infinite_inkIt’s a controversial idea, a tattoo that is neither permanent nor temporary but a bit of both. It is also a very exciting development and one that has elicited some pretty powerful reactions from tattoo aficionados and artists alike.

Think of all the conversations you had with yourself, your friends and perhaps even family when you were considering having your first ever tattoo. You probably felt very strongly that you wanted a tattoo, yet you still hesitated. Even for the hardest among us, there is something daunting about making that decision that is irreversible in its effect. It means that many of us are less adventurous in the design and positioning of our body art than we would be. Having a tattoo inked on your skin has pretty much always been about permanence, no matter the mode and manner of removal techniques out there. They are painful, expensive and imperfect, leaving scars and shadows on your skin. This is no longer the case, it appears, and it’s all in the ink.

According to their website, Infintink “is the first and only tattoo ink to make use of advanced scientific research. … It is a high quality tattoo ink engineered specifically for future removability”. You still have a tattoo inked in the traditional way but the difference is in the actual ink used. Infinitink breaks down much more readily when lasered, so it is cheaper and less traumatic to have that tattoo erased should you decide to do so. In laymen’s terms, we are talking less expense, less time and less pain.
Infinitink was developed, tested and released to the market in the US and is currently only available there. According to the company that developed it, the technology is called “Particle Encapsulation and Enhancement (P2E) Platform”. Basically, the ink is held in micro capsules which rupture when a laser is passed over them, allowing the body to absorb the ink and remove it from its position under the skin. Infinitink still only comes in black but a full palette of colours is planned for release.

Many people have greeted this news with glee and excitement, recognising that this innovation will open up the possibilities and scope of tattooing, broadening its appeal.

Others, though, view the whole concept as, frankly, insulting. Ana Gonzales, an employee at Miami Ink: “If you’re going to get a tattoo, get a tattoo. If you don’t, then get henna,” and Chris Hall, a tattoo artist at Way Cool Tattoos in Toronto, believes tattoos represent an individual’s life experiences, which is why, he says, tattoos should be permanent. His take on the matter is quite pragmatic: “[It] is an easy out for people who want to get tattoos as fashion accessories but it takes away from their obligation to take responsibility for their choices,” he said.  “To put it on just to take it off totally misses the point.”

I can’t say I don’t agree…