Test drive a tattoo: Startup company developing ink that fades in a year

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A startup company is developing a tattoo ink that would fade away a year after application. (KTRK)

They say when you get a tattoo, it's for life. With the exception of potentially painful laser removal, that ink will be with you until the end. But one startup company is looking to change all that with their attempt to bring a new temporary ink to the market.

Melissa Cruz is getting her 11th tattoo. So when the idea of temporary ink came up, she says it's not for her.

"For me, a tattoo is artwork and I want to wear it forever," Cruz said.

However, temporary ink could be appealing to many others out there who are considering going under the needle for the first time.

"We're building a 2-component system of a tattoo ink that lasts roughly a year or more, without fading at all," Ephemeral COO Josh Sakhia said.

Ephemeral is a New York-based company that's in the process of developing temporary tattoo ink. The goal is the last at least one year, then dissolve away.

"After the year ends, we're optimizing it so there's a nice even fade that you can accelerate or change with a removable solution," Sakhia said.

If you want to remove it sooner, they're working on a solution to give you that option -- without lasers.

"We build a removable solution that our users can apply to edit or completely remove their tattoo," he said.

Sakhia tells us the ink can be applied by tattoo artists across the country, using existing equipment.

So the ink may be gone after a year, but what about scaring?

Tattoo artist Oscar Cuellar, with Prison Break Tattoos, says it depends on the tattooer and the person.

"Different variables go into it. But if you have sensitive skin, and the person who's tattooing doesn't know what he's doing, he will scar you," Cuellar said.

Cuellar says he doesn't see his regulars going for this type of ink. But there could be a buzz when this eventually hits the market for those who want to test drive a tattoo for the first time.

"Everybody wants to be a part of the newest fashion of tattooing. It will attract some new customers. Will it stick around? That's the question," Cuellar explained.

Now what about those who tattoo a name of their significant other on their body, but the relationship doesn't last?

"In some way like that, it could be beneficial, just because it would be easier to erase. But it kind of shows you the relationship wasn't too good to begin with," Cuellar said.

Right now the company is testing this on surfaces similar to human skin, and hope to get it on the market by the fall of 2017. They're in the process now of raising more funding to reach that goal
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