Tattoo removal on an emancipist using Argon-cryotherapy exploiting the Joule Thomson’s coefficient to modulate the cooling effect

Lorenzo Martini

University of Siena, Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnologies, Via A. Moro 2, 53100 Siena, Italy

Corresponding author: Lorenzo Martini, M.Sc., E-mail:

Submission: 29.09.2016; Acceptance: 01.02.2017

How to cite this article: Martini L. Tattoo removal on an emancipist using Argon-cryotherapy exploiting the Joule Thomson’s coefficient to modulate the cooling effect. Our Dermatol Online. 2017;8(1e):e1.



The reason why We have chosen to make these experiences is that an emancipist (44 y. old) had asked to me to help him to eliminate all the tattoos he had onto his entire body.
He had all the tattoos made by a jail-mate when he was prisoner, his friend had used a guitar string and inks were those the prison director let the inmates to use for creating decorations and pictures.
The jail mate who created the tattoos had mixed dyes with urine and the most suggestive concern was that for depicting the man’s penis he had to work on the erected phallus to let the whole tattoo could develop when penis should arise.
To let the phallus be erected for all the time the operator had to depict it, they used the fig milk (a fig was in the jail courtyard).and irritation and pain can be imagined.
He recounted to me that jail tattooing is a ritual and an exoteric religion: certain tattoos wanted expressly to signify determined adventures of the prisoner before his capture: the cat means arrest for robbery, a church with two chapels means two convictions during his own life and a gun signify that the prisoner had murdered a policeman.
Dragoons and sirens are only ancillary decorations and do not manifest the virility and the boldness of the prisoner.
We want to recall that at the time of ancient Greeks and Romans tattooing was common amongst certain religious groups, even if  Leviticus drastically had prohibited tattooing. During the classic Greek period, tattooing was only common among slaves. In Persia, tattooing, body painting intended to signify a supernatural power to the person who used this way of depicting his body (it was a costume of kings and ecclesiastics).Pilgrims to the Holy Lands throughout the 17th century were tattooed to commemorate their voyages and even Jesuits referred that in Central America this costume was welcome and exploited by all types of classes [1-2].
It is interesting to remind that the new policy in the U.S. Marine Corps unauthorized tattoos in different parts of the body such as the wrist, knee, elbow and above the collar bone. Wrist tattoos have to be two inches above the wrist, elbow tattoos two inches above and one inch below, and the knee two inches above and two below [1].
All inks the jail mate used onto the prisoner’s body were azo dyes. and the volunteer did not hesitate to show me a paper where the colours were reported:

Orange were Acid orange 5 and 7
Red were Acid red 88, Congo Red and Ponceau S
Blue were Direct Blue and  Trypan blue
Green were janus Green B
Black was Sudan Black
Violet were Amaranth and azo violet
Brown were brown HT, Brown Fk and Bismarck  Y
Yellow were Fast yellow and Sunset yellow  
It is notorious that tattoos may be removed by the aids of laser, even if the procedure is painful and very long and sometimes results are not very successful and depending on the location of the tattoo and the pain threshold for the patient, the operator may elect to use some form of anesthesia (topical anesthesia cream or painkiller injections at the site of the procedure).
Newer technology, laser tattoo removal has become much more effective with very little risk of scarring. Laser treatment is anyway safer than many traditional methods such as excision, dermabrasion or salabrasion (using moist gauze pads saturated with a salt solution to abrade the tattooed area) because of its unique ability to selectively treat pigment involved in the tattoo [3-8].
In many cases, certain colours may be more effectively removed than others. It is known that blue/black tattoos respond particularly well to laser treatment — the response of other colors is under investigation.
Another probable technique is cryotherapy and that We have tried to use to remove all the tattoos of the emancipist. 
Cryotherapy uses imaging guidance, a needle-like applicator called a cryoprobe, and a liquid gas to create intense cold to freeze and destroy damaged tissues.(it is used often to cure melanomas and skin cancers).
It is even known that yellow and green are very easy to be removed thanks to cryotherapy, anyway the cool necessary to eliminate the pigment inserted owing to needles or (as in this case) a guitar string into the skin and dermis must vary depending on the area of the body and the type of colour to treat. In order to obtain this capacity of modulating the quantity of cooling effect, We have exploited the Joule-Thomson’s effect, based on the expansion of a real gas, (ideal gases do not follow the Joule Thomson process) keeping moreover on account that nitrogen, helium and hydrogen do not cool upon expansion by the Joule–Thomson process.
Argon, instead, is suitable for a cryotherapy based on the Joule Thomson’s process.
Scrutinizing the basis of this physical irreversible process, that describes the temperature change of a real gas or liquid  when it is forced through a valve or porous plug while kept insulated so that no heat is exchanged with the environment [3-9].
The rate of change of temperature with respect to pressure in a Joule–Thomson process, that is, at constant enthalpy  is the Joule–Thomson’s coefficient. This coefficient can be expressed in terms of the gas's volume, its heat capacity at constant pressure, and its coefficient of thermal expansion 
For an ideal gas, is always equal to zero: ideal gases neither warm nor cool upon being expanded at constant enthalpy, but, as We have already referred, Argon is capable to change its cooling effect, modulating only its volume that has to pass through a porous plug.
Heat capacity or thermal capacity is a measurable physical quantity equal to the ratio of the heat added to an object to the resulting temperature change. The SI unit of heat capacity is joule per kelvin  Specific heat is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of mass by 1 kelvin.
It is know that heat capacity of Argon is 0.520 J/K. and its  thermal expansion is 2.7 K. and thus, keeping on account that I operate at constant temperature (room temperature, idest 25°C or 298.15°K) the only physical condition to change must be the volume in order to let the Joule Thomson’s coefficient FP9-14MC Mailer-TYK, that are constituted by sintered high alumina ceramics 82.1 (cm3•atm)/(mole•K). 
P is 1013.25 mPa
T is 298.15 K
Q is the flow rate.
And thus I’ll obtain the following cooling effects in the two different cases:
In the first case I’ll reach the Volume of 362.27 m3 and in the second case the Volume of 159.44m3.
And, inserting the values of the volume of the first and second case in the equation for calculating the Joule Thompson’s coefficient: 
1. Atkinson M. Tattooed: the sociogenesis of a body art.2003; Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 40. 
2. Kirby W. Lasers and Energy Devices for the Skin, Second Edition. Chapter 4: Tattoo Removal. Ed. Goldman, Fizpatrick, Ross, Kilmer. CRC Press. 2013. 
3. Moran MJm Shapiro HN. Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics 5th Edition (2006) John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 
4. Goussard, JO, Roulet B. Free expansion for real gases. Am J Phys.1993:61:845–8. 
5. Atkins P. Physical Chemistry (6th ed.). New York: 1997;W.H. Freeman and Co. p. 930. 
6. Rock PA. Chemical Thermodynamics, section 3-2. University Science Books,1983; Mill Valley, CA.
7. Pippard AB. Elements of Classical Thermodynamics.1957., p. 73. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. 
8. Tabor D. Gases, liquids and solids;1999; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, University,UK.p.148.
9. Klotz IM, Rosenberg RM. Chemical Thermodynamics; 1991; p. 83. Benjamin, Meno Park, CA.


Source of Support: Nil,

Conflict of Interest: None declared.



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