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Temporary tattoo ink

  1. Dec 22, 2011 #1
    I have a friend who is interested in getting a tattoo but of course isn't sure she wants it for life. I tried researching "temporary tattoo ink", like something that last 6 months or so, but I couldn't really find anything. Does anyone have knowledge of a temporary ink? Does it exist? I have to imagine it does. Something that can be used with a needle.
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  3. Dec 22, 2011 #2


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    There are temporary tattoos that are rub ons from transfer paper to henna art as seen in India.
  4. Dec 22, 2011 #3
    We are looking for a solution that can be applied with an ink gun and lasts several months :)
  5. Dec 22, 2011 #4
    My advice, don't get a tattoo with the color black. Get light skin-tone pastels and white. That way, it will fade (a ton, trust me) in the sun, and it's easy to get removed later should you choose. How do I know? My old roommate owns a tattoo shop in our city, plus, I have some light colored tattoos that are almost invisible from my constant beach-going.

    Generally, tattoos fade faster if the ink doesn't make it to the right layer of skin. Too deep and it's funny looking, too shallow and it bleeds out and fades fast. The problem with having an artist actually tattoo one with the intent for it to fade when the skin layers die is that it will look like crapola.
  6. Dec 22, 2011 #5
    I should add that I am no professional tattoo artist or dermatologist, so take my advice with a grain of salt. Obviously do your research first, and any needle+skin tattoo that you get you should plan for it to be permanent just in case!
  7. Dec 22, 2011 #6


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    One of my friends had a 'temporary' tattoo done that was supposed to last a year or so. 10 years later it's still there!
  8. Dec 22, 2011 #7
    What is the difficultly in producing a temporary ink? You'd think it would be a gold mine if someone would develop one.
  9. Dec 22, 2011 #8
    You might have better luck calling tattoo shops or even finding a tattoo forum. I have a hunch that this crowd might not be the most knowledgeable on tattoos.
  10. Dec 22, 2011 #9
    I thinking maybe there is a chemical side or biological side ya'll an help with on why this is difficult to create :)
  11. Dec 22, 2011 #10


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    I thought tattoos being permanent is more to do with the process than the ink
  12. Dec 22, 2011 #11
    So maybe the question is how long a tattoo would last one skin layer up from the Dermis?
  13. Dec 22, 2011 #12


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    Hard to say, skin varies so widely from person to person. Some scar easliy, some don't. Some get permanent discoloration from sun exposure, some don't.

    Maybe she should try a tiny tatto in an obscure place and see what happens. Of course this may mean waiting a year, by which time she may decide she doesn't really want a tattoo.
  14. Dec 23, 2011 #13
    There might be a market for tattoos that fade away but R&D in pigments generally looks for the opposite: pigments that will last forever. There are paintings from the renaissance, for example, where some of the colors have changed into ugly, strange shades. Everyone wants to avoid that, so people who engineer new pigments are always shooting for permanence.

    In the case of tattoos there would be the additional problem of everything having to be non-toxic.
    This kind of precision depth control is probably beyond the skills of a tattoo artist with a hand held gun.

    Wiki says all gun made "temporary" tattoos are not:


    I have heard of sharpie artists who can draw a credible tattoo on the surface that will slowly wash away over time.

    The main trouble with the idea of a temporary tattoo, it seems to me, is that for the bulk of its life it will be in "fade" mode. You'd be walking around with a faded tattoo for a much longer time than it was rich and colorful.
  15. Dec 23, 2011 #14
    This is a very interesting point!
  16. Dec 23, 2011 #15
    If she's not sure she wants it for life, then, imho, she shouldn't get it. There are much more interesting and important things to worry over (again, only imho).
  17. Dec 23, 2011 #16

    I like Serena

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    It would be nice if they could invent an ink that is permanent, but which dissolves using some chemical.
    Say you drink a potion and gone is the tattoo!

    Isn't it already possible to remove existing tattoos with chemicals up to some extent?
  18. Dec 23, 2011 #17
    Why would anyone get a tattoo if they weren't entirely and irrevocably commited to the content/message of the tattoo?
  19. Dec 23, 2011 #18

    I like Serena

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    Erm... because it looks pretty and is considered cool by some?
  20. Dec 23, 2011 #19
    I've known lots of people with tattoos. Based on that experience, my humble (and maybe wrong, I don't know) opinion is that these people have some sort of internal insecurity or dissatisfaction with themselves. But of course, I don't know what they're thinking. I don't know what motivates them.

    I ask myself: why do people allow themselves to be tattooed? Why do they want to be tattooed? I have some ideas, but nothing that I would consider definitive.

    Personally, imho, I think it's stupid/silly/immature -- not well thought out. And, come to think of it, all of the people who I know who have tattoos are, imo, stupid/silly/immature wrt the tattoos and also wrt their general behavior --which is not to say that they aren't also lovable and good friends and trustworthy.
  21. Dec 23, 2011 #20
    I guess it depends on what one thinks looks pretty and whose opinions one is compelled by.
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