New tattoo ink will fade in a year so you don’t actually have to commit

May 13, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. ET
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I got my first tattoo — a butterfly — at 18. I'd thought about it for years and finally got it during spring break my freshman year.

The tattoo shop wasn't the greatest — when I asked the guy how much it would hurt, he told me "not as much as losing your virginity." So, yeah I was creeped out, but not enough to walk out of there without some fresh ink on my shoulder blade.

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Fast-forward about 14 years and I'd love, love, love to get it removed, but some specialists told me the blues and purples aren't completely removable — I'd be left with a blue blob. Oh, and it would really, really hurt. Great.

I'm stuck with this bad early 2000s decision until I decide on a suitable cover-up. I know not everyone regrets their tattoos — there are some pretty amazing ones out there — but I do, mostly because of the shoddy quality.

An NYC-based company might have found a way to keep future body art enthusiasts from that regret. Ephemeral has developed a two-step system for temporary tattoos that fade after a year that includes the ink and a separate removal solution.

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But... how?

Cofounder Anthony Lam told TechCrunch that the tattoo ink used now is permanent because your immune system can't break down the large dye molecules. “By using smaller molecules, we’ve encapsulated them inside this spherical structure that’s big enough that your immune system doesn’t take it away. But when you remove it, it essentially eats away one of the components and the dye molecules are flushed out.”

The company is currently testing the ink on pigs and hopes to have the product out by fall 2017. As for cost, CEO Seung Shin says that while they haven't nailed down the price, they estimate it'll be about $50 to $100 for an "average sized tattoo."

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Pin it! Disappearing Ink Tattoo
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