Dermopigmentation: The Keys to Cosmetic Tattooing
The dermopigmentación is a cosmetic technique also known as micropigmentación, permanent makeup or cosmetic tattooing.
It is based on the application of pigments in the epidermis and the superficial dermis, using very thin needles. It is used to enhance or correct facial features and soften the appearance of various aesthetic alterations.
It is commonly presented as the most viable alternative for women who do not want to waste time applying makeup and want to have a natural appearance but with the basic touch-ups on the face.
Cosmetic tattoo uses natural pigments of vegetable origin, completely hypoallergenic. Unlike conventional tattoos, the cosmetic tattoo is not permanent since the dye placed on the skin is not strong and lasts a maximum of 2 years.
Regions where the cosmetic tattoo is applied
Eyebrow tattoo : the hair-by-hair technique is used to simulate eyebrows where hair no longer grows. It is also used to fill, visually increase volume and lengthen the eyebrows.
Lip tattoo : it is the most used technique to correct asymmetries in the mouth, as well as dyschromia. A soft outline is made on the corner of the mouth, which gives the lips thickness and at the same time gives the feeling that they are larger.
Basically micropigmentation of the lips enhances the volume of the mouth, improves its shape and reconstructs or defines the edges.
Eyeliner tattoo : the eyelid micropigmentation technique can be performed in different ways: to give light to the eyes with light pigments on the upper eyelid, and to give depth with darker shades on the crease of the eye.
It also allows an eyeliner to be made on the base of the eyelashes, simulating cosmetic eyeliner.
To cover scars : the aim is to minimize the appearance of the scar by applying pigments of the natural color of the skin to hide the difference in tones.
Areola tattoo : dermopigmentation is used to simulate mammary areolas in breasts that have undergone surgery.
Alopecia : micropigmentation of the scalp is used to give a sensation of a greater amount of hair in sparsely populated areas, it allows to achieve a natural appearance.
Polka dots : allows you to draw moles where the patient wishes, or to enhance the colour of the ones you already have.
Burned skin : dermopigmentation is used to correct alterations in skin tone in areas that have suffered a burn in the past.
Vitiligo : The cosmetic tattoo successfully camouflages the regions depigmented by vitiligo, which greatly enhances the patient’s self-esteem.
How is dermopigmentation performed?
To apply the pigments to the skin, a dermograph is used, which by means of needles and a back and forth movement, deposits the selected colour.
The choice of colour is personalised since in almost all cases it is necessary to mix and match different shades to obtain the desired one.
In the first session, a colour test should be done, applying a small portion of pigment to an inconspicuous area of the patient’s body. After about 7 to 15 days it is necessary to verify that the tone obtained is the desired one.
In the second session, the cosmetic tattoo is carried out, and the first step is to design the region to be tattooed so that the patient can verify if it agrees with the shape and colour.
Topical anaesthesia is applied to minimise discomfort, although the pain depends on the area to be treated and the resistance of the patient.
The duration of the sessions is variable, it can go from 30 to 90 minutes depending on the extension of the surface to be treated or the complexity of the work to be carried out. For example, the eyebrows have a little extension, but it is necessary to draw hair by hair, so it takes a long time.
The elements used in dermopigmentation
A dermograph is used that has a motor that sends back and forth movements to the tip where the needles are.
Depending on the equipment, the needles can have a diameter ranging from 0.25 to 1.75 mm, and heads for 1, 3, 5 and 8 needles can be used depending on the work to be done.
It is extremely important that the needle does not penetrate the tissue more than 1.6 mm during dermopigmentation, thus preventing it from becoming a permanent tattoo.
It is recommended that the selected pigments have particles with a size greater than 6 microns, in this way the macrophages will not be able to ingest them easily and therefore the duration of the work will be longer.
How long does dermopigmentation last?
The cosmetic tattoo has a duration that goes from 3 to 5 years, but this is subject to the type of skin, the area in which it was applied and the care provided (use of constant sun protection).
In the same way, the patient must bear in mind that a month after the dermopigmentation has been performed, a touch-up is necessary to finish fixing the colour.
In case the person does not feel comfortable with the result, laser treatments can be used to eliminate pigments, but it depends a lot on the area where it was applied.
Phases of the evolution of dermopigmentation
The treated skin goes through 4 stages:
Inflammation : after applying the pigment, a slight secondary inflammation is perceived as a result of the repeated penetration of the needles to deposit the colour. It is at this stage that vascular permeability is generated, serous exudate with increased migration of leukocytes and macrophages. Small particles of free pigment can be seen in the epidermis and dermis.
Beginning of healing : It is in this phase that macrophages begin to ingest pigment particles. A superficial crust forms on the treated area, which can give the impression that the pigment is darker, but when the tone falls, it returns to normal.
Repair of the epidermis : after about 10 days of the session, the process of repair of the epidermis begins, the remodeling of the collagen of the dermis and the redistribution of the pigment particles. The granules that were deposited within the upper layers of the epidermis due to cell renewal are eliminated. It is in this phase that there is a decrease in colour due to the loss of the scab and the natural elimination of the pigments deposited in the first layers of the epidermis.
Total repair of the dermis : from the third week after the session, the pigment particles are distributed among the collagen fibers and around the capillaries of the dermis. The granules that remain near the hair follicles are eliminated by sebaceous secretion, which results in loss of colour at the hair margins. The colour stabilises, and it is then that the necessary touch-ups can be made.
Pre dermopigmentation recommendations
In case of having a history of herpes in the area to be treated, always notify the specialist.
Do not drink alcohol or take aspirin for 24 hours prior to treatment.
Do not ingest vasodilator substances to avoid excessive bleeding in the area.
Do not eat food with an allergen or sensitising potential for 2 or three days prior to the session to minimise the risk of skin reactions.
Post dermopigmentation recommendations
Do not touch the treated region.
Always keep the area dry.
Apply petroleum jelly several times a day and do not wear makeup for a week.
Do not expose yourself to the sun and use sunscreen day and night for a month to prevent the alteration of pigments.
Do not apply any type of cosmetics without the prior authorisation of the specialist.
Contraindications of dermopigmentation
Although it is a very simple technique, it does carry certain considerations. It should not be applied in case of:
People with diabetes.
Patients with coagulation disorders.
People with active herpes in the region to be treated.
History or evidence of keloids.
Patients with psychiatric disorders.
Basic rules of dermopigmentation:
Never mix more than 2 colours.
It always tends to the lightest colour, it is easy to darken but cannot be lightened.
Never rinse with a beige tone.
It is not advisable to use pure black in blepharo-pigmentation.
Always perform an allergy test on your patient even though the pigments are hypoallergenic.
Do not use too bright colours, the essence of this technique is to highlight the naturalness of the face without noticing the cosmetic intervention.
Always design before proceeding to pigment the skin to ensure the best results and that the patient agrees.
If you are thinking of including the dermopigmentation service in your cabinet, do not hesitate, it is a great work tool that can add a good number of clients.
But you must bear in mind that although it is not a tattoo for life, it is necessary to have skill and expertise when applying it because it has a long duration, which is why you must specialise in endorsed institutes that ensure adequate training.