Stretch marks are a cosmetic concern that can be a cause of stress for many. And, while there are different lotions and treatments available, they don’t always work. However, one Brazilian tattoo artist has come up with the Brazilian camouflage tattoo technique that is now being used globally to effectively cover stretch marks and leave skin looking unblemished and smooth.
What Are Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are essentially a type of scar that develops when our skin stretches or shrinks too quickly. These abrupt changes in the skin will result in the collagen and elastin in our skin rupturing, and it’s actually in healing that the stretch marks appear. At first appearance, stretch marks are often red, pink, purple, reddish-brown or even dark brown, depending on your particular skin tone. These can be raised and even a bit itchy at first; however, over time, the colour will fade, and the band sinks beneath the skin, forming a slight depression.
What Are the Risks of Getting Stretch Marks?
Some people are more prone to getting stretch marks than others, which is because of various factors.
You’re at high risk if:
- You experience sudden growth spurts in puberty
- You’re female
- You’re pregnant (particularly in younger women)
- You experience sudden weight loss or gain
- You do weight training and develop rapid muscle growth
- You use corticosteroids
- You have a family history of stretch marks
- You have breast enhancement surgery
- You use anabolic steroids and exercise
- You have a genetic disorder like Cushing’s or Marfan syndrome
Who Developed the Brazilian Stretch Mark Camouflage Treatment?
Although there are many treatments for stretch marks, the effectiveness of these treatments varies, with very few masking the appearance of stretch marks entirely. A few years back, a Brazilian tattoo artist from São Paulo – Rodolpho Torres – developed an ink and tattoo technique that would effectively fill in the stretch mark contours, matching them to the individual’s skin tone. While the stretch marks won’t disappear, they will be markedly less obvious. The process used is a form of permanent cosmetics (medical tattooing for stretch marks) and is referred to as:
- Brazilian stretch mark tattooing
- Scar tattooing
- Corrective pigment camouflage (CPC)
- Corrective camouflage
- Skin re-pigmentation
- Scar camouflage
- Skin camouflage
- Camouflage tattooing
- Skin colour tattooing
What Is the Stretch Mark Camouflage Ink Used?
Torres developed the technique and a flesh-coloured ink that matches skin tone for an effective finish. The ink was approved by Anvisa (Brazil National Health Surveillance Agency), which means that certified technicians can blend the ink for the range of skin tones. The ink is high-quality, medical-grade pigmentation that is perfectly safe to use on human skin.
Who Can Do the Procedure?
Because Brazilian stretch mark tattooing is such a specialised procedure, it can only be performed by a select number of technicians worldwide who have undergone rigorous training. One such specialist is London-based permanent makeup tattoo artist Suki Mezei.
Who Can Have the Brazilian Camouflage Tattoo Done?
Your technician will provide you with a thorough consultation ahead of the procedure to determine whether you are a prime candidate or not. Some of the more likely candidates will have stretch marks which are:
- Completely healed: This means the scar should be about 9 months to a year old and stable in colour. If it’s still changing colour or pink, it’s not ready to be worked on as further damage could happen.
- Without dark edges: If your stretch marks have dark edges, it could indicate PIHP (post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation), and tattooing could create a darker border.
- Smooth and flat: This type of stretch mark is the easiest to tattoo. If there is some raising, the camouflage tattoo won’t be quite as effective and medical needling will need to be provided.
Who Shouldn’t Have Brazilian Camouflage Tattoo Done?
There are certain instances where Brazilian camouflage tattooing will not be effective, and non-tattoo medical treatments – such as lasers, chemical peels and sclerotherapy – could be a better option, provided medical consultation is undergone. These include:
- Port-wine birthmarks
- Spider veins
- Age spots
- Unstable Vitiligo
What Happens During the Brazilian Stretch Mark Tattoo Procedure?
Once Suki has analysed your stretch marks to determine if this is the right course of action, tattoo ink will be matched to your natural skin colour. This means that you must arrive without a tan – natural or not – otherwise, the ink shade will stand out when the tan fades. The treatment will take around one to two hours, and depending on the individual, you could require up to four sessions to get the procedure right.
What Happens After the Procedure?
You will be fully briefed on the necessary after-care procedure to ensure your tattoo remains intact and your skin healthy, however, to give you an idea of what to expect:
- The area will be red and inflamed for about 72 hours after the camouflage tattoo has been applied.
- There can be swelling for about eight days.
- You must not pick, scratch or rub the treated area until healed.
- You can only use antibacterial or mild baby wash and lukewarm water for a week, no soaps or creams.
- It’s best to avoid getting sunlight on the tattooed area as it can fade the ink.
- The healing process will take between four and six weeks, after which the colour should settle.
What Are the Benefits of Brazilian Stretch Mark Tattooing?
As mentioned, there are several other treatments for covering stretch marks, but Brazilian stretch mark camouflage has so many benefits for users.
- When performed by a certified technician, it is completely safe and effective.
- Compared with surgical treatment options, stretch mark tattooing is a cost-effective alternative.
- It’s a very quick treatment, with some clients only needing one session.
- Because this is a permanent procedure, the results last for years.
- If you have some raised area on the stretch marks, the camouflage technique can be used alongside microneedling to address the texture and colour.
What Other Skin Conditions Can Be Treated With Tattooing?
The technique of Brazilian stretch mark and scar camouflage tattooing isn’t only restricted to treating stretch marks. Many other skin conditions can be addressed with this technique that can drastically improve your self-confidence in as little as one session. Some of the other treatable skin conditions include:
This is an incurable skin condition whereby skin loses its melanocytes (pigment cells) over time, resulting in discoloured patches over the body, particularly the face, hands and feet. Vitiligo is a lifelong condition that can be accompanied by some skin irritation, but the biggest complaint is the cosmetic impact. Fortunately, Brazilian skin camouflage tattoos can be used to give the appearance of a much more even skin tone.
The size and position of scars can impact self-esteem unnecessarily. While surgical procedures to address this can be more high-risk and expensive than Brazilian scar camouflage tattooing. Some of the scars that can be treated include:
- Cleft lip scars
- Gender reassignment surgery scars
- Breast surgery scars such as enlargements, lifts, reductions and mastectomies
- Cosmetic surgery scars such as facelifts and tummy tucks
- Accident or injury scars
- Surgical scars like C-sections
A harmless yet cosmetically detrimental skin condition is hyperpigmentation. This is where someone has an excess supply of melanin, resulting in darker skin patches around the body and face. Some of these conditions can be addressed with Brazilian scar camouflage tattooing. Examples of hyperpigmentation include:
- Old age or liver spots in the elderly
- Solar lentigo as a result of sun damage
- The ‘mask of pregnancy’ pigmentation which is darkened skin on a pregnant woman’s abdomen
- Hormonal changes resulting in melasma or chloasma spots.
To find out more about this effective scar camouflage tattoo, contact Suki Mezei at Suki Su Permanent Natural Makeup today.