Without the Pain of a Tattoo? A New Microneedle Patch Provides a Replacement

Children have enjoyed painless, short-lived temporary tattoos for years: Apply some water after pressing the image onto the skin. But what if tattooing an adult without using fading ink were really that simple? With a new microneedle patch constructed of ink needles, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have done just that.

The non-invasive tattoo patch functions similarly to conventional microneedle vaccine delivery patches, with the exception that the mould pattern may include letters, numbers, symbols, or images. A microneedle slot is comparable to an image’s pixel.

The microneedle slots are filled with tattoo ink once the researchers create the mould for them, and they add a patch to the rear to make it easier to grip and push against the skin. The microneedles disintegrate and release the ink into the skin after being introduced to a bodily part for a short period of time. There is no discomfort associated with the procedure, and there is no chance of infection or bleeding. The researchers write in the journal iScience that the final image endures for at least a year and might perhaps be permanent.

Although the method can be used for cosmetic tattoos, senior author Mark Prausnitz, PhD, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Georgia Tech, said in a statement to the university that he recognises the art and skill in traditional tattooing and that this new device can do more than just enhance the skin. For instance, medical tattoos might provide vital details about a person’s health or medicine sensitivities. The procedure allows for the employment of specific inks that only become visible under ultraviolet light or at high temperatures, giving the recipient of the medical tattoo privacy.

In addition, tattoos are employed in various medical procedures when this approach would be effective, such as masking scars, guiding recurrent cancer radiation treatments, or adding new nipples during breast reconstruction.

The intention is not to eliminate all tattoos, which are frequently exquisite works of art made by tattoo artists, according to Prausnitz. Our objective is to open up new possibilities for patients, animals, and those looking for a quick and painless tattoo.

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