Microblading, and or Ombré Brows, is in fact a form of body art/tattooing! By definition, a tattoo occurs when pigment (ink) is implanted into the skin. Although the techniques & tools used in Microblading/Ombre Brows differ from that of a traditional tattoo, the common ground at the end of the day is that ink is being implanted into the skin. Microblading/Ombre Brows both fall into the category of PMU - and if you aren’t familiar with this acronym, PMU stands for “Permanent Makeup”.
In order to understand why PMU is considered a tattoo, it is important to have a general understanding of the skin - the largest organ of the human body.
There are 3 main layers to the skin - the dermis, epidermis, and hypodermis.
The epidermis is the top layer of the skin that we can see, feel, and touch. This layer of the skin consistently sheds and regenerates new skin cells, making new skin every month. This layer of the skin is the thinnest layer of the skin.
The dermis is the middle layer of the skin and makes up the majority of the skin’s thickness. This area of the skin contains collagen, elastin, and the roots of our hair follicles. It also contains our nerve receptors that host our touch sensory.
The hypodermis is the bottom layer of the skin. This is the fatty layer of our skin that provides cushion to our bones & muscles, & helps to regulate our body temperature.
UNDERSTANDING SKIN LAYERS RELATIVE TO TATTOOS
When clients obtain traditional, permanent tattoos, the tattoo artist will implant ink into the second layer of the skin, or the dermis/dermal layer of the skin. When ink is implanted correctly into this layer of the skin, results are permanent.
When it comes to PMU/eyebrows, the artist must carefully implant ink only in between the top layer (epidermis) and second layer (dermis) of the skin. For comparison, the top layer of the skin on our bodies for someone who has youthful, in-tact skin, is about as thick as a piece of paper, which isn’t very thick at all. For further reference, the skin around our eyes & eyebrows is even thinner than that! For someone who has more mature and or wrinkled skin, the top layer of the skin is even thinner.
All of this is especially important to note since this style of work is highly regarded as “semi-permanent”. Depending on how well-versed a PMU artist is in skin and depth, their work may fade out over time, however in some cases may be permanent (if ink is implanted too deep into the skin).
WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT FOR ME TO SHARE WITH YOU!
I am a licensed tattoo artist who is keen on cultural sensitivity. I feel that it is important to ensure that all potential and existing clients have a full understanding that I am a tattoo artist and any work that I am providing for my clients is a form of tattooing. Although both Microblading & Ombré Brows are highly regarded as “semi-permanent,” the reality is that any time that pigment is placed into the skin, regardless of how, it is considered the tattoo. Denying this process as a tattoo could potentially be problematic for those who would, for religious or other personal reasons, normally refuse to have a tattoo.
It is important to understand the layers of the skin not only as an artist, but also as a client or potential client. Youthful skin will be thicker than mature skin. As a result, the more youthful and in-tact the skin is, the better the client’s results will be because the artist has an ideal epidermis/top layer of skin to work with. In the same respect, the more mature, wrinkled, and or thin the skin is, the more compromised the client’s results will potentially be because there is a greater chance of the artist implanting the ink too deep due to the skin’s integrity.
For clarity, for my technique in particular, I do not have a “cutoff age” for clients that I will/will not take in, because everyone’s skin ages at different rates depending on their health & lifestyle factors. However, if your skin leans more towards the mature side (thin, aged, &/or wrinkled skin), please contact me before jumping the gun and booking an appointment. This way, we can complete a consultation to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for any of the services that I provide!
In any case (and this goes for all of my prospective clients!) -- if you’re concerned about whether or not you are a good candidate for services I am happy to discuss options with you! Shoot an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation.