Typical meat head tattoo

Ladies, are you a soccer-mom now and worried that Tinkerbell tramp stamp you got in college is going to cramp your style? Or guys are you a former meathead that miraculously managed to get some brain cells to start functioning and you realized that the awful tribal armband you got has to go? Well don’t fret, Alec Falkenham, a PhD from Canada may one day have the answer for you.

The current procedure for getting unwanted or embarrassing tattoos removed is to undergo expensive laser treatment that hurts way more then getting that tattoo put on ever did. Falkenham however is currently working on a new method, a “cream” that could wipe away the bad memories.

Via Dalhousie University’s Dal News:

Falkenham has come up with a different approach, one that makes use of the natural healing process that your skin activates after it’s tattooed in the first place.

When you get a tattoo, the pigment from the ink deposits into the skin where it’s then consumed by white blood cells named “macrophages.”

“Macrophages are known as the big eaters of the immune system,” says Falkenham. “They eat foreign material, like tattoo pigment, to protect the surrounding tissue.”

In the case of tattoos, two populations of macrophages react to the ink in different ways. One set of macrophages transports some of the pigment to the draining lymph nodes, removing it from the area. The other population that has “eaten” the pigment goes deeper into your skin, becomes inactive and forms the visible tattoo. Over time, the macrophages that formed the tattoo are replaced by new macrophages, which cause the tattoo to blur and fade.

Falkenham’s technology, Bisphosphonate Liposomal Tattoo Removal (BLTR), targets the macrophages that contain the pigment for removal.

“BLTR is a cream that you put on your skin,” he explains, describing how BLTR makes use of a lipid-vesicle, or liposome, that his team has created.

“When new macrophages come to remove the liposome from cells that once contained pigment, they also take the pigment with them to the lymph nodes, resulting in a fading tattoo,” says Falkenham. Read More…


PhD student Alec Falkenham, inventor of possible tattoo removal cream, flips through tattoo designs at Halifax’s Brass Anchor tattoo parlor. (Bruce Bottomley/Dalhousie University.)

There is no word yet when the tattoo removal cream will be approved for use and available to buy. Falkenham claims that it will be much safer then the current laser procedure, but is not yet sure how many applications of the cream will be needed to completely fade away your poor decisions.

Full disclosure, I used to have a crappy tribal armband tattoo, that has long since been covered up by a large half-sleeve dragon design.