Your new client wants a treatment but her eyebrows have been microbladed on or she has a sleeve of tattoos. You must decide if it is appropriate to perform the treatment over the tattoo. What should you do to ensure an effective treatment and ensure you aren’t damaging the body art?
Tattoo Review: How They Work
When a client gets a tattoo, the body views that tattoo ink as a foreign substance and works to eliminate the tattoo, beginning on day one. The lymphatic system is busy, microscopic macrophages slowly munching away at the giant particles of ink. The ink is carried by the macrophages to the lymphatic channels and then processed through the liver and excreted from the body. That’s why the tattoo of a retired army sergeant is blurry around the edges.
How To Work With Tattooed Skin
When you are performing an esthetic treatment over a tattoo, the client is risking a faster fading of his or her tattoo. Stimulating circulation to the area brings blood to the area. Those macrophages in the blood eagerly munch away more of the ink. The tattoo is not going to fade instantly over night, but the brightness and sharpness of the tattoo will become fuzzy more quickly than if the treatment was not performed.
Now let’s talk light based treatments over tattoos. Electromagnetic energy messes with tattoos big time. Unless you are using a q-switch laser and intending to remove the tattoo, do not perform a laser treatment over a tattoo. Tattoo ink is a chromophore, another word for target. Performing a laser, IPL, or radio frequency treatment over a tattoo will leave blisters, burns, and possibly even scarring.
During the client assessment, you need to discuss the possibility that the tattoo may fade. Let the client decide which is more important, the body art or the skin care treatment. If she opts for the treatment, treat over tattoos gently. Avoid aggressive services and harsh chemicals, especially exfoliants. Your client will appreciate your care (and so will their art!)
Photo: Shutterstock Yevgeniya Lyalko
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Mary Nielsen grew up in Minnesota but calls Portland, Oregon home for the past 30 years. She is the Executive Director of Spectrum Advanced Aesthetics Institute and serves on the board of Certified Advanced Estheticians for the state of Oregon. She is a happily married grandmother who has been thrilled to be working in the never dull field of advanced esthetics for over 17 years. She spends her free time outdoors or at her sewing machine.
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