Things You Need to Know About Temporary Tattoos

To begin with, we have to make clear what a tattoo is. According to the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy of the Language), the definition of "tattoo" would be: "Recording drawings on human skin, introducing coloring matter under the epidermis, due to previously arranged punctures or stings." This very exact definition reveals two of the basic characteristics of all tattoos, that a “wound” or “puncture” must be made, and that the inks or pigments are deposited under the epidermis. That is under one of the the inner layers of the skin.

Stitch arm tattoo

@clodin_93 via Instagram

Are there temporary tattoos that disappear after 3 - 5 years?

This answer may come as a surprise to many: definitely NO. We do not know exactly where this false information has come from, which is also very widespread and you can even find fakers who claim that their temporary tattoos disappear over time, basing their explanations on all kinds of confusing data. We repeat, there is no magic ink that disappears after 3 or 5 years of getting the tattoo. Any pigment that is under the epidermis will remain there forever, it may fade slightly over the years, or blur a bit. But it will definitely never disappear completely. If someone tells you that they are capable of getting a tattoo that disappears "by magic" they are deceiving you, there is no such thing.

But actually, if you really want a temporary tattoo that will gone after a period of time, you can try some inktells’ tattoo stickers that can last for about 15 days. They are called semi-permanent tattoo stickers that are easy to apply and remove and look like real.

lion side tattoo

@tattoospirit via Instagram

We can read something in some places that says, "special pigments that are absorbed by the skin", as far as we know, such a thing does not exist, nor has there ever been. Whatever is used to make the tattoo, if it is done "piercing the skin", and is inserted under the epidermis, it will be permanent or forever.

We have also read some other explanation such as that "a layer of the skin is tattooed that regenerates, with which the tattoo disappears", this is also false. The skin has 3 layers, the ink from tattoos is deposited in the second (epidermis). Even if it was possible to tattoo only the first layer (which is technically impossible, and due to how thin the skin is), there would always be some residue in the lower layers. In other words, in the best of cases, we would end up with several permanent “smudges” and “spots” on our skin.

Why is it impossible for this ink to disappear?

The ink deposited on the second layer of the skin never reaches the outside, so even if those cells regenerated over the years, the tattoo ink would remain in the same place, that is, under our skin. If the ink were to be lost with the dead cells of our skin, all the tattoos would end up erasing with time, and it is not like that.

To convince you, and just because you think, in case you have any doubts: Do you really think that if temporary tattoos could be done, the tattooists would not be delighted to do them? They would make a lot more money redrawing tattoos every 5 years, people would change tattoos on a regular basis. It would be so much better for everyone. It only takes a little thought to realize that these types of temporary tattoos do not exist.

marionette arm tattoo

@eerietattoos via Instagram

1. Drawings Made With Henna

Henna is a reddish paste extracted from a plant. This paste is commonly used in India, Pakistan, Iran, the Middle East and North Africa to make decorative designs on the skin, usually geometric, or in the form of repetitive patterns. The drawings made with henna are temporary because they only "stain" the dead cells of the last layer of the skin so that when these dead cells disappear in the natural process of continuous regeneration of the skin. The drawing fades until it finally disappears completely. Due to these coloring properties, can also be used to "dye" the hair.

Henna drawings last between 2 and 4 weeks depending on the color strength of the dye, what we wash the area from, etc. The drawings made with henna have the logical limitations of the application method, being a “paste” that is deposited on the skin, excessively fine details, shaded areas, or other complex effects cannot be made. That is the reason why geometric designs are usually made.

2. Drawings made with airbrush

Among the multiple techniques of body makeup we can find some that use the airbrush to make designs, a device that sprays paint in the form of very fine droplets, in the same way that paint sprays do. Sometimes you can make designs that mimic tattoos, made with more durable inks that remain for several days. This system, like henna is based on "staining" the outer layer of the skin.

This method is very effective for reproducing “tribal” type designs, for this a cut-out template is made in the shape of the design that adheres to the body, and the uncovered surface is “painted” with the airbrush, once the template is removed the "temporary tattoo" is exposed. This technique is quite effective with “mass” designs of color, such as the tribal ones above. And shadows and gradients can be made, but not very fine details.

3. Tattoo Stickers

The famous “stickers” from our childhood are still present among us, often with tattoo designs. A decal is an "adhesive sheet", a kind of thin, flexible sticker that sticks to the skin. It is totally removable with soap and water, or an alcohol swab. Inktells’ temporary tattoo stickers last for 2-4 days and semi-permanent tattoos last for 15 days on average. It is a clever way to get a permanent tattoo replaced by tattoo stickers which are affordable and painless. What’s more, you can apply a new one you like instead the former sticker after removing it.

skeleton tattoo design