Tattoos that are designed to only last a year

STORY: This tattoo is ‘made to fade’

Houston’s Ephemeral Tattoo studio uses a special type of ink

made from biodegradable polymers and dyes which the body breaks down over time

Location: Houston, Texas

[Mari Alex Littlefield, Customer experience employee, Ephemeral Tattoo]

“So Ephemeral is the traditional process of being tattooed. It's just our ink is a little bit different, in the fact that it fades in between nine and 15 months. It's bio-absorbable. So it breaks down with the presence of water in your body.”

Some customers opt for the non-permanent tattoos on religious grounds

[Muhammad Ehsan, Customer]

“I'm Muslim and in Islam, you're not supposed to get tattoos because God gave you the body and it's not really

yours. /And by getting a tattoo here and modifying it and, like, not being grateful to what he has created you as. So that's why it's not allowed or it's forbidden.”

Before tattooing, customers are briefed on the possibility of hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin)

and hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin)

Permanent keloid scarring is possible depending on a customer’s skin type

[David Lee, Customer]

“You know, I grew up like goody two-shoes and so, you know, I was always scared to get a tattoo and so this is just like, a good kind of middle option, I guess. (laughs)”


“No, no. I haven't told my family. //

‘’They shouldn't be that mad. They might disown me, but that's okay (laughs)”