There’s a lot to unpack here so buckle up! Microblading in the United States started inching its way into the industry around 2015. By 2017 it was wildly sought after and incredibly popular. 2018 saw it dominating the industry and popping up everywhere from salons to tattoo parlors, dermatologist, plastic surgeons and even dentists installed artists to perform the procedure.

However, if you’ve read anything about it, researched it or even had it done, chances are you’ve heard a lot of conflicting information about how it’s done, how long it lasts, who’s a candidate, whether it’s painful and all sorts of other things.  I’ve personally performed thousands of these procedures, hundreds of corrections and taught scores of students from all over the world how to safely perform the procedure. These are my takeaways from my experience.

Microblading is a tattoo on your face. Being in full command of the facts is absolutely imperative so you have the agency to choose whether you wish to proceed.

Is microblading like a tattoo?

Microblading is a tattoo. Anytime pigment or ink is inserted into the skin a tattoo is being performed. I can’t count the number of times clients have told me they absolutely don’t want a tattoo because of negative perception of old styles or even due to religious reasons. There are many methods of tattooing. Microblading is one such method. It is a manual method that is performed without the use of a machine using a sterile needle tip held by a pen like handle. The needles are in a single file line and are most often in a slanted or U shape. The artist uses the tool to create hair like scratches in the outer layers of your skin while simultaneously implanting pigment.

How long will it last?

This is a widely misunderstood topic and an important concept to grasp. Microblading is a tattoo on your face. Being in full command of the facts is absolutely imperative so you have the agency to choose whether you wish to proceed. People often say definitively that microblading will last 12-18 months. If only human tissue were that predictable! This is where the heated debate surrounding industry standard terminology arose. Is it permanent or semi-permanent? It’s important to understand here that differences in terminology and views vary based on a number of reasons like culture and legal verbiage requirements. I’m of the opinion that the most honest way to refer to procedures of this type is simply cosmetic tattoos. Then it is the artist’s responsibility to thoroughly explain and manage the expectations of the client.  To understand permanence, one must have a basic understanding of integumentary anatomy. It’s often said that microblading exists only in the epidermis which is the outermost layer of the skin. The epidermis fully renews itself every 30 days or so depending on your age and lifestyle. If it were only here it would disappear in a month. The dermis is beneath the epidermis and well applied microblading exists just at its surface.  However, they are not flat planes. The dermal and epidermal layers are connected to each other in rolling hills. No artist, regardless of skill or training can apply the pigment consistently in a specific layer of the skin. Well trained artists will have a light hand and apply the pigment as shallow as possible to avoid an excessively deep application. Depth of application, type and color of pigment, lifestyle, aftercare and individual physiology all come together to determine each person’s level of permanence. However, it must be understood that this is a general guide. I’ve seen people maintain beautiful hair strokes for over 2 years and I’ve seen my own work on different people disappear in 6 months. The most important thing to consider here is choose your artist wisely. If you land in the chair of an inexperienced or heavy-handed artist, you may end up with a deeply applied, discolored tattoo with thick strokes that you’ll take to your grave. I’ve had more hug it out and cry sessions on my lobby sofa than I’d care to remember resulting from a misinformed client learning the brow tattoo she hates isn’t ever going away on its own. Thank God for pico lasers!

Is microblading the right choice for me?

Microblading has taken the cosmetic industry by storm. Everyone wants it. But is it the right choice for every client? It’s important we maintain our ethics and integrity as artists and refuse service or redirect those we can’t help. There are few people who are medically contraindicated. Pregnant or breastfeeding women can’t receive treatment. People on certain medications like Accutane or antibiotics must wait for the drug and its effects to leave the system. Topical retinoid users should discontinue use a couple weeks prior to treatment. Laser or peel clients should wait for the skin to completely renew and heal before receiving treatment. The length of time will be based on the intensity of treatment. Diabetics must have well maintained blood sugar and no problems with wound healing to safely receive tattoos. When in doubt, a physician should be asked to provide written clearance. Due to the nature of chemotherapy, cancer patients are often some of our most eager clients. We must wait 6 months post chemo/radiation to treat cancer survivors. There are fewer experiences more rewarding than helping a person on their journey to recovery by restoring their confidence with microblading. As an aside, we offer this service free to survivors. Contact our office to be placed on our waiting list. 305.773.7138.

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