1st made-to-fade tattoo ink shop in SF 'moving the needle' for enthusiasts, helping cancer patients

"It's such an exciting new medium in tattooing."

BySara Zendehnam and Jason Beal Localish logo
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
1st made-to-fade tattoo ink shop in SF helping cancer patients
A San Francisco tattoo shop is changing the landscape for tattoo enthusiasts and cancer patients, alike.

SAN FRANCISCO -- In San Francisco, there's a tattoo shop that's changing the landscape for tattoo enthusiasts and cancer patients, alike.

"I think it's really exciting to be at the cutting edge of what tattoos can be," say artist Evan Price.

Price is a resident tattoo artist at Ephemeral Tattoo in San Francisco. Ephemeral is the world's first made-to-fade tattoo ink. The "temporary" tattoos are applied the same as traditional tattoos, but made to fade away over time.

"We're going to the same depth, we're using the same machines, the only difference is that these ones are going to fade away over time," says Price.

"A lot of people say that the sensation is comparable to a cat scratch, I think it's a pretty good comparison for the sensation," she added.

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Price says that the only difference for the artist applying the tattoo is it changes in hand speed and machine speed.

"It's such an exciting new medium in tattooing," she says. "It's very fulfilling to be able to do people's first tattoos, and to be that entry into tattooing in general."

This year, Ephemeral expanded the use of their fading ink to cancer treatment centers.

"Tattoos have been used forever setting our patients up for the radiation treatments," says Dr. Farzan Siddiqui, Vice Chair of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Health. "But as you know, our tattoos are permanent. And we wanted to look for something that would not be permanent."

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Ephemeral for Radiotherapy replaces the permanent tattoo ink used in radiation treatments, with made-to-fade ink.

"It's a really small dot, but it has such a huge psychological impact," says Brennal Pierre, Co-Founder of Ephemeral. "If we can even just make life a little bit better for cancer patients, then, you know, that's a huge win for us. And for everyone. I think."

Currently, Ephemeral for Radiotherapy is only available in the clinical study with the Henry Ford Health in Detroit, Michigan.

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"Most of our patients were quite excited to be part of this trial," explains Siddiqui, "because we explained to them that receiving a tattoo was part of their treatment process. So unfortunately, it was not an optional step in their treatment. But this time, we could offer them something that would serve the purpose of getting them through the six to seven weeks of radiation treatment, but then it would go away."

"We want this to be available for everyone to use," says Pierre, "our goal is to really get it to anyone that needs it as soon as we can."

For artist Evan Price, this new option for cancer patients hits close to home

"I was pretty overwhelmed and excited about the announcement," says Price.

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Price's mom is a cancer survivor.

"She has three tattoos on her chest that she would not have chosen to have," says Price. "When I read about it, knowing that people don't have to have a permanent reminder of a temporary time in their life. It just was really emotional and exciting and knowing that that's what we'll open up to many patients of the future."

For more information on Ephemeral for Radiotherapy, email radiotherapy@ephemeral.tattoo

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