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Painless Tattoo Removal Cream Is Really, Truly On the Way

For decades, parents have had an ace to play when it comes to their kids getting tattoos: “Do you really want that when you’re 70 years old?” It’s a good card, but it’s on the verge of being toothless. A 27-year-old Ph.D. student at Dalhousie University in Halifax named Alec Falkenham is putting the finishing touches on a cream that can painlessly remove tattoos. What’s more, he estimates the cream will cost something like $5 per treatment. Falkenham isn’t yet sure how many treatments it will take to totally erase a tattoo, but he says it won’t be many. From Mental Floss:

The tattooing process works by injecting ink into the skin, which stimulates an immune response in which cells called “macrophages” move into the area and “eat up” the ink. Although some of the macrophages carry ink away from the surface of the skin into the lymph nodes, others remain behind, darkened from “consuming” ink. These pigment-filled macrophages are what we see as a tattoo. Falkenham’s cream works by inciting another round of macrophages to consume the colored ones and carry them, along with the ink, into the body’s lymph nodes and away from the visible surface of the skin.

So there may be hope for these people yet. Parents, time to start finding a new way to talk your kids out of getting a tattoo …

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