Updated: Jun 20, 2021
In this post we discuss Healing Conundrums in Permanent Cosmetics
The scenario goes like this: recently you had a beautiful Microblading session and love the new look of your eyebrows. During the first week, the healing process can transform the results into a darker color before shedding the post-Microblading procedure scab. A few weeks after the procedure, you notice some gaps in the hair-strokes and the color looks a bit ashy or gray. What happened?
There are many reasons this can happen, and we are going to discuss the five most common.
Understanding human skin is important. Human skin is the largest organ on the body and has many functions, including retention of heat, protection from invaders, blood transportation and more. Relating to permanent cosmetics, there are cells in the skin that literally remove pigment. The skin's natural healing process is to react to tattooing in general as if there has been an invasion. The skin responds with healing over the implanted pigment creating a temporary “haze” over the pigment. In rare cases, a touch up sooner than planned may be required to achieve the ideal results.
top reasons experts will recommend a touch up:
After care directions were not adhered to properly, and a scab formed too thick which resulted in damage to the pigment.
The client's skin was not in the best health - medication, workouts and or alcohol ingestion was may have been introduced too soon before or after the session. Alcohol thins the blood, creating more bleeding, which impacts the results and is not recommended.
In cases of clients with deeper skin tones, in some cases the pigment can turn ashy upon healing.
Sun damage - not wearing sunscreen daily can result in damage to pigment due to UV radiation, which results in faster fading of the pigment.
The area of the tattoo has a high movement rate.
Why gray or blue ?
Most tattooing pigments are formulated with a brown or black pigment. All of these pigments have varying degrees of blue in them, and blue is the last color to fade out. When the upper colors such as reds and yellows fade, the last remaining tone is blue/gray. Adding an orange based modifier is necessary to prevent this occurrence, although it is not fool proof - even with a modifier it can happen.
What can we do to fix this?
All pigments fade. There is no such thing as an ink or pigment that does not fade with time and UV radiation. The eyebrow area is unique in its position - it is always exposed.
Other tattoo areas such as the eye area are covered with the brow bone and lashes, so they fade much more slowly. Body tattoos use different inks with larger molecules that can hold in the skin for a longer duration of time, but even they will eventually fade.
Until a pigment is invented that has the ability to avoid the human body's own defense mechanisms, as well as UV damage, fading will always be an issue. At this point in time, the best we can do is touch up as needed, wear sunscreen, and follow your practitioner's after care advice. When the colors start shifting or fading, often after 1-3 years, it is time to have a touch up.
One thing to note as well for eyebrows, the “tails” tend to hold pigment longer as there is little movement in that part of the brow. The front part tends to drop pigment and fade faster due to high level of movement by brow musculature.
A Note From Stella: Touch-Ups are not included in her permanent makeup applications and are not typically needed, but be advised individual results may vary.