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Tattoo Eaters

Get rid of tattoos the painless, biological way!
  (+17, -2)(+17, -2)
(+17, -2)
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Tattoo ink does not normally cause an immune response. Macrophages (white blood cells) can dissolve nearly anything in the body, from a virus to a (relatively) enormous splinter, given enough time. This fact can be taken advantage of to produce easy-to-remove tattoos....

Simply produce special ink (nanoparticles, perhaps) in which every pigment particle has a specific protein signature not found in nature. Once injected, the ink will remain inert as usual. However, if the tattoo is to be removed, antibodies directing the body's macrophages to degrade and absorb the tattoo ink can be injected with minor discomfort. In a few days, the tattoo disappears (perhaps you blow multicoloured mucus or have black urine for a short time).

As I see it, this could lead to temporary real tattoos (ones that have a protein signature of, say, influenza...the ink would dissolve in a few days or weeks dependong on how good your immune system was). It's also possible that, since the ink would be semi-organic, it would be assimilated by a naturally occurring virus and create a new strain of disease that produces random ink patterns in all its victims. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Macwarrior, Nov 06 2004

Microencapsulation of tattoo ink http://www.freedom2inc.com/bodyart.html
as per TD3's annotation [bonkers777, Feb 16 2009]


       Nice. I've seen the mess left behind by lazer tattoo removal.
wagster, Nov 07 2004

       Pretty cool if you ask me too, and just think you could get tattoo-noculated.   

       A similar idea a while back was called the "10 year tattoo." There is existing technology that can be adapted to the idea; I'll attach my annotation from the earlier post. I'll tell you exactly how to do it. The key is a process called microencapsulation. This is already widely used in the pharmeceutical and beauty product industries for products as diverse as time delay medicines and scratch & sniff adverts.   

       You need biolabile - destructible dyes, possibly plant derivatives or synthetic, instead of insoluble mineral pigments such as carbon and mercuric sulfide, currently used in tattooing.   

       The dyes, which will be rapidly decolorized once released, are microencapsulated in a resistant, carefully designed material. This would be made from synthetic or semi synthetic polymers, as are presently employed for dissolving sutures.   

       By modifying the polymer microcapsules' composition, relatively predictable absorbtion times should be possible. For example, partially fluorinating the polymer, or cross-linking it will make it more durable. Having hydroxyls, for example will make it more attackable.   

       Now, these materials would idealy be tested for severity of foreign body reacton - carcinogenicity potentiall, etc., hopefully no more than present tattoo inks and implantable materials.   

       Basically the microcapsules would deteriorate slowly for a number of years, but the colors would not be yet affected. Then once the microcapsules are ruptured, the color would fade rapidly as the WBC's attack the biolabile ink.
TD3, Nov 07 2004

       Tell us again how the macrophages operate outside blood vessels.....
ConsulFlaminicus, Nov 08 2004

       If the tattoo pigment were antigenic enough that you could raise antibodies against it, I think the body would raise antibodies against it. Esepcially if it were not found in nature. This would be a temporary tattoo, to be sure.   

       [Consul] - Macrophages operate outside blood vessels by leaving the blood vessels and migrating to the area they are needed.   

       For the bizarro finale with the random ink virus, I bestow my bread.
bungston, Nov 08 2004

       They do say that a lot of appearance and behaviour is down to a genetic need to prove to a potential mate that you have a great immune system and therefore would provide good genes for the children. Personally I suspect that this is what biologists say when they can't think of a good answer, but it would be much easier if you could just check out the tattoos. 'Flu - check. Measles - check. Syphilis... darling, where did you put your syphilis tattoo? Oh.
moomintroll, Nov 08 2004


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