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What is Skin Camouflage or Scar Correction?

Skin or scar camouflage is tattooing of the skin with different colors of flesh tone pigments. Its purpose is to disguise a scar or skin area that is missing pigment or color. It is a specialized area of permanent cosmetics that falls under the category of Medical or Paramedical Tattooing. This process is also called Corrective Pigment Camouflage (CPC), Corrective Camouflage, Skin Repigmentation, Scar Camouflage, Skin Camouflage, Camouflage Tattooing, and Skin Color Tattooing. The science behind pigments and the physiology of human skin and tissue must be understood by the specialist performing these procedures.

These procedures require advanced knowledge, training, skills, and experience in permanent cosmetics as well as an artistic eye for color and skin tones.

What types of correction can be done with Permanent Cosmetics (Micropigmentation):

  • Flat Scars (healed at least 9 months)
  • Burn Marks (healed at least 1 year)
  • Depigmented Areas (areas that have lost their pigmentation and have turned lighter than regular skin tone or white spots)
  • Scarring of the scalp from hair transplants or trauma
  • Missing areas of hair (hair strokes can be simulated to match hair around them)
  • White or Lightened Stretch Marks
  • Facelift Scarring
  • Surgical Scars
  • Birthmarks (not all birthmarks can be corrected, consult is necessary)
  • Vitiligo

Are You a Candidate for Skin Color Repigmentation?
Even if you have a scar or skin abnormality, you may not be candidate for skin repigmentation. You might be a candidate if you meet the criteria below. Your scar should be:

  • Healed and no longer pink or changing color: Your scar should be at least 9 to 12 months old with stable color. If it is red or pink or still changing color, the tissue may still be healing. A reputable, experienced medical tattooist will not work prematurely on scar tissue because it may cause further damage to the skin.
  • Smooth and relatively flat: Camouflage tattooing cannot disguise or correct extreme changes in skin texture. If your scar or skin area is bumpy or raised, the process may not be effective.
  • Without dark edges: Dark edges or borders around a scar indicate Post Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation (PIHP) from the initial trauma or surgery. It is possible that the camouflage tattooing process may increase the hyper-pigmentation and create a wider, darker border. (Note: The risk of this happening is usually greater with darker skin tones.)
  • NOT one of the following: Port Wine birthmarks; spider veins; freckles; age spots; under eye circles; hyper-pigmentation; or unstable Vitiligo (not in remission). These can be improved with non-tattoo medical treatments such as lasers, sclerotherapy, or chemical peels. Please consult with a physician regarding the best course of treatment for these conditions.

You might be a candidate if you also meet the criteria below. You should:

  • Have realistic expectations: Camouflage tattooing will not completely restore skin to the way it looked before it was injured. The process will not “erase” a scar or skin abnormality so it appears completely gone and the area looks “perfect” again. It improves color differences to help disguise the scar or anomaly and make it less noticeable to other people.
  • Not spend time tanning: A scar camouflage tattoo will not be a “perfect” match to the surrounding skin color. This is due to the constant changes in skin tones from blood flow, body temperature, and tanning. The pigment in the tattoo will not darken if it is exposed to sunlight or tanning booths, so the tattoo may appear lighter if the surrounding skin tans. When the tattoo color matches tanned skin, it may appear darker once the surrounding tanned skin fades. Therefore, if you spend time outdoors, you will need to adjust your lifestyle or decide to match the tattoo to “winter” or “summer” skin and live with the changes in between.
  • Not expect results in one session: Camouflage repigmentation is a process, not a one-time "cure". It is performed on “unhealthy” skin that has been damaged or altered. Its response cannot be predicted—a scar or Vitiligo patch may have areas that absorb pigment, reject it, or both. The area will look dark and red immediately after a tattooing session, and then it takes several weeks to show the healed color (or not). This requires time and patience.