Brazilian Stretch Mark Tattoo Training in Arizona | Studio Conceal

5 Things to Consider Before Training on The Stretch Mark/Scar Camouflage Tattoo

“If you are not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback”

– Brene Brown

As more and more educators start offering training on the Brazilian stretch mark camouflage tattoo technique, I wanted to share what I wish I had known first, before I got trained to help those who are considering entering into this field make a wise decision and investment.

1) I wish I had researched for more photos and reviews

A lot of trainers aren’t actually offering this technique consistently. They’re not in the “arena” as I would say and unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of them post before and after photos that aren’t actually their work, or they post very little content because they haven’t actually worked on a lot of clients. There’s a lot of money to be made in training and so that’s why a lot of people begin to train fast without much experience.

I took a year to test out “training” to see if I enjoyed it and limited it to 5 students for that entire year before committing to it. In addition, I’m still in the “arena” and limit trainings to 2x/per month because I’m still performing camouflage tattoos on clients weekly. Working on clients, while training, affords me the ability to continue learning, experimenting and tattooing different types of scars, stretch marks and skin tones, giving me a wealth of personal knowledge in color matching, color theory, ink blending, etc. This is a very technical technique and though it may look simple to do, there are a lot of risks and variables to consider before you permanently alter someone’s body. I wish I had dug further into my first educator’s portfolio to really get a full picture of her experience on this technique and her online reviews.

2) You can’t be great at everything

The longer you’re in an industry, the more skills you’ll naturally acquire. With that being said, you can’t acquire in-depth skills when you’re spread too thin and offer many services. Some educators are trained in brows, lips, scar and stretch mark camouflage, body contouring, brow lamination, scalp micropigmentation, permanent eyeliner, etc. The list goes on and on and from my experience, we, as humans, are not efficient when we’re multi-tasking because we can’t put 100% of our focus in developing certain skills if we’re constantly pulled in many directions. I would be mindful in choosing an educator who specializes and invests his/her time in developing their skill and experience in their chosen niche because they’ll become “masters” of their craft than someone who has a bit of knowledge in a variety of things.

Using natural light makes all the different in matching someone’s skin tones.

Using natural light makes all the different in matching someone’s skin tones.

3) Color theory is no joke

My first 3 trainers taught me nothing about color theory. I had to seek out that information on my own and I continue to learn about it to this day. It’s one of the most complicated subjects of all permanent make-up and cosmetic tattooing, so it doesn’t surprise me that most people skim through it. When you don’t understand something, you aren’t confident enough to teach it. To this day, I still research and order color theory books, have consulted with other experienced Artists and shadow them using color theory in their line of work.

In my training course, we do go over color theory in depth, but I also let students know that they will need to continue researching and learning it – and a lot of that will come forth through gaining experience while working on skin and identifying many skin tones in real life.

The stance that I’m forever a “student,” helps evolve my craft to become a better Camouflage Tattoo Artist

The stance that I’m forever a “student,” helps evolve my craft to become a better Camouflage Tattoo Artist

4) I’ll never train how to camouflage tattoo ONLINE

This is a very technical technique and learning it online is out of integrity for my standard of business. I’ve actually done quite a few online trainings just to see if I could learn anything new and without a doubt, always walked away feeling like if I was completely new at this, how confused and hesitant I would feel after my “training” vs. confident and capable. Some of these trainings certified me in scar/stretch mark camouflage over breakfast, which I feel is not enough time to grasp the theories of this technique.

Now, this could change in the future – someone may invest in launching an in-depth training online that’s great and informative, but you’ll also need to consider what type of learner you are? Are you hands-on? Do you need that interaction? Do you like getting your questions answered immediately? So for now, offering training online is a hard no for me.

5) Support after education

Does your educator offer support after you’re done training? If so, how and for how long? Two or three days of training will hopefully set you up with a solid foundation to begin, but it may take month or two to actually work on your first client. Inevitably, you will have more questions or may need a boost of encouragement that you have this!

I started a private Facebook group to help support students even after they’re done training, which is important to me personally as an Instructor, and will be launching an online educational series to help teach Artists how to generate leads, perform their consultations effectively, market and strategize their business.

  • Side note, I am an advocate for continuing education. Each training (including my own) has its strengths and weaknesses so determining what kind of learner you are, will help you choose which instructor is best for your learning/personality style.

In addition, my own students have access to me as I continually test out inks and post-care products. Most notably, I created my own color swatch in helping match skin tones, which I share with all past and new students. This came from a visit into Sephora and sampling a variety of foundation pigments onto a paper towel, which I then went home and custom blended with tattoo inks to match the same color variations. What I discovered is that all foundations and concealers are the same – they’re just packaged differently per make-up brand.

Make sure your trainer has you working on live models

Make sure your trainer has you working on live models

All in all, I discovered that I love teaching others a new procedure that brings so much fulfillment and joy to the clients we serve as Artists. My training manual covers a solid base of information that a student can continually go back to for reference, the Facebook group is growing and has proven to be an effective resource of information to test new theories, get opinions and suggestions from other Tattoo Artists. All my students work on live models which I feel is the best way to truly practice the technique of color matching and camouflage tattooing. You really need to feel the tattoo pen on real skin…stretch marks and scars, and unfortunately, online programs are limited at this capacity.

If this is something you’ve been researching and contemplating in doing, my only advice is to actually do your due diligence. Make sure you like the instructor, have seen their portfolio, online reviews, and have spoken to them over the phone to make sure your investment is going towards someone you vibe with and can start a new career or service with.

Any other questions, I’m happy to answer them.

Wishing you best of luck,

Jayd Hernandez, xo

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What is SMP?

Scalp Micro Pigmentation (SMP) was developed as both a cosmetic procedure for men and women suffering with all types of hair loss, and as a medical procedure to help conceal scars, burns, birthmarks, as well as the full spectrum of alopecia. During the SMP procedure, a blend of unique pigments specifically formulated for the client are deposited into the dermal layer of the skin on the scalp. These deposits create an extremely realistic illusion that replicates hair follicles. SMP is a viable alternative to traditional hair transplant surgery, hair systems, pills, and fibers.. Around the world, thousands of clients live their lives free from hair loss without lengthly maintenance routines, unwelcome side effects or signifiant ongoing financial outlay.

Does scalp micropigmentation look real?

A typical scalp hair from a Caucasian woman is about 77 micrometers in diameters (67 Um in those of Asian descent, and 120 Um in those African descent). Typically, SMP dots placed in the dermis layer are 90-140 micrometers in diameter.

While this might seem a bit larger than a real human hair, this slight difference is virtually indistinguishable from real hair follicles. Often, when viewed 1 foot away, close friends and family will not be able to tell where real hair ends and the SMP begins.

What causes hair loss?

As hair on the scalp goes through it’s normal cycle of growing and shedding, DHT makes the follicles miniaturize. That means they get thinner and shorter because the growing cycle doesn’t last as long. The growing cycle becomes so brief that new hairs can’t grow through the skin. For women, hair loss can be caused by an imbalance of thyroid hormones, pregnancy, disease and certain medications.

How long will SMP last for?

With proper care and treatment, including using high sunscreen when outside, SMP will commonly last for many years. For a healthy client with a normal immune system, we expect that the color will last with original vibrance for about 4-6 years, with gradual fading of the pigment to last up to 8 years.

Fortunately, if a touch up is needed, a fee is charged which is generally cheaper per session than the original treatment fee. It’s important to note that each individual is different so an estimated range of longevity will be provided at our consultation meeting.

Will SMP fade, smear, or turn blue as the years pass?

Any pigment applied to the dermal layer of the skin will eventually fade, but we expect SMP to last several years or more, before even minimal fading is noticed. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun often breaks apart some tattoo inks for easier absorption by the body, resulting in increased fade rates and slight smearing. As the inks are degraded, their chromophores are often altered resulting in changed color. If this occurs, we can easily offer touch up sessions, or revise the ink color by adding additives to mute, neutralize, or warm up the tone again.

Is SMP reversible? Is receiving SMP treatment painful?

Yes, SMP pigmentation can be removed with an electro-optic Q switched laser, which is used to heat and break-up the SMP pigmentation for easier absorption by phagocytes in the dermis. SMP is fairly easy to remove in most cases because the pigment is not deposited as deeply as normal tattoo ink. The electro-optic laser, however is expensive and therefore, many clinics which advertise laser removal do not actually own one.

As for pain, it depends on the individual. In some cases, clients have fallen asleep while I have completed treatment. In other cases, clients experience pain across the temples or above the ears during treatment. Most clients rate their pain on a scale of 1-10, as 3-5 during treatment.

How long will it take for my final SMP appearance to form?

A normal client depending on hair loss extent, will take two to four treatments to achieve their final appearance. Most treatments are 2-3 hours long with small breaks as needed. The first treatment often places a very light application on the scalp to assess fading and density levels. The normal reaction from many clients is to assume that the SMP is too light. However, this is a normal part of the treatment and allows me to better treat the scalp in later sessions. The second treatment is 10-14 days later, and adds the majority of the density to your new look. Treatments three or later are usually for completing the look, addressing darkness matching or to even the density across the scalp.

What will my scalp look like immediately after treatment?

The area of the scalp that has been treated will have some redness for 24 hours after treatment, though this tends to be less visible on darker skin tones. In addition, the pigmentation will be darker for up to 7 days after treatment, again, depending on your skin tone. Thereafter, the pigmentation will appear to become lighter and softer as the pigment filled scabs begin to flake away. These scabs flake away in the first 3 to 10 days. As this happens, it appears to the observer that the SMP dots are shrinking. When the healing process is complete, the final dots are often 90 to 170 Um in diameter and blend seamlessly into any natural hair. By about one month, after any treatment, the pigments will begin to “set” and thereafter, fading will be almost zero.

How do I choose a hairline? If I have hair left, can I leave it long?

If you are unsure of what style or type of hairline will work or you, I will be there to help. With an artistic eye and experience on how to fit a hairline to head shape and age, I can help recommend what’s best. Over the course of our sessions, we can tweak and adjust the hairline for the perfect, natural result.

Depending upon the pattern and extent of your current hair, some clients are able to maintain a longer length. Scalp micropigmentation can help thicken areas so that less of the scalp is seen showing through. However, if there is a strong pattern of hair loss or just not a lot of hair density left, the client is recommended to crop it shorter.

Can Studio Conceal camouflage my transplant scar?

Yes, absolutely! By replicating tiny hair follicles inside the scarring and blending the color around the scarring area, transplant and surgical scars can see massive improvement in concealment.

DOES THIS TREATMENT REMOVE STRETCH MARKS?

Other than a tummy tuck, or the literal removal of skin, there is no proven way to remove stretch marks. The Stretch Mark Camouflage Tattoo only helps to conceal and diminish the appearance of stretch marks so that they are less perceptible to the naked eye. Think of it as having a permanent filter, taking away the white contrast of your scars.

IS THE TREATMENT SUITABLE FOR ALL SKIN TYPES?

Generally, yes! However, there are a small number of people who the treatment would not be suitable for. Your stretch marks and scars need to be at least two years old, lighter than your skin tone and completely healed. Booking a virtual consultation can help determine if you’re a candidate for this procedure and is required for all clients.

CAN I GET TATTOOED IF MY SKIN IS ALREADY TANNED?

We prefer to match only your natural skin tone, and require that our clients postpone their session until their tan has faded. This ensures that we are able to custom blend an ink color that will look most natural whether you’re tanned or not.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I TAN?

Your camouflaged stretch marks and scars will not change color. If you tan, your skin’s overtone will darken, but your stretch marks will remain the same color as your natural skin-toned ink tattoo. Overall, your stretch marks will still be camouflaged because the “white” is no longer there. In short, there’s less of an obvious contrast. Here’s a great video explaining what happens to your stretch mark tattoos when you tan.

WILL IT HURT? DO YOU NUMB YOUR CLIENTS?

The Stretch Mark Camouflage Tattoo is a penetrative skin procedure so a small amount of discomfort will be experienced. Usually on a scale 1-10 (10 being most painful), the average consensus is a 6 or 7. We do not numb our clients to avoid any interference to the purity and insertion of pigment into the scar. In addition, your pain receptors will be heightened if you’re on your monthly cycle, and so we suggest you book your session/touch ups accordingly.

CAN I GET THE TREATMENT WHILE PREGNANT OR BREAST-FEEDING?

Congratulations on your pregnancy, but unfortunately, we are unable to treat women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. We look forward to treating you once your little one is weaned and your scars have been fully healed (usually within two years).

HOW WILL I LOOK IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARDS?

There’s little to no downtime. Most Clients can resume work the same day, or even fly home after their session. It’s normal to experience redness and swelling immediately after the procedure for 1-3 days. For the first 3 days, you’ll be given strict instructions on how to minimize inflammation, speed up the wound healing phase, and how to “ice” the area and keep it clean. Over the next few weeks, the redness will dissipate and go through a variety of shades (from dark to light) until your skin heals. We’ll be in contact with you every step of the way.

HOW QUICKLY WILL I SEE RESULTS?

Everyone’s skin is different. Variables include age, diet, hormones, general health, overtones, sun exposure, etc and so it’s impossible to give an exact number of days it will take you to heal. On average, it takes 45-60 days, but if you’re prone to hyper-pigmentation (you naturally scar dark), it will most likely take longer to heal. During your consultation, we can discuss and assess your skin’s estimated timeline and variables.
*Here’s a recent case study of our fastest healing client to help you speed along your recovery!

HOW LONG WILL THE RESULTS OF THE PROCEDURE LAST?

The Stretch Mark Camouflage Tattoo is a penetrative skin treatment that’s only been around for 6-7 years. According to our industry, it’ll last 5 years, or more provided that the correct after-care procedures are adhered to. You may or may not need a touch up after 5-6 years. Remember, a stretch mark is a scar and so the skin is trickier to penetrate. In addition, as we age, all tattoos transition and change on our skin because there’s less elasticity and melanin production. This can effect your stretch mark camouflage tattoo, as well.

WHAT IS THE COST OF THE PROCEDURE?

The total cost of the procedure varies greatly per technician and is dependent on the location and severity of the stretch marks or scar requiring treatment. Studio Conceal charges anywhere between $500-$2,000/ per area. We require an initial consultation (in-person or virtual) free of charge with zero pressure, during which the final cost can be determined by a formal quote.

DO YOU OFFER PAYMENT PLANS?

Yes we do! We’ve partnered with United Medical Credit to offer easy, reliable financing for all camouflage services and training. It’s really easy to apply and only takes 3 minutes to get approved. They’ll do a soft credit check to determine your options and will be in contact with you in 24 hours. Apply for financing of tattoo treatment or training here, hassle free.

STRETCH MARK CAMOUFLAGE TATTOO VS. LASER TREATMENTS?

While Laser Treatments do work on stretch marks by damaging the skin’s outer layer and forcing it to heal itself, they do not put color back into the skin. So almost all clients who get Laser Treatments for their stretch marks still have noticeable stretch marks. In fact, many of our clients have had many Laser Treatment procedures prior to walking into our studio. Another huge difference is the cost of that treatments. Laser Treatments could run $1,000 to $3,000 per session, and can easily end up costing the client over $10,000 overall.
*Here’s a short video going over the differences of microneedling vs. laser vs. the stretch mark camouflage tattoo