Coming in 2007: removable tattoos

A new ink for the commitment-phobic.

By Brandi Stewart, FSB Magazine

(FSB Magazine) -- Like a Vegas wedding, getting a tattoo can be a regrettable experience. While about one out of four Americans now has a tattoo (up from one out of six in 2003), 17 percent will seek to have it removed at some point, according to a recent study.

Worse, the FDA does not regulate the tattoo industry, and some inks contain harmful toxins. However, a Manhattan-based startup called Freedom-2 ( aims to solve both issues with a new durable but removable tattoo ink.

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Co-founder Rox Anderson, a professor of dermatology at Harvard University who pioneered several nonscarring laser treatments for blemishes such as birthmarks and skin lesions, helped design the ink using FDA-approved, digestible pigment particles.

Freedom-2 ink tattoos are professionally applied with a standard needle, but they can be removed with a simple laser treatment that will release the ink from the skin into the body, where it can be safely reabsorbed.

The laser removal treatments cost about $1,000, compared with the $5,000 to $10,000 spent to remove conventional tattoos. CEO Martin Schmieg, whose upper left arm sports a removable tattoo in the shape of the Freedom-2 logo (gothic font, biker style), expects the ink to begin appearing in about a dozen tattoo parlors early in 2007 and to cost about four times the price of standard ink.

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