28 Feb 2015

Tatts all it takes? Just add cream?

From This Way Up, 12:15 pm on 28 February 2015

Falkenham at Halifax s Brass Anchor tattoo parlour Bruce Bottomley photos
Alec Falkenham at Halifax's Brass Anchor tattoo parlour. (Bruce Bottomley photos)

TattooIf you walk around the streets you'll find plenty of evidence that tattoos are still very much in vogue. 

Studies in the US suggest that around 20 percent of all adults have some ink. And that proportion rises close to 40 percent among younger parts of the population.

But not all tattoos are a good idea. One in five people with a tattoo end up regretting it, so the flip side to this tattoo boom is that there's a flourishing business in removing unwanted ink work.

Laser technology and removable inks are two main tattoo removal methods. But could there be even cheaper, easier and more painless solutions?

Alec Falkenham of Dalhousie University in Canada is working on a tattoo removal cream. So far it's only been tested on mice, but it works by accelerating the natural process which causes a tattoo to fade.

Mr Falkenham told This Way Up's Simon Morton, "It's essentially just the immune response that dictates how permanent that tattoo will be. Over time...you will get blurring, you will get fading; it's almost an inevitability. You are on this one way pathway to completely removing your tattoo, but nobody lives long enough to have their body remove the tattoo entirely."