Dr. Schlessinger, a fellow board certified dermatologic and cosmetic surgeon, is the president of LovelySkin.com and founder of the Cosmetic Surgery forum, a national conference which discusses the latest research, treatment and techniques in dermatology and cosmetic surgery. In the following blog post, Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a long time friend of Dr. Jegasothy, discusses laser tattoo removal.
It is estimated that around 40% of adults have at least one tattoo, so it is no surprise that a tattoo removal cream would be in high demand. Alec Falkenham, a PhD student in pathology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is currently developing a topical cream that he hopes will eventually remove tattoos. However, Dr. Schlessinger believes it is too early to tell if this cream will be effective.
Bisphosophonate liposomal tattoo removal cream works by expediting the natural tattoo fading process.
When a tattoo is received into the skin, the ink pigments get eaten by macrophages, or white blood cells, to protect the surrounding tissue from the foreign substance. The cells then form the tattoo that is visible on the skin, and as macrophages are replaced over time, the tattoo fades. Falkenham’s cream targets macrophages with bisphosphonate to expedite the natural fading process.
Inspired by the connection between his pathology work and the tattooing process, Falkenham set to work creating the method for what he refers to as bisphosphonate liposomal tattoo removal. This technique allows the bisphosphonate drug to reach into the skin via a topical cream, eliminating the cells that contain tattoo pigment while leaving other skin cells untouched.
“There are many hurdles for this scientist to go through,“ Dr. Schlessinger says.
Dr. Schlessinger finds the idea of bisphosphonate liposomal tattoo removal intriguing, but cautions that those with tattoo regret not get too excited just yet. So far, research is still in its earliest stages, and studies have only been conducted using mice. Among the challenges are getting the bisphosphonate to actually penetrate the skin and testing the cream through what will probably amount to millions of dollars in clinical research.
“There is a lot of interest in this topic, but the future of the project and the cost estimates are unclear,“ says Dr. Schlessinger.
For now, he recommends that those considering a new tattoo carefully weigh that decision, and that those with tattoo regret seek a skilled, experienced dermatologist who can help them achieve their best laser tattoo removal results.
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