Nov 26, 2007

No-regrets tattooing on the way...

I found the following article on CNN.COM...

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) -- Having someone's name permanently etched into your flesh is considered by some to be the ultimate testament to a relationship. But wouldn't it be great to make that commitment without really making it ... forever?

A new dye due to hit tattoo parlors will provide an exit strategy of sorts for people who have thought about getting a tattoo, then wondered if they might someday have regrets.

The permanent but removable ink is made by storing dye in microscopic capsules that will stay in the skin for good. But if that butterfly tattoo on the small of your back starts looking lame, it can be zapped away with a single laser treatment that is simpler and less painful than the barrage of treatments now needed.

While the idea might intrigue some -- for example, the 36 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 who get tattoos, according to a 2006 study by the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology -- some enthusiasts say getting inked without the lifetime commitment wouldn't be appealing. Those in the industry are also skeptical, especially since the company making the dye says it will cost considerably more than a regular tattoo.

"I don't know anyone who would pay more for a tattoo where their thought is, 'Maybe one day I'm going to remove this,' " said Jerry Lorito, vice president of the tattoo removal company Tat2BeGone in Costa Mesa, California.

The idea was developed in the late 1990s by Rox Anderson, a dermatology professor at Harvard University who founded the New York-based company Freedom-2 in 1999 to bring the product to market.

In 2004, Anderson approached Edith Mathiowitz, a professor of medical science and engineering at Brown University. Mathiowitz specializes in microcapsulating medicines, DNA, hormones and insulin in plastic polymers, which control the time and rate of the drug's release in the body. Some molecules are designed to break open when exposed to heat, ultraviolet light or ultrasound.

Using the same technology, Mathiowitz trapped dye pigments in microscopic beads coated with a safe, biodegradable plastic. It's possible to remove regular tattoos with lasers, but it can cost thousands of dollars and usually requires between seven to 15 treatments.

With each conventional laser treatment, the dye is broken down into fragments until they are small enough to be carried away by the bloodstream, usually into the lymph nodes. But the Freedom-2 ink particles held in the tiny beads are already small enough. In just one laser treatment, the polymers combust, and the fragments are released and naturally expelled from the body, Mathiowitz said.

Mathiowitz doesn't have a tattoo and said that as a scientist, she never thought she'd be working with them. But she said she is happy to help improve an ancient art form.

"This will make tattoos so much safer. None of the toxins from the ink will be able to leak out" and linger in the dermis, as occurs with conventional tattoos, Mathiowitz said.

Freedom-2 boasts it could save a painful and costly removal process for those who have their heart broken or make a spring break mistake.

"Regret is a strong word, but there are people who are parents or are in a job where they do not want their tattoo to show," said Martin Schmieg, president of Freedom-2. "There are times that your life circle changes things, and the form of self-expression you were proud of in your past just doesn't match now."

Schmieg is the only person to use the ink so far. He tattooed his bicep with the company's red logo, then removed it four months later. Photos show the color has disappeared and only a shadow of it looms. Schmieg said it has since faded.

For Elke O'Connor, 39, of Los Angeles, having a decade-old tribal print removed from her throat is costing her at least $1,000, about a dozen laser treatments and pain she described as "excruciating." "It's the worst pain I've ever had in my life," said O'Connor, who had her first treatment last week. "It's like razor blades cutting you."

Despite the pain, she said she still would have declined if she had the option for removable ink back then. "When someone's going into something like getting a tattoo, it's usually something they want forever," she said.

Lorito said the biggest obstacle the company faces is marketing the product to tattoo salons, where he said temporary tattoos, made from henna or vegetable dye that last weeks and sometimes months, are frowned upon.

"When an artist tattoos somebody, in their mind, they want their work on that body for the rest of that person's life," he said.

At Bambu Tattoo Art Studio in Providence, tattoo artist George Dietz said he's skeptical about whether the ink will last, and said he probably won't use it when it's available this fall.
"If people don't want something permanent," he said, "they shouldn't get a tattoo."

(Article obtained from CNN.COM)

I think this new dye is bullshit! Tattoos are meant to be permanent. If you're gonna ponder about regrets and laser treatments, don't get a tattoo. It's that simple!

8 comments:

  1. I beg to differ Noel, its gives people the choice. the society is changing including the environment and ourselves. no one is removing traditional arts but they are just making a better improvement on it for human bodies. I used to think that things like that was bull shit too. The traditions od paper making and printmaking may be the oldest form of art but over the years... non toxic and waterprof printing is much widely used now. if you told me about direct printing then... I would tell you its bull shit too... because I believe in the true form of printmaking... something so complex with hard work that most youth are interested because of its long process but we have to understand the better side of new improvements. nothing against traditional arts, been there myself so I understand your sentiments. cheerios... i have headache from adobe photoshop... sigh... :(

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  2. well, to each his own. but my stand? i agree with Noel on this. To me, the main draw abt tatts is all abt the lifetime commitment each one brings, and even when your all old and wrinkly, and your tatts look like absolute crap, at least you can look back and remember, the exact reasons and emotions that swayed you to get inked in the 1st place.

    but like what nekobus said before me, times are indeed changing, and i can see loads of kids getting this "temporary" tatts, changing designs the moment something "new" or "in" comes around.

    oh well. =)

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  3. to nekobus: hmm...maybe i'm a little old fashioned. there are many things that I feel shouldn't change just because we're a modern civilization. i am up for better ink though. better ink would overall be better for the human body. if this new ink does make it in the market (i highly doubt so), it'll be interesting to see how many people actually opt to get their tatt removed after a period of time.

    to jona.tat2: i agree with you man. i'm actually looking forward to looking at my body when i'm old and wrinkly. it'll be sweet!!

    if kids do behave that way, it'll be one hell of a painful and expensive trend to follow. if you think about it, it means more business for the tattoo artist. hah!

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  4. I can understand and I do agree with both of you to a certain extend. My concern at the end of it all is safety. Ink has to be good and safe for the skin as well. As for the pain... no pain no gain la. I dont mind getting inked its the pain that kills me. I have problems with needles... injections and drawing blood gets me giddy. I am envious of you noel... your pain threshold very high man. thumbs up for you

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  5. no no...my threshold is bad! the tattoo on my rib cage isn't completed. it's been 2 years i reckon. i can't stand injections too. some doctors think its funny considering the number of tattoos i have!

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  6. The bone area is the worst... My ex had Tatts as well. I mean its really nice and cool... I went with him to the shop to get it done. gozh... any where with bones near by is gonna hurt like hell man... hmmm... so whats on your rib cage going to be???

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  7. Personally I think that as I grow older (I'm 42), I'm not the same person I was every couple years ago going back 30 years (I change my attitude and/or lifestyle)...To that extent, changing your outlook on life every so often is not necessarily a bad thing and in fact its simply part of becoming more mature...At this point in my life I would like a tattoo but I'm not sure that I want to keep it forever!!!....I may decide to opt for a lifestyle change and my tattoo may not fit in...Therefore I think Freedom 2 is for me...If someone else wants to keep thier tattoo for life,,"Good for them" but it doesn't make me less of a human being to want to be able to remove my tattoo at will....You Tattoo Artists should be thrilled that this ink is becoming available as it will bring a substantial amount of new business into your shops....Who cares about what 'you' think...It's all about the customer....And if your that adiment about not wanting to use it then don't...Someone else will welcome the business!!!

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  8. Well Mike, thanks for the input. You do have a point. Then again, nobody really cares about what 'YOU' think.

    Are we thrilled about Freedom 2? No. Am I thrilled that TV shows like Miami Ink and Tattoo Wars have propelled tattoos to a new level in Asia and around the world? Yes.

    You can't make up your mind at the age of 42? Poor you!

    If someone doesn't want a permanent tattoo, get an airbrush or henna tattoo. To the shops that are offering Freedom 2, good for them!!

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