Researchers Develop Painless, Microneedle Tattoos You Can DIY At Home
By Alexa Heah, 15 Sep 2022
Would you get a tattoo (or several more) if the procedure promised to be painless?
That could soon be reality, with researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology having developed do-it-yourself, bloodless tattoos that won’t faze even the biggest of cowards.
While microneedles—smaller than a grain of sand—have been used in cosmetic products for years, especially for anti-aging treatments, this is the first time the technology has been applied to the art of tattooing.
“We’ve miniaturized the needle so that it’s painless, but still effectively deposits tattoo ink in the skin,” explained Mark Prausnitz, principal investigator.
Interestingly, tattoos aren’t just used for self-expression but are also effective at covering up scars, restoring nipples after breast surgery, or can be used as medical alerts for patients suffering from diabetes, epilepsy, or severe allergies.
By coming up with a painless tattoo, the team believes it can make the procedure more accessible, allowing those who want to be tattooed, but would rather skip the pain, to do so in just minutes.
With the microneedles made of tattoo ink, they simply dissolve once pressed into the skin, leaving the ink behind without any bleeding.
The scientists were able to arrange the needles into specific patterns, each effectively acting as a pixel to create the final tattoo.
Other than the regular black tattoos you commonly see, the team incorporated inks of various colors into the microneedles, including black-light ink that could only be seen under ultraviolet light.
People aside, it’s thought the patch tattoos can be used to “encode information” on animals, and will prove more discreet and comfortable than clipping their ears or applying an ear tag.
During the study, findings showed that the microneedle tattoos were able to last for at least a year, and are likely to be permanent on the skin; though there’s the option of using temporary ink for those looking for a short-term mark.
“The goal isn’t to replace all tattoos, which are often works of beauty created by tattoo artists. Our goal is to create new opportunities for patients, pets, and people who want a painless tattoo that can be easily administered,” said Prausnitz.
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