Currently, precise non-invasive diagnostics systems for the real-time multi detection and monitoring of physiological parameters and chemical analytes in the human body are urgently required by clinicians, physiologists and bio-medical researchers. We have developed a novel cost effective smart 'vanishing tattoo' (similar to temporary child's tattoos) consisting of environmental-sensitive dyes. Painlessly impregnated into the skin the smart tattoo is capable of generating optical/fluorescence changes (absorbance, transmission, reflectance, emission and/or luminescence within UV, VIS or NIR regions) in response to physical or chemical changes. These changes allow the identification of colour pattern changes similar to bar-code scanning. Such a system allows an easy, cheap and robust comprehensive detection of various parameters and analytes in a small volume of sample (e.g. variations in pH, temperature, ionic strength, solvent polarity, presence of redox species, surfactants, oxygen). These smart tattoos have possible applications in monitoring the progress of disease and transcutaneous drug delivery. The potential of this highly innovative diagnostic tool is wide and diverse and can impact on routine clinical diagnostics, general therapeutic management, skin care and cosmetic products testing as well as fundamental physiological investigations.