Campus & Community

Body art for the faint of heart

2 min read

Erasable tattoos are making a mark

Ever wish you could get rid of that tattoo of barbed wire around your wrist, or the forearm-length dragon you once thought of as so stylish or macho?

It’s not easy. You can go through a long, expensive series of laser treatments, and still not get it completely erased. You can have it sanded off, literally, but that could leave a scar. Then there’s the option of surgical removal, a choice that will cost a lot more than the tattoo and may also leave an ugly scar.

A professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and a company in New York called Freedom-2 believe they’ve solved the problem with a new type of ink that can be completely erased with one laser treatment.

“I see a lot of people who’ve made a mistake with tattoos,” says R. Rox Anderson, the dermatology professor. “And I also see people who simply got some bad artwork that can be very hard to remove.”

Anderson developed and tested the new inks at Massachusetts General Hospital with the help of Edith Mathiowitz of Brown University Medical School and Harvard Medical School dermatologist Thomas Flotte.

Martin Schmieg, Freedom-2’s president and chief executive officer, said he expects the new inks will be ready for market sometime next year.