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Scars and Stretch Mark Tattoo


Introduction

Treatments for Scars and Stretch Marks

It’s a fact that the skin undergoes many changes and even trauma. There are many causes for the changes in our skin, including: 

  • Recreational or occupational injury;

  • Rapid weight gain in our body, e.g. moms who have given birth; weightlifters who have experienced sudden muscle growth, or fat storage (and those using Creatine);

  • Self Harm Scars;

  • Surgery (Cosmetic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Implants etc.); and

  • Vitiligo 

If you are exploring options to resolve the appearance of scars, stretch marks, or even Vitiligo, you might want to consider clinical camouflage tattoo.  Clinical camouflage tattoo is a proven long-term pigmentation procedure that blends away the appearance of scars, stretch marks or even Vitiligo, using clinically proven, custom-formulated pigments, and traditional tattoo techniques.

Clinical camouflage tattoo can be an excellent choice over masking these areas with daily makeup.  It's also a more cost effective option than costly surgery, which requires extensive travel, and even multiple trips. Given the amount of options and information it can seem difficult to determine whether camouflage tattoo is the right option for you.

If you are considering camouflage tattoo, you likely have a number of questions, including:

  • What types of camouflage tattoo are available?
  • How much does it cost to have camouflage tattoo done, and what are the upkeep costs?
  • How long will camouflage tattoo last?
  • What are the risks in having camouflage tattoo?
  • What are the alternatives to getting camouflage tattoo?

This webpage provides important facts on camouflage tattoo (e.g. paramedical tattoo) to help you be more informed, supporting you to make the right choice for your body, skin and condition of the area to be treated. Using these questions as a guide, this webpage describes the most common types of camouflage tattoo, and discusses the factors involved in choosing, scheduling, and maintaining camouflage tattoo.

Intended Audience

This webpage is intended for clients who are looking for background information on camouflage tattoo options in order to support informed decision making regarding service selection, purchasing, and maintenance.  The information provided here is general, and specific details may vary depending on your scar, stretch mark or Vitiligo, the location, overall area, and service provider.  This webpage should not replace working with an individual professional or beauty advisor, who will ensure that your camouflage tattoo experience meets your needs and desired objectives.

A Note About Cosmetic Decisions and Our Personal Health

Camouflage tattoo and cosmetic tattoo in general is an effective way to resolve an aesthetic concern, and to simplify your self-care routine.  In thinking about aesthetics in the context of your overall health and wellness, it is recommended that you factor in your state of mental well-being, as well as your body's ability to heal from an camouflage tattoo procedure when subscribing to an camouflage tattoo service.

Cosmetic products or services should never be used to mask what could be an underlying medical condition.  Please consult first with your primary physician before subscribing to any cosmetic products or aesthetic services.

What is Camouflage Tattoo, and How Does It Work?

Scar, stretch mark or Vitiligo camouflage tattoo uses a specialized technique that is nearly identical to traditional tattoo methods. Both the pigments and needle depth are very similar to common tattoo processes. The difference between camouflage and traditional tattoo is that traditional tattoo aims to create designs that stand out and contrast next to the skin, whereas camouflage tattoo aims to conceal, or even areas of the skin that stands out.

Camouflage Tattoo is a form of “paramedical tattoo”, and it is an increasingly popular alternative to surgical and invasive medical procedures.

In 2 to 3 hours and sometimes multiple sessions, an electric machine with a fine precision needle is used for the procedure. After carefully mixing a selection of custom formulated pigments mixed specifically to match your skin, small dots are rapidly deposited into the dermis.  The result: an incredibly natural and realistic continuation of your beautiful skin, masking unwanted scars, stretch marks, or Vitiligo.

Tattoo Basic Concepts

Tattoo by itself has been a technique used for thousands of years by many civilizations to embed pigments beneath the surface of the skin, for various purposes, including tribal or cultural identification, religion, personal expression, and even by some people groups as a form of medicinal practice.

How Tattoo Is Permanent

When receiving a traditional tattoo, a special machine with needles punches through the skin between 50 and 3,000 times per minute. The needles travel through the epidermis and allow the ink to seep deep into the dermis, where all the nerves, collagen fibres, blood vessels, and glands are.

Each time the needle penetrates, it causes an individual wound that sends an alert to the body’s inflammatory process. This calls the immune system to the wound site to begin repairing the skin. This process is what makes tattoos permanent.

Special cells called macrophages consume the invading material (pigments) to clean up the inflammatory mess. The macrophages travel back through the lymphatic system carrying the dye all the way back to the lymph nodes, but other macrophages get left behind in the dermis.

When the straggling macrophages get stuck behind, there is no way to dispose of the pigment and instead the dyes trapped inside of them remain visible through the skin.1

Initially, ink is deposited into the epidermis.  As the skin heals, the damaged epidermal cells are shed and then replaced by new dye-free cells, with the top outermost layer peeling off like a healing sunburn.  Complete epidermal regeneration happens in 2 to 4 weeks.

Pigments that remain stuck behind form the tattoo that is visible to the human eye. It stays with us for many years, subject to the influence of environmental factors like sun exposure and lifestyle during the healing process.

Camouflage Tattoo Basic Concepts

Camouflage tattoo is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure that embeds (in)organic pigments into the dermal layer of the skin, placed with the use of a specialized electronic tattoo machine, quickly punching through the skin many times.

Why Camouflage Tattoo Is As Permanent As Traditional Tattoo

Camouflage tattoo is intended to be a permanent to long-lasting solution. The correct technique focuses on depositing pigment deep into the dermis - just as with regular tattoo.

Recap for Camouflage Tattoo

Camouflage incorporates the use of traditional tattoo methods and skin matching pigments. Retention is expected to be lifetime, but may require regular colour touch-ups or refreshing. Retention is affected by, among other things, lifestyle, an adherence to postcare instructions.

Being a candidate for Camouflage Tattoo does not guarantee any certain outcomes, nor does it alleviate the potential for any risks. Before subscribing to any camouflage tattoo be sure to consult with a qualified provider using a consultation.

Important Terminology for Camouflage Tattoo

Here are some common terms you may come across while investigating camouflage tattoo.

Camouflage Tattoo Service

A Dermopigmentist, Paramedical Tattoo Artist is a person who performs Camouflage Tattoo, and who may have received formal, or informal training or certification.

A tattoo ink is a pigment that is combined with a carrier, and used in camouflage tattooing, and is generally considered to be permanent.

An organic pigment is the result of chemical synthesis and does not come from organic sources.

An inorganic pigment is a dye substance which does not contain carbon, except in its elementary form (carbon black – carbonate) or carbonate. They include mainly oxides, salts or silicates. They can be obtained from finely pulverized minerals or chemical synthesis. They are composed of other elements such as iron, aluminium, cobalt, or chromium.

Tattoo removal is the process through which tattoo ink is lifted or removed from within the skin. This process is sometimes performed manually with saline removal but more commonly with a laser device. Tattoo removal can be difficult, and painful.

The dermis is a layer of skin between the epidermis and tissue beneath the skin.

The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin that we can see with our eyes.

Macrophages are a type of white blood cell in our immune system that engulfs foreign substances found in the human body.

Approaches to Camouflage Tattoo

Camouflage tattoo is used for a variety of applications. Scars, stretch marks, and even Vitiligo.

When considering camouflage tattoo many clients think about how it will look, whether there is any pain, and how long it will last.

Scars

For many clients the objective is to simply blend away the appearance of scars, and to turn back the clock on skin that has undergone trauma. For this objective camouflage tattoo is a great match. Depending on whether the scars are raised it may be recommended to first treat the area with up to six microneedling sessions over several months.  Microneedling can help prepare the skin, encouraging it to appear more flat and consistent, before proceeding with Camouflage Tattoo. Having a smooth even canvas will help support your camouflage tattoo investment. Scars that are white in colour (not pink), and have healed for at least 2 years may be addressed with scar camouflage tattoo.

Stretch Marks

For some clients stretch marks are a concern. Stretch marks that are white in colour, and have settled for at least 2 years are candidates for stretch mark tattoo. In this case the skin is usually already smooth and so while microneedling may not be required before camouflage tattoo it could be recommended, depending on the smoothness of the area.

Vitiligo

Some clients may be experiencing Vitiligo (loss of pigmentation), and this condition can always change, spreading into larger or different areas of the body. Camouflage tattoo is a solution for Vitiligo, however it is important to keep in mind that the margins of Vitiligo can spread, requiring follow-up treatments to address areas of the skin where pigmentation has been lost.

Examples of Camouflage Tattoo

Before and After Photos of Camouflage Tattoo

There are great examples showing both before and after results for camouflage tattoo. For a collection of exclusive examples of work performed at IVONNE please email us to learn more.

Who Is Camouflage Tattoo For?

Camouflaging for scars, stretch marks or even Vitiligo is perfect for:

  • Anyone over 18 years of age;
  • Anyone with scars or stretch marks that have healed for at least 2 years;
  • Any colour or skin type;
  • Anyone who is not pregnant or breastfeeding

If you have Vitiligo, scars, or stretch marks that are white and have healed for at least 2 years, then you could be a camouflage tattoo candidate.

Alternatives To Camouflage Tattoo

For those who have considered surgery, skin grafting, or laser work, you may have been surprised at the time commitment involved to complete all of the sessions necessary to resolve your concerns. As well, scar revision can be expensive and often require extensive travel for preliminary and follow-up consultations.

Camouflage Tattoo is a great alternative to surgery and laser treatments due to its lower price point and more immediate results.

Ivonne Sanchez has been trained by Fernanda Jaffre of Studio Magic Ink, located in Brazil. Fernanda was a student and protege to Rodolpho Torres, who is renowned for his Brazilian camouflage tattoo techniques. Ivonne has also taken remote learning and further courses by Rodolpho Torres.

How Long Will Camouflage Tattoo Last?

Camouflage tattoo performed correctly will remain in the skin indefinitely. There are general factors that impact the retention and appearance of your camouflage tattoo, however. These include:

  • Lifestyle
  • Adherence to precare and aftercare instructions around the camouflage tattoo service
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to sun and other environmental influences
  • Genetics
  • Skincare and Skin health

Camouflage Tattoo Retention and Guarantee Guidelines

The body's natural response to foreign material, like tattoo pigments, is to remove it. This is the natural healthy response, and so camouflage tattoo professionals are always up against the unknown when it comes to how effective the body will be in response to pigments.  There are no guarantees, warranties, or assurance, express or implied on how long your camouflage tattoo may sustain its desired look - only estimations. Since camouflage tattoo is impacted by a variety of factors such as lifestyle, sun exposure, and things that are generally outside of our control there are no certainties about how long your camouflage tattoo will uphold its appearance for.

Certification, Standards, and Rating 

The Province of Ontario, through its local Public Health Units oversee camouflage tattoo as a Personal Service Setting under O. Reg 136/18. Through annual, or period inspections, Public Health officers of a local Public Health Unit will assess a Personal Service Setting for its compliance with the regulations and report its findings to the public through the mandatory display of inspection certificates, and through its online database of inspection results.

Public health units do not assess the practitioner's skill, ability, or credentials as it relates to camouflage tattoo. Instead public health inspectors ensure that the environment and related processes to deliver camouflage tattoo are safe, and in accordance with the prevailing infection prevention and control best practices.

Health Canada is responsible for overseeing the regulation of cosmetics in Canada. Through their regulations they have set out what ingredients can, and cannot be included in cosmetic products, and at what concentration levels.

Health Canada does not have an approval process for cosmetics like tattoo pigments, and does not, as an ongoing practice assess tattoo pigments for their chemical or toxic ingredient composition. Tattoo pigments are not generally approved by Health Canada, however if they contain prohibited ingredients or prohibited concentrations of ingredients then these pigments could be unsafe, and pulled from the market.

Safety Considerations

To ensure that your camouflage tattoo professional is complying with the established safety protocols and regulations it is recommended  to search the name of their business in any local Public Health Inspections database.

Where To Get Camouflage Tattoo

When choosing an camouflage tattoo professional for camouflage tattoo consider the following:

  • Am I comfortable with them? Can I communicate my expectations clearly and do we understand each other? Do we have a good rapport?
  • Am I comfortable with their work? Can I envision myself with "their" work on my body?

Other Selection Criteria

Apart from safety and inspiring results, several additional qualifying factors should be considered when choosing a camouflage tattoo professional:

  • Professional Contributions and Development: Does the professional maintain their certifications, as well as teach their skill? Through sharing their techniques with other students is the professional helping to contribute to the ongoing development of locally talented resources?
  • Review Rating: Choose a professional with recent, consistent client reviews and recommendations in an established review platform.  
  • Calibre: Choosing a camouflage tattoo professional who specializes in the service is an important distinction over those who moonlight, or perform it only occasionally. Camouflage tattoo requires an ongoing concerted effort to produce consistently great results.

Planning Your Camouflage Tattoo Service

Camouflage tattoo should always be performed by a qualified provider. Consult a local permanent makeup or skincare clinic to understand your options. You should choose a provider that is located close by so that you can access them easily for follow-up appointments, or to receive any additional skincare or aftercare support.  While out of town and fly-in clients are increasingly common we recommend choosing a professional that you can work with for years to come, and for other related services.

The cost of having camouflage tattoo depends on the area and condition of skin, pre-existing work, the quality of equipment and supplies, the experience and setting of the professional, and of course your objectives and budget.

Camouflage tattoo can be touched-up, or refreshed after several years. It's a good idea to plan your touch-up appointments in advance, and in accordance with the recommendations of your professional.

Scheduling Your Camouflage Tattoo Service

It is recommended to first request an official cost estimate request ("quote") and/or a virtual consultation with your camouflage tattoo professional before proceeding with any service. This can be done several months before scheduling your appointment.

Once you have made the decision to proceed with camouflage tattoo be sure to schedule both your appointment factoring in the precare and aftercare requirements.

During the scheduled appointment your camouflage tattoo professional will perform a final consultation where you will:

  • Review the colour and area,
  • Review and approve the colour formulation, providing feedback along the way
  • Receive the initial camouflage tattoo treatment

Your initial camouflage tattoo treatment could take up to 3 hours, and follow-up appointments may take just as long. Therefore, it's a great idea to plan your day by having a snack before your appointment and using the toilet when you arrive.

Camouflage Tattoo Precare Instructions

Thank you for choosing IVONNE as your Permanent Makeup clinic. We know that you spent a lot of time researching the best provider for you. The instructions in this booklet have been prepared specifically for clients of IVONNE who are considering or preparing for Camouflage Tattoo treatment at our clinic. The instructions below have been set out chronologically, allowing you to follow along according to the timeline in your camouflage tattoo treatment. It is strongly recommended that you read through the instructions completely at least once prior to your appointment. Following these instructions prior to your procedure will help ensure a more relaxed, comfortable, and enjoyable experience. We strongly recommend that you refer to the complete instructions that are provided to you by email in connection with our consultation and quote process.

The precare instructions for IVONNE camouflage tattoo are proprietary information, customized to our unique blend of pigments and processes, that are only available upon scheduling your camouflage tattoo appointment. You may download a copy of the IVONNE precare and aftercare instructions from the appointment confirmation email, or you may also request a copy of the IVONNE precare and aftercare instructions in advance by emailing us at reception@ivonnesanchez.com.

Follow These Important Steps Before Your Camouflage Appointment

1 Year Before Your Appointment (If Possible)

Avoid using specified products in your downloadable IVONNE Precare Guide for the 12 month period before your Camouflage Tattoo appointment.

6 Months Before Your Appointment (If Possible)

Due to the potential for unknown ingredient concentration levels please avoid using any cosmetic or skincare product specified in your downloadable IVONNE Precare Guide.

30 Days Before Your Appointment

Generally avoid the use of any service or treatment specified in the downloadable IVONNE Precare Guide within the 30 days period leading up to your camouflage tattoo appointment.

2 Weeks Before Your Appointment

Avoid those influences specified in the downloadable IVONNE Precare Guide

1 Week (7 Days Before Your Appointment)

Temporarily stop using any of the following products listed in the downloadable IVONNE Precare Guide.

48 Hours Before Your Appointment

Avoid stimulants, substances and activities as set out in your downloadable IVONNE Precare Guide.

24 Hours Before Your Appointment

If you are medications specified in your downloadable IVONNE Precare Guide, then with your doctor’s knowledge and permissions please stop taking them at least 24 hours before a camouflage tattoo procedure. (Recommended). You may then take them at the completion of the procedure.

Day of Your Appointment

Avoid any form of stimulant and be sure to bring those personal items as set out in your downloadable IVONNE Precare Guide.

 

Camouflage Tattoo Aftercare Instructions

Follow These Important Steps After Your Camouflage Tattoo Appointment

Your camouflage tattoo pigments have been applied with sterile, single-use needles or blade with clinical pigments. The quality of your results is dependent on you giving the proper care during the healing process from this point forward. A few days of simple care will make a noticeable and permanent difference!

DAY OF PROCEDURE:

The camouflage tattoo healing process requires the use of two (2) separate products to keep the area clean, support the healing process, and optimize retention.

Immediately following your camouflage tattoo procedure your camouflage tattoo specialist will apply a light layer of toner to cleanse and soothe the treated area. This toner is safe for all skin types. This toner is to be used to keep the skin clean, hydrated, and protect the skin from bacteria.

Then, for the next couple of weeks, you should be committed to taking good care of the treated area. “Good care” means protecting against exposure to sun, water, sweat, heat and touch. DO NOT interfere with area.

The First Three (3) Days

Apply the recommended amount of ice twice daily (20 minutes over each treated area) and the provided lotion three (3) times daily.

Every two hours for the next 6 hours (or as many times you see necessary):
Using the prescribed products in accordance with the instructions in the downloadable IVONNE Aftercare Guide.

After the Third (3rd) Day

Stop applying ice twice daily and instead maintain application of the lotion for the next 10 days. 

For the First Seven (7) Days 

Avoid physical exercise.

For the First Thirty (30) Days

Do not use sunscreen, sunblock, self-tanning or any substance that contains Vitamin D or that simulates the production of Vitamin D, or any substance with photosensitizing agents.

For the First  Forty (40) Days

Avoid sunbathing or direct exposure to sunlight over the treated areas. This is critically important.

Your camouflage tattoo professional may offer additional detailed aftercare instructions, depending on the area of the body, and the uniqueness of the treatment. Please be sure to follow these additional instructions.

Camouflage Tattoo Maintenance Considerations

You should take note of several important things to maintain your camouflage tattoo. Remember:

  • Find a Skincare Routine. Great skin is the best foundation for any skin-related treatment. Adopt a consistent skincare routine and tackle any skincare concerns before investing in camouflage tattoo.
  • Maintain Your Skincare Routine. Adequately protected and hydrated skin that balances any excess oil is critical to support longer-lasting camouflage tattoo.
  • Schedule Your Appointments Around Botox, Fillers, or Surgery. If you are receiving camouflage tattoo in the same area as Botox or filler then be sure to leave yourself enough space on either side of a Botox or filler service (2 weeks) and up to a month before or after any plastic surgery or eye surgery.
  • Temporarily Set Aside Exfoliants and Active Skincare. For the week before and after your camouflage tattoo avoid any skincare services or products that require the skin to undergo controlled injury and healing. Be sure to consult with the precare and aftercare instructions provided by your camouflage tattoo professional.
  • Avoid The Sun. Prevent from burning and prolonged exposure to sun around your camouflage tattoo appointment. Support your camouflage tattoo pigment retention by avoiding sun tanning/burning altogether.
  • Plan Ahead. Great camouflage tattoo professionals are often booked for months in advance. Be sure to pre-book your touch-ups and colour boosts.

How To Fix Bad Camouflage Tattoo

It might seem like a good idea to choose a lower-cost, or first-available option when scheduling camouflage tattoo. This can sometimes lead to unexpected or undesirable results. Receiving bad camouflage tattoo can be emotionally difficult, time consuming, and cost considerably more than if you had made a different choice.

If you or someone you know has recently had a bad experience with camouflage tattoo then please consider these options:

  • Immediately make contact with your camouflage professional so that they can hear your feedback, and provide you with guidance and instruction. If they are unwilling to work with you then reach out to their master trainer, or certifying body in case they can refer you to an alternative resource.
  • If your camouflage professional is no longer available, or you do not feel comfortable working with them again then you can also ask your social network for recommendations for a new provider, sending them the criteria from this webpage.
  • If several months have passed, and you are well outside of the healing period for your new camouflage tattoo consider speaking with a laser removal specialist to discuss your options.

Request A Virtual Camouflage Tattoo Consultation

Request An Official Camouflage Tattoo Cost Estimate


Footnotes

1. Claudia Aguirre, "What makes tattoos permanent?," Ted Talk, July 2014, educational video, https://www.ted.com/talks/claudia_aguirre_what_makes_tattoos_permanent