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Easy Ways to Remove Temporary Tattoos

author image Rob Callahan
Rob Callahan lives in Minneapolis, where he covers style, culture and the arts for Vita.MN and "l'étoile Magazine." His work has earned awards in the fields of journalism, social media and the arts. Callahan graduated from Saint Cloud State University in 2001 with a Bachelor's degree in philosophy.
Easy Ways to Remove Temporary Tattoos
Pouring mouthwash into the cap Photo Credit tab1962/iStock/Getty Images


Temporary tattoos are decorative images that stick to the skin. By laying flat against the skin, they give the appearance of a permanent tattoo without requiring the lifetime commitment. While children of all ages enjoy them for a variety of reasons, their appearance begins to diminish after time. Should this happen, or should another reason to remove them arise, there are many ways you can take them off with little effort and expense.

Solvents to Lift Tattoos

Use peroxide, mouthwash, nail polish remover or even clean water to break apart the temporary tattoo. As it comes apart, the tattoo will fall off of your skin in small pieces. Hasten the process by rubbing the tattoo with a warm, damp cloth once the liquid begins to work. If you prefer a less direct approach, spend an afternoon swimming in a pool and let the chlorinated water do the work for you.

Oil-Based Removers

Apply baby oil to both break down the tattoo and enjoy the added advantage of its moisturizing effects on your skin. If your temporary tattoo is particularly stubborn, apply baby oil first and then apply rubbing alcohol to hasten its removal.

Sticky Scotch Tape

Place scotch tape over the temporary tattoo, then pull it away. Temporary tattoos are essentially just decals on your skin, so you can pull them off simply by adhering something to their exposed surface that is stickier than the glue beneath them. Scotch tape will quickly stick to the surface of your temporary tattoo, and when you pull the tape away, it will take part of the tattoo with it. Repeat this process with fresh tape until you have removed all of your temporary tattoo.

Be careful and precise when using this method if you have sensitive or unusually hairy skin, as the quick removal of the tape can irritate your skin and rip out any hair that comes in contact with its sticky surface.

Patience is a Virtue

Be patient. As their name implies, temporary tattoos are designed to fade and disappear with the passage of time. Within a few days, even the most sheltered and well-maintained temporary tattoo will begin to break apart and come off. Once they have begun to come off on their own, you can hasten the removal process simply by rubbing your thumb over them. If small sections refuse to come off with your thumb, pry or scrape them softly with a fingernail.

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