If you decide to get a tattoo on your body, it better be something you don't mind looking at for the rest of your life. At least that's the case with traditional tattoo art. But as TechCrunch reports, one company is working on a long-term temporary ink that would make tattoos less of a commitment.
Ephemeral, a two-year-old startup based out of Harlem, is rethinking tattoos by tweaking the makeup of the ink used to create them. The reason that regular tattoos stay on the skin permanently is that their molecules are too big for our immune systems to eradicate. To get around this, the Ephemeral team developed an ink made from smaller molecules, but this on its own would fade more quickly than what they had in mind. To give the ink a longer lifespan, they encapsulated the molecules in a protective coating designed to start breaking down after a year. If at any point recipients decided they wanted their tattoos removed sooner, a special solution could be applied via a tattoo machine to remove all the components instantly.
High-fashion temporary tattoos from companies like Tattoo You and Inkbox are already popular amongst ink-curious commitment-phobes. But unlike those products, which only stick around for a couple of weeks, Ephemeral would give wearers the closest idea of what living with a permanent tattoo feels like without having to get one.
After testing its ink on cells, the company has now moved on to testing on whole pigs and hopes to make it available to human skin in fall of next year. Ephemeral hasn't decided on a concrete price yet, but according to the CEO, average-sized tattoos should be expected to go for around $50 to $100.