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|Dermagraphics - Semi permanent make-up|
Semi-permanent colouring of the skin
Dermagraphics, often referred to as micropigmentation, is a specialist technique similar to tattooing used to create a semi-permanent appearance of make-up. It can be used to correct discoloured skin or simply as a cosmetic enhancement.
There are few cosmetic procedures with origins as far as back as dermagraphics, which can be traced back to the ice age! Then, rudimentary colouring was put into the skin using crude tools. Cleopatra famously embellished herself with permanent makeup in ancient Egypt, whilst elaborate full-body tattooing was considered desirable in ancient Japanese culture. The procedure took a leap forward in 1880 when the first electronic tattooing machine was invented. Dr. Crowell Beard, an American, is credited with being the first to use a tattoo as a substitute for lost eyelashes. For a long time after that, permanent make-up was considered something to keep quiet about, probably due to the (then) social unacceptability of tattoos on women. Now, however, it is accepted as a valuable part of any woman’s beauty regime.
Is dermagraphics right for you?
Micropigmentation puts semi-permanent pigmentation into specific points on the skin. As the process is very similar to a tattoo, it is essential that you are absolutely certain that you want the treatment. You should also bear in mind that some people have an allergic reaction to the colouring. It is wise, therefore, to have a small test carried out on a concealed part of the body before treatment. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are advised to postpone treatment, and problems can occur for anyone with skin or blood disorders, such as lupus, herpes or diabetes. Your suitability for surgery and your individual pre-op preparation will be discussed during your initial consultation with the practitioner.
The variety of people undergoing dermagraphics is remarkably widespread. Patients have sought the technique for ‘colouring in’ patches of missing eyebrows, blending in a scar with the surrounding tissue, creating the illusion of an areola around a nipple following re-constructive breast surgery, Vitiligo (uneven pigmentation) or they may have physical limitations that make applying temporary makeup difficult. One dermagraphics patient commented after her treatment, “For years I had struggled with an allergy to make up. My face would swell, especially if I used it around my eyes, and I would look terrible. So I had an eye-liner and lipstick ‘tattoo’. Now I look like I’m wearing perfectly applied make up, but without the allergic reaction.”
The dermagraphics procedure
Depending on the area being treated, an anaesthetic cream may be applied before the procedure commences. A special pencil will be used to mark out the area to receive the colour. The pigment is then placed into the skin using an electric-powered fine needle. The needle enters the skin at very high speed and penetrates a few millimetres, leaving the pigment just below the surface. Depending on the amount of skin being treated, the procedure could take anything up to 2 hours.
Many patients opt to receive more than one procedure during the same treatment session. However, if the skin exhibits excessive swelling during the first procedure, the practitioner will postpone the next procedure for at least a day or so.
Recovery time is negligible, with just some minor exfoliation taking place soon after treatment. “After having a dermagraphic procedure to camouflage my scarring – the result of a car accident 10 years ago – the area treated looked darker than my normal skin, almost burnt looking,” said one patient. “However, the colour became paler over the next couple of days and now the scarring blends in perfectly with the surrounding skin.”
The effect of dermagraphics is long-lasting but not permanent. The appearance will fade with time, so follow-up treatments are advised to maintain the optimum appearance. The length of time before a follow-up appointment becomes necessary depends on each individuals’ age, skin type and lifestyle.
For the first few days immediately after treatment it is advisable to avoid direct sunlight, swimming and conventional make up. As with all cosmetic procedures, it is essential to follow the advice of your practitioner after the procedure. This will make the outcome as successful as possible and reduce the risk of complications
Choosing a practitioner to carry out dermagraphics
As with any procedure of this nature there are potential risks associated with it. It is wise, therefore, to ask for references and do your homework to find a micropigmentation specialist with the relevant experience to minimise the risk of complications.
The cost of the procedure varies with the treatment being performed. As a guide, prices range from around £75 to re-colour a beauty spot, to £1,300 to add colour to both lips.
If dermagraphics is something that you are considering, you can discuss all of the issues mentioned here in greater depth during a consultation with an experienced practitioner.
Have your say!
If you've had experience with this procedure then why not leave a comment below and share your thoughts and advice with our readers.