Factors affecting cosmetic tattooing outcomes

The following is a summary of factors that you should be aware of that can have an effect on the outcome of your client’s cosmetic tattooing. More details are provided later in the course notes.

Skin Stretch – Correctly stretching the skin during a cosmetic tattoo procedure is essential. Whether you are using the digital machine, microblading, or shading, the ‘3-point stretch’ will ensure that the skin is pulled tight and will produce a crisp result. The skin if viewed under a microscope has a slight wave, therefore if you do not stretch the skin enough when implanting pigment into the skin, you will not penetrate the whole surface of the skin that you are working on.

The practical way to perform the hold and stretch technique is on a model and it will be demonstrated during your practical training

Watch the video demonstration below to perform a three point stretch



Speed The speed of your strokes must be consistent, slow and steady. If you work too quickly you may not penetrate the skin on an even level throughout the whole stroke you are creating.   

Skin Type – When microblading you will notice the difference between oily and dry skin types. Very dry skin can catch on the needle and tear. If your client has any abrasions, open skin such as a pimple or severe psoriasis on the brow area, do not work on the skin. This is for various reasons, one being that when you rub pigment onto the brow area at the end of the procedure, the pigment will hold onto any open cuts or abrasions on the skin in that area. Oily and thick skin types generally will not retain the pigment as well. Another challenging skin type is frail thin skin, especially in more mature clientele. The skin can bruise easily and if you apply too much pressure you can easily implant the pigment too deeply into the dermis of the skin, so be aware of your pressure of both your needle/blade depth on these skin types.

Refer to the next chapter ‘Skin Types’ for a more in-depth explanation. 

Skin Scarring – It can be difficult to work over a scar. The pigment implanted over the scar will not retain as well. The client will need to be informed that on any scar tissue area there will need to be more frequent refresh sessions on that particular area, i.e. every 1-3 or 3-6 months.

Hand pressure/depth – This is by far the most crucial step to learn. If you apply too little pressure you will only be working in the epidermis (outer skin layer). It may look like you’ve implanted the pigment in the skin, but when the client returns for their perfecting session there will be very little if any colour retention. If you apply too much pressure you will implant the pigment too far into the dermis, which can cause scarring and colour migration, therefore the colour will heal too ashy (grey) and your strokes will look blurred. To microblade correctly, you need to apply the pigment into the upper layer of the dermis but not further. (You will learn how to accomplish this in more detail in your practical in-salon training).

Needle Sharpness –If your blade is blunt, bent or damaged you cannot use it. Dispose of the needle/blade into your sharps container. Always check your blade under the magnifying lamp, or a handheld magnifier before commencing a procedure.

Your client’s outer tone – Your client’s “outer” tone will add colour to the final healed result of the tattoo. Higher levels of melanin in the upper part of the dermis and epidermis can have a dramatic effect on the healed pigment colour, it can sometimes hide the tattoo completely. 

High levels of melanin in the skin, above the pigment implanted, may partially or entirely cover the tattoo. This depends on how dark the skin is and the pigment the cosmetic tattoo artist decides to use. A third session will most likely be necessary. 

IMPACT OF PIGMENT PARTICLE SIZE

  • The particle sizes of cosmetic tattoo pigments and body art pigments vary, and this importantly affects the healed outcome of the healed tattoo.  This is due to the client’s immune response to the pigment being used.
  • For example, body art pigments are comprised of particles that are too large for the body’s defence cells to destroy, therefore they stay implanted into the dermis layer of the skin.
  • When a blade or needle is implanted into the skin a wound is formed during the healing stages, causing the body to send certain cells to the site of the damaged area.  These defence cells are called fibroblasts and macrophages, and their job is to swallow foreign bodies, therefore absorbing the tattoo ink/pigment. 
  • The particle sizes of cosmetic tattoo pigments are smaller and are therefore absorbed much faster by the body’s immune cells, causing the implanted pigment to fade at a faster rate, and therefore requiring more touch up / refresh sessions over time.
  • Due to the particles being so small there is a higher risk of pigment migration, where the pigment spreads outside the treated area.  

Note: In relation to laser tattoo removal, the smaller the particle size i.e cosmetic tattoo pigments, the easier it is to fragment and absorb compared to body art pigments (larger particles).

IMPACT OF PIGMENT PARTICLE SIZE

  • The particle sizes of cosmetic tattoo pigments and body art pigments vary, and this importantly affects the healed outcome of the healed tattoo.  This is due to the client’s immune response to the pigment being used.
  • For example, body art pigments are comprised of particles that are too large for the body’s defence cells to destroy, therefore they stay implanted into the dermis layer of the skin.
  • When a blade or needle is implanted into the skin a wound is formed during the healing stages, causing the body to send certain cells to the site of the damaged area.  These defence cells are called fibroblasts and macrophages, and their job is to swallow foreign bodies, therefore absorbing the tattoo ink/pigment. 
  • The particle sizes of cosmetic tattoo pigments are smaller and are therefore absorbed much faster by the body’s immune cells, causing the implanted pigment to fade at a faster rate, and therefore requiring more touch up / refresh sessions over time.
  • Due to the particles being so small there is a higher risk of pigment migration, where the pigment spreads outside the treated area.  

Note: In relation to laser tattoo removal, the smaller the particle size i.e cosmetic tattoo pigments, the easier it is to fragment and absorb compared to body art pigments (larger particles).