Taking on new challenges.
Many artists will often turn away more difficult client cases, especially when the skin condition is compromised, as it is much harder to predict the end results. But what makes a pro-artist stand out? The ability to have the confidence in your skills and techniques to understand the skin and how it can affect your outcome, so you are able to properly approach and achieve the best possible results. Cases like these are truly life-changing for clients and also rewarding for the artist.
In today’s case study, award winning PMU artist and trainer, Paula McDonald, shares with us an amazing transformation she completed on a client who had heavy scarring due to skin grafts. Paula will take you through the whole process, from prepping the skin pre-procedure to the techniques she used to adjust to the skin conditions. Learn the how and why she had to change her approach in order to give her client beautiful results.
I was approached by this brave, amazing lady who had been in a horrific car accident. As a result, she lost her eyelid and all of the skin all the way to her scalp on one side of her face. She was left with scar tissue on both sides of her face throughout the brow area. This poor lady had a rough journey!
Client’s left brow after several skin grafts and previous PMU
After the accident, an attempt was made to tattoo in the shape of a brow by the hospital staff but the results were poor in respect to implantation and design. It also left an unappealing purple residue that needed to be incorporated into the new design.
Trying to improve upon her results, she sought out to have eyebrow tattooing once again. She had been declined treatment from a number of artists before she found me. My heart often rules my head and my automatic response was to say “yes” but then I had to wonder why so many had refused her before me. We had a consultation and I felt very sure I could make positive changes for this lady that would make her happy.
Plan of Action
The accident left her with excessive scar tissue and she received several skin grafts in order to reconstruct what the car accident had taken away. Due to this, I knew that the main challenge would be hindered by the smoothness and quality of the skin. It was scarred, uneven in texture, lacking normal blood flow and would be the biggest challenge of the case. Also to note is that scar tissue has a real tendency to either reject or really ash colors out.
So I put my thinking cap on, and we made a plan. We prepped her skin 6 weeks prior to the tattoo with a high-strength Vitamin C serum along with skin needling in order to break up the scar tissue. I was sure to advise her that for the first session, we would tread very carefully and warned her that she may have very little retention.
Since she had previous PMU already, I had to work within the design already there. I began by mapping her undamaged brow by copying the other side that was already established. Then I made the new brow shape bigger so I could level them out. Thankfully, the placement didn't need a lot of tweaking.
I chose a 0.30RL single needle, as I would need the larger diameter in order to penetrate the tougher skin in the scarred areas. We decided on a hair stroke brow as she wanted it to look as natural as possible. In the area of the tail, her skin was more densely scarred so I had to use the pointillism technique with the 1RL to make sure I could penetrate those tougher areas and hit the dermis. By dotting with pointillism, it’s a direct deposit straight into the skin, virtually guaranteeing deposit.
Due to the client's Fitzpatrick 2 skin tone with cool undertones, and previous PMU which had faded 50%, I selected Tina Davies Medium Brown pigment to give my client a nice natural soft brown with the warmness to counteract her coolness. However, on the scarred area, I used a 60/40 mix of Tina Davies Medium Brown pigment with Perma Blend Gourd. I chose to add Gourd as it is a warm modifier and would provide the extra warmth to prevent ashy-ness in this tougher area.
Before and immediately after
Healed after 1 procedure
At her follow up appointment weeks later, I touched up a few of the weaker spots with more color but overall we have achieved a really nice result on a very tricky canvas. She retained the color so well despite the scarring challenge and the color has settled nicely. She was thrilled and so was I! Seeing this results really gave me the confidence to take on these challenging cases and I hope it will give you more confidence as well!
Healed after 1 procedure
Skin Tone: Fitzpatrick 2, Cool undertones
Skin type: Scarred with skin grafts
Technique: Machine Hair strokes a.k.a. Nanobrows with pointillism on the tail
Pigments Used: Tina Davies Medium Brown + Perma Blend Gourd Toner
Needle: .30mm 1RL
Artist: Paula McDonald
Wonderful, educational, inspirational case study!
Phenomenal job!! What an art; to have something so tragic happen to her yet turn it into a life altering ❤️experience. Cudos.