Disappearing ink: The future of tattoos

If you have ever considered getting a tattoo, you know how much thought goes into deciding what will be on your body for the rest of your life. Maybe you have even decided against getting a tattoo you wanted at the time, because you weren’t sure you would still like it in 20 years. Well now, with Ephemeral Tattoos, you no longer have to worry.

Ephemeral Tattoos, a company started by five New York University students and graduates, is currently developing a tattoo ink that is engineered to last roughly one year. The team is also creating a removal solution that can be done at any time for safe, easy and effective removal of tattoos done with their ink. 

Saying Goodbye to Permanent Tattoos

Seung Shin, co-founder and CEO of Ephemeral, told Allure magazine that the idea came to him when he got a tattoo in college that his family did not approve of and therefore convinced him to get it removed. After one session, he realized the process of removing a tattoo was painful and expensive, so he went back to school and came up with his plan to create removable tattoo ink.

COO of Ephemeral, Joshua Sakhai, explains that when someone gets a traditional tattoo, their body immediately responds and tries to break down the ink. This is why traditional tattoos are permanent – they are made up of pigments that are too large for the body to break down. Sakhai says that to make Ephemeral’s tattoo ink semi-permanent, they’ve encapsulated tiny dye molecules that are much smaller than those used in traditional tattoo ink. This allows the body to break down the ink more easily.

The Removal Process

The team has made the removal process simple and quick for anyone who wants their Ephemeral tattoo gone before it fades. Sakhai says that the removal works in the same way as the tattooing process – the artist would simply put the company’s removal solution in their gun and traces over the existing tattoo. 

The company is aiming for the removal process to take one to three sessions depending on the size of the tattoo and are hoping to price the solution anywhere from $50 to $100. Regular tattoo removal can take ten or more sessions over the course of years to effectively fade a tattoo and can cost up to $100 per session.

The company began testing on animals in early 2016 to ensure the product is safe and works the way they want it to with a live immune system. Rats were the first subjects in the animal testing and pigs will be next. Ephemeral has been tweaking their technology since August 2014 and are expected to fully launch in late 2017. 

For those thinking about getting tattoos but aren’t sure if you’re ready to make a lifelong commitment: give it another year and your problem may be solved.


Ephemeral Tattoos would open a new door in the tattooing world. By creating a tattoo that will fade after a year and a solution to remove tattoos that is cheaper, less painful, and quicker than traditional tattoo removal, this company could completely change the future of tattooing. 

The ink and the solution will be able to be used in any artist's traditional tattoo tools, making it accessible to almost everybody. By eliminating that fear of commitment, anyone could get the tattoos they wanted because they would no longer have to live with it forever. 

Forecasted start year: 


Load comments