Tattoo Removal Gets Easier With New Student Created Cream


Tattoo artists may soon see a decrease in clients requesting cover-up work thanks to a new tattoo removal cream developed by Dalhousie University’s PhD student, Alec Falkenham.

Falkenham says that he has been interested in the process of how tattoos work since he received his first one, which eventually led him to developing a painless cream to replace expensive, painful laser treatments.

The cream is said to gradually fade the ink of the tattoo as it targets the macrophages that have yet to carry the ink to the lymph nodes. The formula Falkenham created allows the cream to essentially kill those pesky cells still clinging to the tattoo pigment while still managing to leave all of the surrounding cells intact and untouched while it does its job. The process seems fairly simple and the fact that it’s noninvasive increases its appeal even more.

Falkenham said, “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. 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.”

He is working together with the university’s Industry Liason and Innovation office to obtain a patent to protect all of his hard work. The ILI is also helping him to lock in much needed financial support through Springboard Atlantic and Innovacorp Early Stage Commercialization Fund.

“Alec is a trail blazer in tattoo removal. He came to ILI with an idea, tangentially related to his graduate research, that had real-life applicability,” said Andrea McCormick in a statement from the university’s Industry Liaison and Innovation office. “His initial research has shown great results and his next stage of research will build on those results, developing his technology into a product that can eventually be brought to market.”

The cost of laser tattoo removal is far from cheap and requires anywhere from three to six sessions to work, but more sessions may be required for particularly stubborn tattoos. The costs for these treatments end up hurting your bank account almost as much as they hurt your skin.

Falkenham’s tattoo removal cream is significantly less expensive by comparison, but it’s too early to determine how many applications would be needed to effectively remove a tattoo, let alone one that is determined to stick around.

There isn’t an estimated date yet for when the cream will be available for commercial use, but Falkenham has already encountered some eager people chomping at the bit to give it a try. He says, “We obviously have a lot of interest. I often hear from people asking if they can be a guinea pig.”

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