Ink on skin

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Mendhi night with the girls!

We recently received the following email from one of our readers:

I am wondering if you could help me with my search for a pen and ink that would be suitable or even designed for writing on human skin?

I was interested to see it because I like to jot notes on my hands, and I’ve found that Pilot V-balls are well suited to the job. I’ve never tried with a fountain pen, and I have no idea whether or not there are pens that are actually designed for skin, but I can say that my husband’s pen of choice, the Pilot G2, doesn’t work at all; you’ve really got to dig to make a line.

Of course, if you’re looking to find a pen you could use to, say, draw on skin, the V-ball is probably limited — certainly the colors are. Body paint could work for that, or even Henna dye, which I understand some Hindu and Muslim cultures use for body art.

Readers, do you have any suggestions?

5 thoughts on “Ink on skin

  1. Surgeons use skin markers all the time. An internet search for “surgical skin markers” will bring up many medical supply houses that sell them.

  2. I like using the Uni Signo DX (either .38 or .5) for temporary tattoos – it lays down a fine dark line (I usually use brown black), is water resistant (splashing a little water on the tattoo doesn’t make it run, but rubbing it while wet will smudge) and washes off easily with soap and water.

  3. In terms of actual *pens* – I can’t think of any designed specifically for the purpose, though back in middle school when I was bored, I would draw elaborate jewelry-like designs on my hands with regular old ballpoints (in a variety of colors) or even fine-line markers.

    Specifically for writing on skin, though: henna paste is normally used in cones which are rather pen-like, but it’s more of a dye than an ink (you have to wait hours for it to set, and the final color is dependent on individual body chemistry); any sort of body paint or body makeup applied with a very fine brush could work; some makeup brands have/have had “tattoo pens” which are basically like liquid eyeliner – in fact, liquid eyeliner might be the best bet at a pen-like device with a product designed for skin-writing! Cheap drugstore brands like NYX, elf, Rimmel, and so on usually have a pretty good array of colors, too.

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