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Tattoo Removal Cream Is Now A Thing, And It's Gonna Be Cheap

Like, $5 cheap.

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He says that with the process the topical cream uses, there won't be any inflammation at all — in fact, tattoo removal will become anti-inflammatory.

"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," he told CBC News Canada.


Falkenham's topical cream works by targeting the macrophages that are filled with ink at the site of your tattoo. New macrophages move in to consume the ink-filled ones, and then migrate to the lymph nodes.

Macrophages are the white blood cells that gobble up cellular debris — like tattoo ink. With this topical cream, there is supposedly no injection, and no inflammation. This has led to questions on how effective it is compared to current laser removal options available.

"I'm curious to see how the cream penetrates and breaks down the particles. Current particle size is too big, so macrophages can't gobble it up, per say," says Dr. Nazanin Saedi, a researcher and director of Jefferson Laser Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology. She is unaffiliated with Falkenham and has conducted studies on effective tattoo removal processes over the past several years.

Falkenham's working with his university to patent his technology and just secured funding to further develop his research, so we'll have to see for ourselves.

The cream is still being developed. So far, he's tested the cream on tattooed pig's ears.

Rich Legg / Getty Images

He also doesn't yet know how many applications will be required to completely fade a tattoo.

A 10-by-10-centimeter area would cost approximately $4.50 per treatment — much less than the cost of currently available removal technologies. The cream will also work best on tattoos that are more than two years old, he says.

Getty Images/iStockphoto Rich Legg

Current laser removal treatments have to occur over several sessions. "It's still several hundred dollars worth of treatments — eight or ten. With PicoSure lasers, it's probably less than that, but with traditional ways of removal, there's some redness and it's very common to get blisters afterward," says Saedi. This cream could eliminate the necessity of these lasers entirely, or at least reduce the number of sessions required and the inflammation they invariably lead to.

Falkenham isn't sure when the cream will be available commercially. It's cool — the waiting list is at least one person long as it stands.


The poor soul with this on their body is definitely gonna be stocking up on it when it comes out.