Tattoo Patch Made From Microneedles Could Make Tattooing Painless and Fast

By: | September 21st, 2022

Image by Georgia Tech

A tattoo is a permanent mark or design made on your skin with a mechanized needle inserted into the skin. Tattoo artists usually use a hand-held machine that acts much like a sewing machine, to repeatedly pierce the skin.

With every puncture, they inject ink into the dermis or second layer of skin. This not only causes a small amount of bleeding, but this procedure is quite painful as well. At times this procedure damages the skin and also forms blood clots.

Now Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a microneedle patch that can be self-administered. It can help a person painlessly deposit a tattoo onto the skin within minutes. 

Mark Prausnitz, the principal investigator on the paper, said, “We saw this as an opportunity to leverage our work on microneedle technology to make tattoos more accessible,” 

“We’ve miniaturized the needle so that it’s painless, but still effectively deposits tattoo ink in the skin.”

This newly developed tattoo patch has tiny microneedles each smaller than a grain of sand

Microneedles in these low-cost skin patches act like a pixel and can be arranged in different patterns. Each tiny needle is filled with ink before being pressed onto the skin. As a result, the design will be transferred onto the skin without any pain or bleeding.

This technology have applications from medical alerts to cosmetics

This technology was also used for medical applications, such as tiny tattoos depicting medical conditions. For keeping it private, patches are made light or temperature sensitive. So that these tattoos are visible only under ultraviolet light or at high temperatures only when required.  

It was also used in veterinarian contexts to encode information on an animal’s skin regarding its vaccination status. This will save animals from a painful clipping of the ear or applying an ear tag.

  “The goal isn’t to replace all tattoos, which are often works of beauty created by tattoo artists,” Prausnitz noted. “Our goal is to create new opportunities for patients, pets, and people who want a painless tattoo that can be easily administered.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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