Tattoos have been around a long time. And that's the problem - permanence.
Now, Freedom-2 has brought dermatologists and scientists together to discuss the age-old fear of commitment and the little issue of erasing our mistakes. The tattoo industry has long struggled to maintain its standards, because it is not regulated by the FDA.
Freedom-2 claims to want to address health issues as well as peace of mind. Their goal is admirable - who wouldn't like to see advances made in the currently crude field of tattoo removal? However, their website uses subtle scare tactics, citing statistics that exaggerate the risk of side effects.
Just the same, the achievement is remarkable. The new product is made of inks encapsulated in clear, microscopic polymer beads - a safe material commonly used inside the body.
There are two kinds of inks being tested. Permanent But Removable Ink (PRTI) is applied in the same manner as traditional tattoos, but is safer and easily removed. Time Limited Tattoos (TLT) are also injected beneath the skin using needles, but are designed to fade on their own with time.
The inks are made of natural pigments such as beta-carotene and iron oxide. Removal is done with a laser, much like procedures today. However, the extreme heat of the layer ruptures the polymer shells and releases the ink into the surrounding tissue. Because the inks are all biodegradable, the body reabsorbs and processes them on its own. Most current lasers will be able to do the job at a fraction of the cost and in as little as one sitting.
Purists might argue that making tattoos too available will cheapen them, and many people feel that the lifelong endurance of a tattoo is what makes inscribing something important - or not so important - on your skin worthwhile.
Respectable tattoo artists are also expected to reject an expensive ink or one with a limited palette that won't mix well. Some, however, have embraced the idea of a new customer base.
After rigorous clinical trials, the product is expected to be released later this year, starting with a black ink and followed by later colors.