Blood, Sweat, and Tattoos


Years ago, the word sweat was taboo. No one talked about it. The sweaty-arm-pits people were considered outcasts. Today, sweat is in vogue. Menopausal women talk about flashing all the time, and fitness folks are proud to show off their wet spots. The more they drip, the more fashionable they become.

Sweat has also become a serious monitoring system for fitness training and gauging metabolic health. Researchers at the University of California-San Diego are exploring ways to monitor sweat as a health indicator. In order to do that, they have developed a new type of tattoo that actually gives them a reading.

The tattoo sensor, which temporarily applies to the skin, tracks chemical balance via sweat. Researchers are most interested in lactate, a compound generated by working muscles. The more lactate the body produces, the more sweat it releases. This technology is ideal for training athletes as it helps monitor one’s metabolic health. The technology is also being modified for use by the general public.

Lactate is usually measured through blood samples. The tattoo sensors are not invasive and do not require several drops of blood at different workout intervals for measurement.

Tattoos are becoming extremely useful. Watch out, you may find yourself sporting body art.