Have you ever wondered why tattoos are permanent? Why is it that tattoo ink isn’t sloughed off with the thousands of other dead skin cells that we lose each and every day as our top layer of skin regenerates? What is it that makes tattoo ink so persistent? A new study recently published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine set out to answer that question.
The study found that cells called macrophages are responsible for the persistent ink. Whenever something foreign invades your body, such as a virus or bacteria or tattoo ink, your body sends the immune system to fight it. Macrophages are cells that eat up invaders and carry them out of the body. Because the tattoo ink pigment is too large to be carried away, the macrophages digest and hold on to the pigment.
We know from Biology 101 that cells are renewed, so what happens to the ink when the original macrophages die? The study found that when the old macrophages die, the ink pigment is released and immediately swallowed by new macrophages. This helps to explain why tattoo ink is so persistent and why it requires laser treatment for removal. It also helps explain some of the “natural” tattoo methods do not work.
What does this mean for the future of tattoo removal? Researchers now believe that they will someday be able to enhance the results of laser tattoo removal by targeting macrophages. This could mean that tattoos could be removed faster and with fewer treatments. This is an exciting new development in the field of tattoos and tattoo removal and we are excited to see what new technology brings!
If you are interested in starting your laser tattoo removal journey, please consider Remove a Tattoo – laser tattoo removal clinic. Remove a Tattoo offers physician performed tattoo removal that is safe, affordable and effective. We are located in Glendale and serve the Greater Milwaukee Area. Give us a call today!