Soon You'll Be Able To Erase Your Tattoos

Yay science!

Illustration By Ricky Michaels

Tattoos often bond our bodies to times and places, to memories of things past, to people gone, to hardships overcome, and ideals strongly held. Other times, they bond us to images of koalas smoking blunts, ex lovers, and the 311 logo. This is all to say that sometimes you might not want these inky bonds to be lifelong. 

Well, some enterprising people down at New York City’s NYU are currently developing a tattooing ink and process that will allow you to erase unwanted tats without having to go under the laser. According to NYU’s independent newspaper, Washington Square News, bimolecular students at the Tandon School of Engineering already have the theories, basic technologies, and a company that could make it all happen within the next five years.

Accord to Seung Shin, the CEO of that company, Ephemeral, the reason why your run-of-the-mill tattoo doesn’t fade or can’t be erased without lasers is that the ink molecules are too large for the body’s natural immuno defenses to break them down.

Basically, Ephemeral’s technology solves this by replacing normal ink with smaller groups of molecules bound in capsules. To erase the ink, an artist would simply run over it with a tattoo gun loaded with a dissolving solution that would cause these capsules to break and their contents to be gobbled up by the body’s defenses. Oh, and, due to the natural wear and tear of the body, those capsules will also break on their own, causing your tattoo to fade in time. Yes, that would require periodic retouching, but it’s better than being buried with your ex’s name on your shoulder.

Says Shin, “Five years down the road, I hope we’ve substantially dented the tattoo industry, its culture, and its future.” Noting that long-term temporary tats might make them more palatable to the public he adds, “I hope to see a lot more people with ink.” We second that.

(via Washington Square News)