permanent cosmetics permanent makeup
 

Scar Color and Skin Camouflage

How People Can Benefit from Camouflage Tattooing
Psychological studies have shown that self confidence increases when a person’s appearance and body image is improved. This can be achieved with medical corrective tattooing. Skin color loss (de-pigmentation) can occur from medical procedures, trauma from burns or accidents, congenital anomalies, or different types of skin diseases. Medical treatments and surgical procedures can correct or improve the appearance of many types of scars and skin abnormalities. However, some patients still need the skin color of the treated area to be “re-applied” so it appears more “normal”.

What is Skin Camouflage or Scar Camouflage?
Skin or scar camouflage is tattooing of the skin with different colors of flesh tone pigments. Its purpose is to disguise a scar or skin area that is missing pigment or color. It is a specialized area of permanent cosmetics that falls under the category of Medical or Paramedical Tattooing. This process is also called Corrective Pigment Camouflage (CPC), Corrective Camouflage, Skin Repigmentation, Scar Camouflage, Skin Camouflage, Camouflage Tattooing, and Skin Color Tattooing. The science behind pigments and the physiology of human skin and tissue must be understood by the specialist performing these procedures. These procedures require advanced knowledge, training, skills, and experience in permanent cosmetics as well as an artistic eye for color and skin tones.

Are You a Candidate for Skin Color Repigmentation?
Even if you have a scar or skin abnormality, you may not be candidate for skin repigmentation. You might be a candidate if you meet the criteria below. Your scar should be:

  • Healed and no longer pink or changing color: Your scar should be at least 9 to 12 months old with stable color. If it is red or pink or still changing color, the tissue may still be healing. A reputable, experienced medical tattooist will not work prematurely on scar tissue because it may cause further damage to the skin. (Note: If you were under a physician’s care for the condition, ask him/her if you may undergo skin color tattooing before contacting Dr. Reed.)
  • Smooth and relatively flat: Camouflage tattooing cannot disguise or correct extreme changes in skin texture. If your scar or skin area is bumpy or raised, the process may not be effective. (Note: If you have any skin surface irregularity, please consult with a Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon first to see if any type of medical treatments can first improve the skin texture.)
  • Without dark edges: Dark edges or borders around a scar indicate Post Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation (PIHP) from the initial trauma or surgery. It is possible that the camouflage tattooing process may increase the hyper-pigmentation and create a wider, darker border. (Note: The risk of this happening is usually greater with darker skin tones.)
  • NOT one of the following: Port Wine birthmarks; spider veins; freckles; age spots; under eye circles; hyper-pigmentation; or unstable Vitiligo (not in remission). These can be improved with non-tattoo medical treatments such as lasers, sclerotherapy, or chemical peels. Please consult with a physician regarding the best course of treatment for these conditions.

Examples of Poor Candidates for Scar Camouflage

Keloid Scar
Raised, Dark Edges
Hyperpigmentation (PIHP)
scar color camouflage
scar color camouflage
scar color camouflage
 
 

You might be a candidate if you also meet the criteria below. You should:

  • Have realistic expectations: Camouflage tattooing will not completely restore skin to the way it looked before it was injured. The process will not “erase” a scar or skin abnormality so it appears completely gone and the area looks “perfect” again. It improves color differences to help disguise the scar or anomaly and make it less noticeable to other people.
  • Not spend time tanning: A scar camouflage tattoo will not be a “perfect” match to the surrounding skin color. This is due to the constant changes in skin tones from blood flow, body temperature, and tanning. The pigment in the tattoo will not darken if it is exposed to sunlight or tanning booths, so the tattoo may appear lighter if the surrounding skin tans. When the tattoo color matches tanned skin, it may appear darker once the surrounding tanned skin fades. Therefore, if you spend time outdoors, you will need to adjust your lifestyle or decide to match the tattoo to “winter” or “summer” skin and live with the changes in between.
  • Not expect results in one session: Camouflage repigmentation is a process, not a one-time "cure". It is performed on “unhealthy” skin that has been damaged or altered. Its response cannot be predicted—a scar or Vitiligo patch may have areas that absorb pigment, reject it, or both. The area will look dark and red immediately after a tattooing session, and then it takes several weeks to show the healed color (or not). This requires time and patience.

Examples of Good Candidates for Skin Camouflage

Depigmentation from Burns
Hair Transplant Scar
Natural Hypo-pigmentation
scar color camouflage
scar color camouflage
scar color camouflage
 
 

Before Your Camouflage Procedure
The first step is to obtain a clearance from your physician (please refer to the guidelines above). Then you can make an appointment with Dr. Reed for a consultation. At the consultation she will determine if you are a candidate for scar camouflage tattooing and discuss your options. If you are a candidate, the next step will be to set an appointment for a “Spot Color Test”. Other permanent cosmetics professionals sometimes refer to this test as a “Patch Test.”

What is a Spot Color or Patch Test?
Scar and skin color camouflage is an unpredictable process. Therefore, a spot color test is the starting point for determining an appropriate combination of pigments to match the skin. In all cosmetic tattooing, including permanent makeup, the final healed color looks very different from when the pigment was initially implanted. The healed result equals the pigment color formula that was inserted under the skin plus the patient’s skin color and tones. The healed spot will indicate if that same formula can be used for the first tattooing session or if it will need to be modified.

At your spot color test appointment, Dr. Reed will analyze your skin tones. She will mix several combinations of pigments to determine what appears to be a good match. She will then tattoo at least one spot about the size of a pea using at least one “formula.” All pigments that have been used will be recorded in your chart for future reference. Although the tattooing process is brief, the mixing process can be very time consuming so you should allow at least one hour for this appointment. When finished, you must wait 4 to 8 weeks to see how the healed color will look. Your tattooing sessions can then begin after healing and color stabilization of the spot tattoo.

Example of Spot Color Test on Vitiligo Patient

Before Spot Test
Immediately After Spot Test
Healed Test Result
scar color camouflage
scar color camouflage
scar color camouflage
 
 

Corrective Camouflage Tattoo Sessions
Once the spot test has healed and the color stabilizes, the damaged skin can be tattooed. As an artist, Dr. Reed has a sharp eye for colors. If she determines that the spot formula should be adjusted, she can do so at that time. She believes that cosmetic tattooing is a “partnership” with her patients because it is a multi-step process. Therefore, she will freely ask your opinion about colors and results as she works. The results after the first tattooing session may be very good. However, due to the “unpredictable” nature of most scars and skin abnormalities, a second, third, or even fourth session may be necessary for the best outcome. Fortunately, the color formula or technique can be modified at each session to improve results. Sessions should be scheduled approximately 6 to 8 weeks apart to allow for complete healing and color stabilization.

Photo Gallery of Real Patients

Face Lift Scar Camouflage Tattoo
permanent cosmetic makeup
microdermal pigmentation
Before
After (healed)
Hypo-pigmentation (De-pigmentation) Skin Camouflage
Hypo-pigmentation (De-pigmentation) Skin Camouflage
Hypo-pigmentation (De-pigmentation) Skin Camouflage
Before
After (healed)
Cleft Lip Surgery Scar Camouflage
Cleft Lip Surgery Scar Camouflage
Cleft Lip Surgery Scar Camouflage
Before
After (healed)
Vitiligo Depigmentation Skin Camouflage
Vitiligo Depigmentation Skin Camouflage
Vitiligo Depigmentation Skin Camouflage
Before
After (healed)
Hair Transplant Donor Site Scar Camouflage
permanent cosmetic makeup
microdermal pigmentation
Before
After (healed)
Mohs Micrographic Surgery Scar Tattooing
permanent cosmetic makeup permanent cosmetic makeup
Before
After (healed)
Camouflage Tattoo of Birthmark
Camouflage Tattoo of Birthmark
Camouflage Tattoo of Birthmark
Before
After (healed)
Vitiligo Depigmentation Skin Camouflage
Vitiligo Depigmentation Skin Camouflage
Vitiligo Depigmentation Skin Camouflage
Before
After (healed)
Hair Transplant Donor Site Scar Camouflage
skin camouflage
scar camouflage
Before
After (healed)

For other medical tattooing information and photos, please click on a page link below:

  • Medical Tattooing outlines the applications and lists the conditions that can be helped with “Before” and “After” photos of actual patients.
  • Areola Repigmentation describes areola and nipple tattooing for breast reconstruction or surgery scars with “Before” and “After” photos of actual patients.
  • Wrinkle and Scar Reduction describes how wrinkles and acne scars can be reduced using the Skin Needling process with “Before” and “After” photos of actual patients.
  • Sitemap is a directory of the 25 pages in this website with links to every page.
 

 

 

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