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Immune cells are gobbling up your tattoos, and yet still keeping them in place

Skin cells live and die—but somehow tattoos remain permanently etched below the top layer of skin. New research on mice sheds light on why tattoo ink has so much staying power: Immune cells called macrophages—which gobble up things such as bacteria and viruses—consume droplets of ink. And when one of them dies, the ink is released and taken up by another macrophageScientific American reports. The discovery, published this week in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, may be useful for developing better ways to remove unwanted tattoos.

 

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