Lasers are scary. It doesn't matter if the lasers are being shot out of the eyes of an enormous robot in a science fiction film or if the laser is about to remove an unwanted tattoo from your arm. While there is no possible solution to the first (completely fictional) problem a PhD student in Canada may have found a cream that would be able to remove a tattoo without the fear of going under a laser.
Alec Falkenham, a student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, believes that he has found a cream that would not only remove tattoo ink from skin but would do so in a painless way.
"You're destroying the skin the process of all the other techniques I've seen so far," Falkenham told the Calgary Herald. "What we're trying to stay away from is actually destroying the skin while still removing the tattoo."
The way that Falkenham thinks he will be able to do this is by finding a topical cream that would use a drug that would specifically target the skin cells containing ink while ignoring the others. The cells containing the pigment would be destroyed by the cream and then eventually removed through the body's lymph nodes. Over time the tattoo will fade and disappear, according to the CBC.
Falkenham is still in the very early testing stages of the ointment--he is currently testing the cream on the ears of pigs that have been tattooed--but if it works it would be revolutionary. It is not known how long it would take for the ointment to remove a tattoo or, most importantly, if it would actually be painless as Falkenham claims. Without even knowing the science of how exactly the cream would work, it would be truly remarkable if these skin cells could be killed without causing at least some pain. Possibly pain as great, or even more severe, than the pain inflicted by laser removal.
Falkenham also believes that his cream will drastically reduce the cost of removing a tattoo; he estimates that each application of the cream would cost roughly $4.50, according to the CBC.
If this cream ever comes to market and actually is able to perform in the manner that Falkenham it would be revolutionary. It would completely change everything we know about tattoo removal. But we are a long, long way away from that still. So, don't run out and get a regrettable tattoo tonight and think that you will be able to remove it just as easily as you put on sunscreen in a couple of weeks. But we will definitely keep our eyes on the 27-year-old scientist and his potential invention.