February 18, 2015
Finally, Canada gives us something of value besides Shay Mitchell: A PhD bro named Alec Falkenham has developed a cream that he says can remove tattoos without the pain or expense of laser removal (both of which are still preferable to having a really bad tattoo for the rest of your life).
“This idea started when I got my first tattoo and I was thinking of the tattoo process from an immune point of view,” explains the guy who's about to be really, really fucking rich. “Since then, I have added three more and currently don’t regret any of them — but that’s probably a reflection on me waiting until I was older.”
Though older than my lame jokes about Canada, tattoos are actually pretty complicated from a biological perspective in that they work by exploiting your body’s (not to mention your dad’s) desire to get rid of them. When the ink enters the skin, it pisses off cells called macrophages (“What the fuck were you thinking,” they almost definitely don’t say, being that they’re just blood cells). Some of the macrophages eat up the ink and remove it through the lymph nodes. Others, though, soak up the ink but remain dormant, hence the birth of your eternal mistake.
The cream works by essentially re-alerting your immune system about the tattoo. It deposits lipids into the dormant macrophages, and when new ones arrive to remove them, they take the ink along with them. Because the cream only targets specific cells, there aren’t really any side effects (or at least there aren’t for any of the pigs’ ears they’re using for testing).
If it gets to human trials, removing the tattoo you got to commemorate the first time you returned from spring break without an STD will be insanely cheap - about $4.50 to clear a 100 square cm area. This obviously isn’t of any interest to people who rock their tats loud and proud, but it’s a blessing for anyone who figured out that what they thought was the Chinese symbol for “hope” really means “fart licker.”