Tattoos: done right, they're an indelible reminder of faith, loyalty and eternity - a symbol of belonging, a physical reminder of strengths or an aesthetic customization of the body. Unfortunately, they're also very popular with the young, stupid and drunk, and lord knows how many lower back 'tramp stamps' and ex-girlfriends' names have ended up leaving their owners with an embarrassing and pretty permanent reminder of their poor judgment.
In the last 10 years, a lot of the stigma of having a tattoo has faded to the point where in many circles, tatts are very fashionable. Hollywood stars are getting inked left, right and center, and hugely popular TV shows like Miami Ink are accelerating the movement - but fashion, by its very nature, can be fleeting - and so can the reasons behind why you'd want a permanent mark on your skin.
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Laser removal of tattoos is now a reasonably mature industry, but the process is far from pleasant. While the searing pain of the removal laser can be deadened down to simple discomfort using an anaesthetic, you still have to turn up for anywhere up to 15 treatments, depending on the size and color of your piece, with four weeks in between them. It's not super expensive - something around USD$40 per square inch per treatment - but that sure adds up over the course of the removal process.
So even if you've got no doubt in your mind that you'll want your new tattoo forever, it makes sense to spend the small extra amount to use InfinitInk, a new product from Freedom-2 that replaces standard black tattoo ink with an ink that's just as permanent, but that responds 3-4 times faster to laser removal treatment.
The technology works by suspending bio-removable dyes in tiny, inert plastic beads. The black is just as vivid and permanent as a regular tattoo, but when the beads are ruptured by the application of a laser, the body is able to quickly process the ink and remove it. The ink was initially developed by Harvard University dermatologists for use in medical procedures - and has thus been fully medically tested.
Currently, the only color is black - which is the easiest color to remove by laser anyway. InfinitInk is currently working on other colors. In the meanwhile, black InfinitInk can be found at selected tattoo parlors throughout the United States and Australia.
It will be interesting to see how it's accepted by the market; it seems like a sensible way to go, but could this sort of thing dilute the sense of meaning you get from inking your body in the first place?