Scar & Brazilian Stretch Mark Tattoo Camouflage FAQs

Scar & Brazilian Stretch Marks Camouflage Frequently Asked Questions

 

Can I have my scar camouflaged by tattooing?

Whether you are a suitable candidate for treatment depends on the type, colour and age of the scar, as well as if you have any skin or medical conditions.

For camouflage using skin tone tattoo ink, the scar or stretch marks need to be lighter than the surrounding skin.  Stretch marks or scars cannot be dark or red.  If your scars are darker than the surrounding skin, you can still benefit from enlightening dry-needling treatment (MCA) or derma pen microneedling using serums – this will gradually soften and lighten the scar tissue,  Red stretch marks indicate the skin hasn’t finished healing yet, so they need to left alone until they go white.  If they stay red after 2 years, then you can have dry-needling to lighten and heal them.

If you have stretch marks, you may not necessarily need the use of tattoo ink. Some clients have skin tone and stretch marks that are too similar in colour for micropigmentation. The stretch marks are only visible because the scarred skin is slightly lower than the normal skin. In this scenario we would perform dry tattooing or micro needling treatments instead. This involves the same steps as a regular treatment, but without the use of any ink colours. The skin on the scars are carefully damaged just enough to induce the healing process which stimulates collagen and elastin production. The scars will soften. When fully healed, the scars will no longer be as deep as they were before, meaning they will be less noticeable.

Please note that stretch mark tattoo ink camouflage and micro-needling / dry tattooing are 2 different treatments which require different techniques and different needles.

Some clients will need to have micro-needling done first, before progressing to tattoo ink. This is to relax the skin and scar and promote some healing. Usually 2-3 micro-needling sessions will be needed first. You will be advised if you should have micro-needling first.

There are certain conditions under which we can not treat someone, such as if they are pregnant, or have a bleeding disorder, amongst several things. We would discuss this with you prior to treatment to see if you are suitable.

 

What is stretch mark camouflaging?

The Brazilian stretch mark camouflage tattoo procedure is a form of micropigmentation. Pigments are inserted into the deeper layers of skin to correct the colour of the stretch marks and blend with the surrounding natural skin colour. By colour matching and mixing specially formulated pigments with mixing agents, the appearance of stretch marks are reduced.

This technique is intended to create a pigment illusion, so the stretch marks are less noticeable. Please note that this treatment cannot remove stretch marks but the process of needling itself can help improve and soften them, as it stimulates collagen and elastin production and then the ink of course disguises them further.

Brazilian Stretch Mark / Scar camouflage was created by Rodolpho Torres, a tattoo artist from Brazil, who created the ink blending and application technique. We have been trained by Rodolpho himself, as the first clinic to offer this treatment and training in the UK.

 

How does the procedure work?

Skin tone ink is mixed to match the clients skin tone, together with mixing solution (which also helps prevent colour change). A small patch test is performed on the site to see how well the ink takes. If this result is satisfactory, then a full session will be booked. The ink is essentially tattooed on the skin like a regular tattoo, using a shading technique. This ink is inserted in the top layers of the skin.

 

What are the normal steps to treatment?

The diagram below shows the usual steps to treatment for the best possible results – you need to be patient!

stretch mark treatment process

How long does the treatment take?

It can take anywhere from 2-5 hours depending on the size of the area being treated. Obviously if more than one area is being treated in the same visit, then this will be longer. Also note than large areas of ink pigmentation can’t be done on a single visit, since it will be too much ink doing in to your body in one go and you could feel unwell afterwards.  For multiple areas, you will have to book separate appointments, unless the areas are small.  On receiving photos of the area to be treated, we can let you know the treatment time. Please note that colour matching your skin tone and mixing the pigments can take up to 40 minutes before your treatment and it is so important you are patient during this very important process. Feel free to amuse yourself on your phone or read whilst this is done. We will require you to work with us on agreeing the final colour to be used.

 

What if my stretch marks formed recently?

This is a very popular question we get asked regarding stretch marks and tattoos is if it is ok to tattoo on recently formed stretch marks.

Raised stretch marks, or those that are red or purple, are more difficult for the artist compared to stretch marks that are older and more faded. Newer stretch marks are often more sensitive, and the artist must take special care when working on them – for this reason we will only treat stretch marks that are at least 12 months old for just needling, or 2 years old for inking.

Newer stretch marks that are raised and not faded yet can be more noticeable even through the tattoo ink. When tattooing over raised skin texture, the artist will have to select colours and placement which will act as a camouflage for the area and it may not be as effective when the scar is at this stage. It does take skill and knowledge to get this right, so it’s very important to find a technician that you know and trust to work on stretch marks. You need to let the stretch marks settle and fade to a white colour before having treatment. Sometimes the newer red / purple stretch marks will start to disappear on their own as the body heals itself.  Dry-needling or microneedling is recommended on newer stretch marks.  Shiny stretch marks also need to be needled first.

 

Is the treatment safe?

The short answer is yes but you need to consider some factors. The artist you use, and their experience is of key importance. Aside from experience, proper training and artistic ability, make sure the premises follow government guidelines regarding sanitation. Ink Illusions staff are trained in Infection Control, all equipment and furniture are sterilised after each client and fresh, sterile needles are used for each client. Inks and needles are high quality, purchased from the renowned Killer Ink supplier. Aftercare you perform once the work is finished is of utmost importance to avoid infection, which can lead to scarring and other complications. Tattooing over any scar tissue poses a greater risk to the finished work than a regular tattoo on undamaged skin.  Our pigments contain some traces of metal such as Chromium or Titanium Dioxide which are proven to be safe in the skin.  If you have any known allergies to these metals, we will not be able to carry out the treatment.  If you have to have any MRI / X Rays on the treated areas in the future, you must let the physician know about the ink in your skin.

 

Tell me more about Titanium Dioxide ?

Titanium Dioxide is an organic pigment used to lighten colours – it reflects light and is seen as white.  The particle sizes of Titanium Dioxide are the largest of all pigment sizes.  For this reason, this is the last colour to fade, because your body is not able to break down the particles as fast as smaller pigments.  Therefore, over the years, your stretch mark tattoo will fade and lighten and may appear whiter over time.  This can be corrected at a later stage if it is required.  This Brazilian technique treatment has not been around in a more main stream capacity for more than 3 years, so long terms results using new techniques and newer pigments is not documented.  However, the Brazilian techniques uses dilutions so the ink in the skin isn’t thick and saturated, so will fade more naturally.  Also note, that traditional skin camouflage techniques in a medical capacity have been around a lot longer – if any inks used to camouflage the skin are fleshy coloured, then they too contain Titanium Dioxide – the particle size of titanium dioxide CANNOT be any smaller in semi-permanent micropigmentation ink compared to permanent ink!  There is not much controversy over medical skin camouflage when it is essentially the same thing!  You will also see that lips, eyebrows etc change colour very quickly after tattooing.  This is because the pigments in semi-permanent micropigmentation inks are smaller, built not to last as long, but the titanium dioxides and iron oxides last longer than the original colour, not matter what.  Permanent inks with larger overall pigment sizes means that the colour that was inserted will stay true longer as other pigment colours will not fade as fast.  Of course, if a client wants a semi-permanent result then they can opt for semi-permanent ink, although you will find that semi-permanent inks are rarely semi-permanent and some remaining colour will be left in the skin for years after.  Anyone undertaking any type of skin tattoo treatment needs to understand this.

 

Do I need a patch test?

Absolutely. We will send you a patch test out in the post before you appointment.

 

How long do the results last?

Stretch mark camouflage is a penetrative skin treatment with permanent results. This means that the results last indefinitely, provided that the correct after care procedures are adhered to. As with any tattoo ink, this will fade slowly over time, but the inks we use should not change colour. The longevity of results varies greatly depending on many factors such as a person’s immune system, sun exposure, products used on the skin, and adhering to the aftercare whilst the treatment is healing. On average the results can last anywhere from 2 years to 7 years and touch ups are available.  We cannot predict how your skin will deal with the ink and how quickly it will fade, so we can only advise on averages. The pigment doesn’t last as long as a traditional tattoo due to the dilutions required for natural results.

 

Does it hurt?

The needles penetrate the skin so you will feel a scratching feeling and some discomfort. We recommend taking some paracetamol before your treatment if you have a low pain threshold. Please do NOT take aspirin as this will affect blood clotting at the treatment site. We do not use numbing cream as this interferes with the skin texture and ink insertion during treatment and can affect the results.

 

What do I need to do to prepare?

We recommend you have a good scrub of the area that will be treated to remove dead skin cells. Also please avoid alcohol and caffeine for 24 hours before and 24 hours after treatment. In the run up to treatment, please moisturise or oil your skin so it is in good condition. Dry, flaky skin will not take the ink well and the results will not be as good. On the day of the treatment, do not use any lotions or oils on the area you want treated as this can interfere with the ink placement. Make sure you eat before your appointment as this will help with pain thresholds and feeling well for treatment. Buy a cold compress ready for your aftercare when you get home (you can use a bag of peas from the freezer too!). You will also need Aquaphor or Coconut oil to use for your aftercare.

 

How will it look immediately after treatment?

There will be redness and swelling in the area which is normal. You need to use a cold compress to take the swelling down. This will subside over the coming days and weeks and will scab over whilst healing.

 

Is there any downtime?

You will be swollen and red so may feel a little discomfort after the procedure. You can go back to work, however.  Do not do any strenuous exercise causing sweating or rubbing on the area for 7 days.

 

What aftercare do I need to do?

You need to avoid sunbeds (preferably indefinitely), saunas for a week, exercise for 1 week, no swimming for 2 weeks, and if going out the in the sun, use an SPF of 40+. You will need to avoid showering on the area treated for 24 hours. The area will scab as it starts to heal – do not scratch it if it itches! This is SO important. If you scratch it and you bleed, not only will you lose some pigment, but you may cause scarring. Only use Aquaphor lotion recommended.

 

How long before I see the final result?

The results are not immediate, but you may notice a difference depending on your original skin tone / stretch mark contrast. Expect to leave red and swollen. The final result will show after the skin has completely healed which is normally 60 days. If you suffer from hyperpigmentation, you are looking at a longer heal time, up to 90 days. Taking care of the treated area will help produce better results also. Your treatment area will scab like any regular tattoo treatment and it is important to leave your skin alone during this process to avoid any scarring.

 

How many sessions will I need?

The number of treatments depends on the condition of the skin and the area that needs to be covered. It also depends on following the aftercare advice. For stretch marks the average is usually 2 sessions. For other scar types the average is 2-4 sessions. It is very difficult to know how many treatments will be needed, as you cannot tell how deep the stretch mark is in the skin, or how well your skin will retain the ink. There are no guarantees that this treatment will work on everyone, although it is very rare for it not to work. Following the aftercare is extremely important for the best chance of a successful result.  Body healing response plays a big part in the final result, which is out of our control.

 

Can I have the treatment if I have used a sunbed or have a tan?

No! We need to match the ink to only your natural skin tone and require that our clients postpone their treatment until their tan has faded. This ensures that we are able to custom blend an ink pigment colour that will look most natural whether you are tanned or not tanned.

 

Is this treatment ok for all skin types?

Generally, yes.  If the stretch marks are lighter than the surrounding skin, then it doesn’t matter what skin tone you are. We can treat skin types I-IV on the Fitzpatrick scale. The only thing to consider is the risk of keloid scarring which is more prominent in darker skin types. If you suffer from keloid scarring, then this procedure is not right for you.  If you have dry, flaky skin, the ink will not hold well in all areas. If you have very light skin, it is difficult to match colour since your skin is almost translucent so the ink is likely to be visible in the skin.  MCA dry needling is recommended and possibly a colour wash only.  On darker skin types prone to hyperpigmentation, there is a risk the treated areas will be darker than the surrounding skin for a long time after treatment.  Colour match tests can determine whether full treatment is suitable.

 

What is the cost of stretch marks or scar camouflage?

The cost varies depending on the size of the area being treated, the location of the clinic and the experience of the technician. We request a photo is sent to info@ink-illusion.com for a price to be given together with treatment advice. As a rough guide, to treat stretch marks on the thighs starts from around £300 per session depending on the severity and size of the area. Normally 2 sessions are required, spaced out with 6-12 weeks in between treatments.

 

What tattoo inks do you use?

We use a range of quality assured inks from the USA, Brazil and the UK which have proven results on scars and stretch marks. Inks contain some metals which would be explained to you during your consultation. These are completely safe. Please note that Organic inks (which are often used with permanent makeup) are not used for this procedure, as they are prone to change colour over time and the coverage and intensity is not as good as inorganic inks.

 

Can I have treatment if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

As the treatment penetrates the skin, we are unable to treat women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. We look forward to treating you once you have given birth and stopped breast feeding!

 

What happens if I get a suntan?

We advise that you do not sun bathe for at least 90 days after the treatment. For best long term results we recommend that you apply a high protection SPF to the area treated prior to any sun exposure. The treated area will remain the same tone as the pigments that were applied. Therefore if your natural skin darkens with a tan, you would see a slight variance between your natural skin and treated area. However as we blend multiple tones of pigment using our unique blending technique, the variance is minimal and much less noticeable than the colour of the stretch marks before the treatment was done.  The sun may fade the which is why we recommend using a high SPF, but sunlight will not change the pigment colours that we use.

 

How can I train to be a scar & Brazilian stretch marks tattoo camouflage artist?

Ink Illusions offers group training as well as one-to-one training, either at your premises, or at one of our locations in London or Hertfordshire. Read more at www.ink-illusion.com/training

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