Are My Options?
Color options include
a broad range of natural-looking colors. Generally all colors of
the rainbow are possible, however, most patients wish to have a normal
darker flesh color which enhances the breast. You may either wish
to match the already existing color of your areolae, or darken it
further with a deeper hue. This is an important decision so please
think this over thoroughly. It is often wise to choose a color too
light than too dark.
guns, there are many
models of pens and guns, some cordless, some not, some very
expensive and still others that are very basic. Technicians can be very
skilled, taking a course to train with professionals and some
just buying videos and manikin kits to practice on before the receive real
clients. So please ascertain that your technician in both highly skilled and
Are The Risks & Complications Of This Procedure?
Allergic reactions to the anesthetics, if offered, and pigments are possible. You may request a skin patch
test in an inconspicuous area prior to having a procedure performed. Some technicians are
very routine about patch testing and perform them on everyone. Regardless, you should
understand that an allergic reaction could occur at any time.
If you are prone to
Keloids or hypertrophic scarring you may develop scar tissue at the
treatment site. Please think this over if you are prone to
such. Infection can also be an issue.
may be an issue whether or not you chose your technician carefully.
Either by differences in opinion, or a change of heart. Pigments
may fade or bleed overtime depending upon your body and sun exposure.
Should Perform This Procedure?
As with a plastic surgeon, ask for the technician's background.
How long have they been performing micropigmentation? How many
procedures have they performed? Ask to see their certificates
of training and their tattoo license if required by your state.
Also ask to see any continued education certificates from say seminars
and conferences or specialty courses. As with Cosmetic Surgery,
this field is continually changing. Newer techniques are
discovered. A dermagraphics technician should always be on the
look out for additional training in their field. If the technician
is new ask how many hours of training they have had. Some attend
only a one or two day (no more than 16 hours) course and I would
certainly advise against that technician. Unless of course they
have been performing applications for at least a year, with a steady
flow of clients. The average course is five days (or 40 hours) but
there are longer courses. Unfortunately, since there is no
industry standard, and there should be, a technician can learn from a
video course after practicing on her manikin kit he or she can buy with
the kit and possibly practice on herself or friends then go straight to your
body. So obviously, skill counts.
the technician's portfolio (recent photos of their work).
Ask them point blank if it is indeed their own work/clients as there
are circulated photos used all over. Ask if you may speak to
any of her clients personally, like a referral list. Determine if
this technician's work reflects your own cosmetic style.
work reflect a soft technique?
Is he or
she open to your wishes?
like the colors that the technician has to offer?
types of anesthetics are available? Topical? Injectable?
A injection should be performed by a nurse not a technician with
only a week long course in dermagraphics. Some technicians
advise to go to your dentist (or theirs) for a injection of
lidocaine. Be advised that Marcaine is available on the
internet, with no license required. Anyone can purchase the
topicals and Marcaine injectable so take care when choosing your
choose a technician that has been in the dermagraphics industry for many
years to perform your application.
The same approach should be used toward any re-pigmentation or scar
camouflaging techniques. Most scars are actually quite thicker
that unblemished skin and the pigment may look entirely different than
what is desired. Thicker skin tattoos differently, as well.
The color chosen is very important
as your color will be viewed through your skin tone. For instance,
a rosy color will look slightly different on a client with yellowish undertones
than those who have peach undertones. Discuss this with your technician
or tattoo artist.
Where Should This Procedure Be Performed?
You should only have
your procedure performed in a clean and professional environment and
only by a licensed tattoo artist. This does not include someone's
home, a hotel or in an unclean work area in general. Although laws
vary from state to state and city to city, all tattoo artists of any
kind must have
a valid license displayed at all times. You may check the validity
of this license with the Department Of Health Regulation or Commissioner
of Health for your state.
Should I Expect At My Pre-operative Consultation?
consultations are designed as meetings with the dermagraphics technician
so that you are
able to evaluate what they have to offer, their preferred technique,
before and after photos, anesthetic preferences and other
protocol. This is a very important step in the treatment process as
this is how you will ultimately choose who to choose to perform your
discuss fees, including the price of touch-up treatments, training,
experience and other pertinent information. Do not be afraid to
ask anything which may concern you.
Are The Average Costs Of This Procedure?
The approximate costs of
micropigmentation can vary significantly due to region and technician,
and the amount of work necessary. The
average prices for areola repigmentation are between $200. and
$800. Although many regular tattoo artists are able to do the work
at far less of an expense.
Do I Prepare My Body For This Procedure?
At your consultation
you may receive instructions on what not to take and how to prepare your body for your procedure as
well as how to care for yourself after the procedure.
instructions include cessation of all aspirin or vitamin E-containing
products and supplements, alcohol
consumption, and recreational drug use. Bleeding may become an
issue during your procedure should you continue to
consume aspirin, large doses of vitamin E, alcohol, recreational and some prescription
drugs and supplements. Should
excessive bleeding occur, your technician may have to stop your
Although many vitamins and
supplements can be harmful before and after a procedure, there are also
helpful vitamins and supplements recommended to stimulate healing.
These may include Alpha Lipoic Acid, Arnica Montana, Vitamin A, Vitamin
B Complex, Bromelain, Copper, Vitamin C or Vitamin C Ester,
Chromium polynicotinate, VItamin D3, Folic Acid, L-Carnitine, L-glutathione,
MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane), N-acetyl-L-cysteine, Niacin, Selenium,
taurine, Thiamine and Zinc. Please see our Helpful
Vitamins & Supplements section.
discuss the desired areolae size right before your procedure. The
areolae size can be drawn on beforehand to determine an aesthetically
pleasing size. You may wish to start small and work your way
larger, should you change your mind. Tattoo removal is a long and
painful process so be sure before you commit.
Is This Procedure Performed?
Prior to getting
the technician puts on a pair of latex gloves or other types if you or
he/she has a latex allergy and inspects your skin to make sure you have
no cuts, scrapes or other types of broken skin. The area is either
swabbed with alcohol or sprayed with an antiseptic solution or
both and the technician shaves the area of any and all hair with a
disposable razor. The razors and towels used for wiping your
bodily fluids should also be disposed of in the same type of
Then, the technician
transfers a stencil of the tattoo or draws on the desired shape onto your skin.
You are then asked to verify
the placement, position and so forth of the design. If everything is
satisfactory, a thin layer
of petroleum jelly, or other ointment, is spread over the area to be
modern tattoo is applied by using a small electric device (a
traditional gun, rotary pen, machine coil, Softap™) with
a needle bar that holds from 1 to 14 needles, each in its own little
tube, to implant liquid, colored pigments.
The tattooing device
basically works like a miniature sewing machine: the needle bar moves up
and down really fast, forcing the needles into the superficial
(epidermis) and middle layer (dermis) of the skin, implanting whatever
colored pigment the technician dips the tip into. The technician holds
the machine with a steady hand while guiding it along the skin. The
speed and power is controlled by a foot switch or pedal, much like a
The needles penetrate the
skin only a couple of millimeters as the tubes restrict the needles from
penetrating any deeper. Each needle has its own separate tube. This feature
permits the needle bar shaft to operate smoothly without damaging
the needles. A single needle (sometimes a micro-needle) is used to make
a very fine, delicate line. A row of needles (from 4 up to 36) is used
for shading and more dense fill-ins, often used in areolae
repigmentation. From experience
with traditional tattoos, I'd like to add that although it seems like
the shading would hurt far worse (because of the multiple needles) is
quite the opposite. Outlining is by far the most
uncomfortable. However, if you will be receiving a topical
anesthetic, you may not feel much discomfort.
The end of the needle tube
is dipped in a small amount of ink. The technician guides the machine
over the skin and the needle(s) move up and down, penetrating the skin,
implanting the pigment. Excess pigment and blood, or other bodily
fluids, ooze out from the puncture wounds and the technician wipes them
off with an absorbent disposable towel, repeatedly. This enables the
technician to better see what he or she is doing.
The level of pain really depends on the individual. Some people's pain
threshold (or tolerance) is high while others are quite low. The level
of pain also depends on the tattoo site. Areola tattooing can be
completed in about 45 minutes to an hour and a half. If you are having more
than one area/procedure it may take a few hours or maybe another sitting
(this means you come back at another time).
technician has completed your tattoo is sprayed with water
and antiseptic and wiped off. A layer of Bacitracin is applied over the
tattoo and you are instructed to wash it no more than twice a day with
mild soap and water and apply a lotion like Lubriderm or Bacitracin as needed (no
Vaseline!). Your technician may then apply a non-stick
gauze pad over the site and instruct you to remove it that night (leaving
it on no
more than 12 hours).
Should I Expect During My Recovery?
You will be asked to wash the
treatment area gently with mild soap
and apply Lubriderm, Bacitracin or whatever topical your technician has advised, as needed. Do not apply more gauze to the area, leave
it exposed to the air so that it can begin to heal but keep the area moist until the
healing is complete. It takes about a week (usually seven to ten days) for a tattoo to
heal. Until then, you should not apply cosmetics over the area and NO
PEROXIDE. If you apply peroxide, you will bubble the healing skin and ink away. No peeling
the skin or itching of the area
it flakes, let it flake. If you peel the skin off, you will pull pigment right out of the tattoo resulting in
splotchiness and the need for more touch-ups.
Do not expose your
new tattooed areolae to direct sunlight for at least two weeks.
If you do, you may
get sunburn or changes in pigment (i.e. color fade). Use sunscreen like
it's going out of style. Do not go swimming, hot-tubbing or soak
the treatment area in the bath. That goes for fresh, salt
or chlorinated water. This could cause pigment fade as well cause
always apply sun block if you expose your tattoo to sunlight (this means artificial sunlight, too). Indoor
tanning machines will fade
your tattoo as well.
Your areaolae will feel tender and
you may be a little sore. This can be relieved with Tylenol.
not peel any flaking skin as this can cause an infection from bacteria
being introduced by your hands. This can also cause irregular pigmentation,
scarring and fading.
hours you will remove your bandage and gently wash the area with mild
soap and water. You should keep
the area moisturized with your instructed lotion or topical.
You may notice sensations
such as sharp pains, tingling, tickling, intermittent throbbing and
other sensations during the course of your recovery. Know your
body, although these are usually normal, anything intolerable could be a
The discomfort should be less and you may notice dryness and
peeling. Do not peel the skin off, let it flake
naturally. You should keep the area moisturized with your instructed
lotion or topical.
Day 3 - 5
Flaking will get worse before it gets better. You should feel
very little to no discomfort. Although this depends upon the
patient. Continue to keep the area moisturized with your instructed
lotion or topical.
Day 7 - 10
Healing should be almost complete. Continue to keep the area
moisturized with your instructed lotion or topical until there is no
more dryness and peeling.
Healing should be complete. Continue to keep the area
moisturized with your instructed lotion or topical until there is no
more dryness and peeling.
If you need touch-ups, you may be instructed to return for another
If you are prone to
keloids and hypertrophic scarring, you may experience these
problems. If so, silicone sheeting and/or emu oil may be an option
for you once broken skin is not apparent.
Else I Should Know?
Touch-ups are often
included, inquire as to the price of each touch-up. Be advised
that more than 3 touchups are hardly ever needed. If they are,
inquire as to why this is. Even in regular tattoos, touch ups are
less than 3 for smalla reas.
photo credit: Janette
Archer - Long Beach,
Can I Read More About This Procedure?
American Institute of
Permanent Color Technology
Academy Of Micropigmentation
Society of Permanent
Make-up by Janette Archer - Long Beach
Permanent Makeup Services by Yolanda Moore
(Updated on 02/25/10)
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