Why Are Tattoos Permanent?

I’m a tattooed woman. I blame it on a misspent youth. But tattoos are so commonplace now that my artwork from decades ago seems sweet and quaint. When I got my first one in the late-1980s, I asked the artist what made them permanent. His answer wasn’t too far off from what the folks over at the American Chemical Society had to say in the most-recent Reactions video. Although I was in such pain, he could have told me the secret was a recipe of ground up unicorn horns and dragon teeth and I would have believed him.

And for the record, I have a friend who has an inner lip tattoo. It’s her name – Alda. I asked her why she got it. She said it would come in handy when she got old. If she forgets her name, she just has pull out her lip and have someone read it to her. She’s in her 60s now, so time will tell.


Traci Purdum is Chemical Processing’s senior digital editor and the only one on staff with tattoos. You can email her at tpurdum@putman.net.