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What is medical tattooing?

Harriett Beesley explains the ins and outs of medical tattooing

What is medical tattooing?

Tattoos have been a popular pastime to express ourselves and individuality. Now there is an area of tattooing that is providing so much more for people. Medical tattooing is for patients who've had an event that's changed their appearance or for medical conditions such as a cleft lip, vitiligo and alopecia.

With these advanced medical tattoo treatments, a patient can regain the confidence they may have lost, while also changing or restoring their desired appearance. Harriett Beesley tells us more...

What is the basic understanding of medical tattooing?
Medical tattooing uses the same technique as semi-permanent make-up, implanting ink into the skin or minor trauma to promote collagen or a natural colour change. Medical tattooing tends to be for patients may have a medical condition or the results of a medical condition that has affected their appearance.

What exactly is hair camouflage and what reasons why do people have the procedure?
Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is used on both men and women. On men, it is used commonly for male pattern baldness. For both men and women, it is used for scarring from trauma to the scalp or thinning hair to take the glare of a balding scalp away. You realise how important hair is to someone’s identity and personality when doing this treatment.

How long does the hair camouflage treatment last and how long of the effects?
The treatments can take between 2 to 5 hours at a time and most people will need multiple sessions to achieve the desired result, something which we’ll discuss in consultation. Annual retouches are usually necessary to maintain the best results, but again this would be a personal choice.

How do you pick the correct colour of areola for each patient?
With my experience of how the coloured pigmentation heals to the skin, I can predict the perfect colour for the client. During the consultation, I also like to have an extensive chat and find it vital to take into account aspects like hair colour and skin tone.

Have any of your patients complained about pain when having a 3D nipple?
Many patients after having surgery in the bust area can lose sensation and so ultimately will feel less pain during this treatment. However, I do still like to use lots of anaesthetic numbing cream to make the patient feel completely comfortable for the duration of the treatment.

Why do you use no pigment within your treatment for scars and stretch marks?
For scars and stretch marks, I use a technique called dry needling, to change the colour and texture of the area. The dry needling cause minor trauma to the skin, inducing the production of collagen and changes the natural pigment, causing it to normalise as a result.

You provide a tattoo removal treatment, what does it involve?
This treatment works brilliantly on tattoos that have already faded over a long period of time or have been treated with laser removal first. All tattoos will vary depending on intensity or colour and depth of colour into the skin. Some fade in as little as one session others can take 6-8 sessions.

I use a needle to implant a cream substance into the area, which draws out the pigment. It will then form a scab, which is vital to keep dry until it falls off, taking the pigment with it. The skin will need at least 3 months to heal and scarring can happen, which is why a patch test is vital.

How successful have cleft lip treatments been for your patients?
The appearance of a cleft lip can affect a person’s confidence throughout their life, so this treatment is amazing for fixing that. I work on the symmetry with the patient, to achieve the most natural shape and colour. If the patient chooses a bold result, this can be achieved, as well as the more subtle finish.

Why do you recommend vitiligo patients only have your treatment if their condition has been static for 7 years?
It is important to only treat vitiligo once it’s settled as it often moves around the body and affects different areas. Minor trauma from the treatment can cause the skin to trigger a breakout, so a patient is advised to take careful consideration before embarking on this procedure. 

Why is medical tattooing beneficial for people?
Medical tattooing is often the last step in the puzzle, after going through things like battling cancer, alopecia or vitiligo. It can really give clients the confidence and potentially close the chapter on a difficult time. It’s unfortunate a lot of people aren’t aware of the treatments that are available to help them feel themselves again and get their confidence back after a difficult time, which is why I feel it’s so important to promote.

If you would like to discuss these treatments, or book a consultation with Harriett, please call a member of our team on 0121 456 0880.

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