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Microneedle Technology for Low-Cost, Painless, Bleeding Tattoos

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Instead of sitting in a tattoo chair that endures hours of painful tattooing, imagine getting a tattoo with a skin patch containing tiny needles. I developed a tattoo. This tattoo is self-administerable and has many uses, from medical alerts to castrated animal tracking to cosmetics.

The needles have been miniaturized so that they are painless, yet effectively deposit the tattoo ink into the skin. It could be a way to create new opportunities for

Mark Prausnitz, principal investigator of the paper

Prausnitz, Regents Professor of Chemistry and Biomolecular Engineering and Chair of J. Erskine Love Jr., published the study in the journal. eye sciencewith former Georgia Tech postdoctoral fellow Song Lee as co-author.

Tattoos are used in medicine to hide scars, repeat radiation treatments for cancer, and replace nipples after breast surgery. Tattoos can also be used in place of bracelets as medical warnings to communicate serious medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, and allergies.

Various cosmetics using microneedles are already on the market. Primarily for anti-aging -; however, the development of microneedle technology for tattooing is new. A veteran in the field, Prausnitz has spent years researching his microneedle patch, which painlessly delivers drugs and vaccines to the skin without the need for a hypodermic needle.

“We saw this as an opportunity to use our research on microneedle technology to make tattoos more accessible,” said Prausnitz. “While some people are willing to accept the pain and time required for a tattoo, we figured others might prefer a tattoo that is simply pressed against the skin and doesn’t hurt.”

transforming tattoo

Tattooing usually uses a large needle to repeatedly pierce the skin to get a good image, but it is a time consuming and painful process. A team at Georgia Tech has developed microneedles that are smaller than a grain of sand and made of tattoo ink encased in a dissolvable matrix.

“Because the microneedles are made of tattoo ink, they are very efficient at inking the skin,” said Li, the lead author of the study.

In this way, the microneedles are pushed into the skin only once and then dissolve, leaving the ink on the skin without bleeding after a few minutes.

tattoo techniques

While most microneedle patches for pharmaceuticals and cosmetics have tens or hundreds of microneedles arranged in a square or circle, microneedle patch tattoos have designs that include letters, numbers, symbols, and images. Engraved. By arranging the microneedles in a specific pattern, each microneedle acts like a pixel to create a tattoo image of any shape or pattern.

The researchers start with a mold that contains microneedles in patterns that form an image. Fill the microneedles in the mold with tattoo ink and add a patch backing for convenient handling. Apply the resulting patch to the skin for several minutes. During this time the microneedles dissolve and the tattoo ink is released. Different colors of tattoo ink can be incorporated into the microneedles. This includes blacklight inks that are only visible when illuminated with UV light.

Prausnitz’s lab has been studying microneedles for vaccine delivery for years, and has realized they can be applied to tattoos as well. , Prausnitz’s team began studying tattoos to identify spayed and neutered pets, but then realized the technology worked for humans as well.

Tattoos are also designed with privacy in mind. The researchers created a patch that was sensitive to environmental factors such as changes in light and temperature, and the tattoo would only be visible in ultraviolet light or high temperatures. will be

The study showed that the tattoo lasted for at least a year and was likely to be permanent. You can also respond.

Microneedle patch tattoos can also be used to encode information into animal skin. Instead of clipping ears or attaching ear tags to animals to demonstrate sterility, you can instead get a painless and discreet tattoo.

“The goal is not to replace all tattoos, which are often beautiful works of art created by tattoo artists,” Prausnitz said. It’s about providing new opportunities for people who want


Georgia Tech

Journal reference:

Lee, S. and others. (2022) Microneedle Patch Tattoo. eye science.