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How laser tattoo removal works

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SmarterEveryDay explains the laser removal process for tattoos. As it turns out, the painful, complicated procedure surprisingly involves physics, biology and chemistry.

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What makes tattoos permanent?

The earliest recorded tattoo was found on a Peruvian mummy in 6,000 BC. That’s some old ink! And considering humans lose roughly 40,000 skin cells per hour, how do these markings last? Claudia Aguirre details the different methods, machines and macrophages (you’ll see) that go into making tattoos stand the test of time.

The history of tattoos

If you have a tattoo, you’re part of a rich cultural history that dates back at least 8,000 years. Where did this practice of body modification come from, and how has its function changed over time? Addison Anderson tracks the history of getting inked.

Additional references

Laser technology is making tattoo removal easier than ever read - Smithsonian

Thanks to recent advances, the tattoo removal business has quadrupled in the last decade.

Tattooing close up (in slow motion) - YouTube

SmarterEveryDay explains how tattooing works in slow motion.


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Princeton, New Jersey, United States

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TED-Ed Best of Web are exceptional, user-created lessons that are carefully selected by volunteer teachers and TED-Ed staff.

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