Those with needle phobia can now get tattooed without worry.
Scientists have invented a way to get a permanent tattoo without going under the needle and suffering through hours of pain.
The new technology is in the form of a skin plaster, which has micronids smaller than a grain of sand. Although it still has “needle” in the name, these tiny needles have no comparison to the ordinary needles that a person has to deal with and the effect is painless and bloodless.
“We thought that while some people are willing to put up with the pain and time it takes to get a tattoo, others prefer a tattoo that is simply placed on the skin and doesn’t hurt,” said lead investigator Professor Mark Prausnitz.
The microneedles can be arranged into different designs, words, symbols – anything – to create the perfect custom tattoo. They can be made to respond to environmental conditions, including changes in light or temperature.
Using skin patches is also a quick process. The adhesive is applied to the body – how one would apply temporary tattoo paper – and then the microneedles dissolve. After a few minutes, the color sinks into the skin. They can be self-administered – no need for a tattoo shop.
“Because the microneedles are made from tattoo ink, they deposit the ink well into the skin,” said Dr. Song Lee, senior research scientist at Micron Biomedical and co-author of the study. iScience.
Dr. Prausnitz added, “We’ve made the needle painless, but we’re actually putting the tattoo ink on the skin.
In addition to the advantage of not sitting under needles, these tattoo marks are less intrusive, which means there is less chance of infection.
While the research shows that the tattoos can be permanent, for those who do not want to make that decision, temporary tattoo inks can be used.
While some are excited that the new technology will finally help make tattooing pain-free, skin grafts can also help with medical and animal tattoos.
Tattoos are often used to guide repeated cancer radiation treatments, cover scars and communicate serious medical conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes or allergies. The environmental response feature allows patients some privacy and can hide the tattoo unless exposed to UV lights or high temperatures.
Non-invasive tattoos can be used to help pets. Instead of clipping ears and applying ear tags, veterinarians can go further and transmit important information—such as if the animal has been sprayed or touched—directly to the animal’s skin.
Although these skin coverings may be revolutionary and extremely attractive, the researchers don’t want to denigrate the work of tattoo artists.
“The goal is not to replace all tattoos, which are usually cosmetic works created by tattoo artists,” Dr. Prausnitz said. “Our goal is to create new opportunities for patients, pets and people looking for an easily treatable, painless tattoo.”