's what makes the tattoo visible under the skin. Falkenham's topical cream works by targeting the macrophages that have remained at the site of the tattoo. New macrophages move in to consume the previously pigment-filled macrophages and then migrate to the lymph nodes, eventually taking all the dye with them. There's no injection and no inflammation, and Falkenham says the tattoo should fade away.Alec says the cream, which will cost $4.50 CAD per treatment, is best for tattoos that are more than two years old. He doesn't yet many applications will be required to completely fade a tattoo, nor does he know when the product will become available, as he;'s still seeking more funding for research.
source: CBC via Buzzfeed