In a paper published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, French scientists showed that tattoos stay in the skin because cells in the skin actively ensure the ink pigments stay in one place. The particles of ink pigment, they write, are repeatedly passed on from old cells to the new ones that are coming to replace them, sort of like an immune system relay race baton. The key finding is the identity of those cells: the macrophages, immune system cells that encapsulate foreign bodies like bacteria or tattoo pigments.
Thursday, March 8, 2018
Scientists now know why tatoos outlast your constantly-regenerating skin
Writer Peter Hess explains that biologically, particles of ink pigment are a moving target as they are passed from old skin cells to their replacements. This insight may lead to one-session tattoo removal instead of the 10 or so treatments now required.