WTF is Nano Needling?! Everything You Need to Know about Cosmetic Tattoos

By Beautystack
20 April 2020
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Ever wished your makeup would just last forever? Imagined waking up with your brows, liner and lips looking filled-in, fresh and flawless? Well, you can! The secret? Cosmetic tattoos – also known a semi-permanent makeup – applied using a super precise process called nano needling.

As a student, Beautystack babe Rachel Pitman got her own eyebrows tattooed and wasn’t happy with the results. But instead of crying into a glass of wine and refusing to leave the house, she became one of the best cosmetic tattoo artists in the business. We sat down with Rachel, Queen of Cosmetic Tattoos and founder of Rachel Pitman PMU, to answer all of our need-to-know nano needling questions.

What Is Nano Needling And How Does It Work?

I use a lightweight tattoo pen with a sterilised single-use needle cartridge, to deposit pharmaceutical-grade pigment into the upper part of the dermal layer of skin. This technique comes from traditional tattooing, but the depth of the needle is shallower to allow for finer detail and gradual fading.

Nano needling is quite similar to microblading, they both get the same kind of results, but it’s a different mechanism. Microbladers are limited to brows whereas I can do brows, freckles, lips, eyeliner, anything!

Will A Cosmetic Tattoo Last Forever?

The ink will eventually fade – which is a positive thing! While you may want to continue having permanent make-up throughout your life, your tastes and features will likely change between now and 30 years time.

Some pigments take longer to fade than others. This depends on the specific pigment used, which area is treated, your skin type and lifestyle factors. For example; light blonde brows applied to someone who has oily skin will fade much faster than black eyeliner applied to someone with a normal skin type. Other factors can speed up fading, such as your metabolism, if you sunbathe, or if you are deficient in iron.

Generally, it will take 3-7 years for any colour to completely exit the skin. In order to maintain your look, it is recommended to have a colour boost treatment every 9-15 months.

Is There A Secret To Natural Looking Permanent Tattoos?

I love the unknown variables hidden within the word ‘natural’. It’s really subjective because everyone has their own idea of what a natural appearance amounts to. For some people, it means ‘so discreet you can’t see it’, from my perspective, a natural look enhances the symmetry and proportional balance of a clients’ face without appearing contrived. For others, natural is looking like a long-lost Kardashian. So I guess the secret (to being happy with your outcome) is to find an artist with a portfolio of styles that YOU think look natural.

How Much Does It Hurt?

We use numbing cream, so it barely hurts at all. Most people are surprised to find that the experience is actually really relaxing – some of my clients even fall asleep half-way through.

What’s The Best Way To Avoid Getting A Permanent Tattoo That You’re Not Happy With?

Always check the artist’s portfolio online. If their work is of a high standard, this generally suggests that they are certified, experienced and working in a clean and licenced location. It’s also good to check that the immediate environment in which your artist is working is sterile: is their equipment covered in plastic sleeves? Are they wearing gloves? Have they taken their sterile disposable needle cartridge out of an individually packaged unit? If the answer is “no” to ANY of these, run. Simultaneously, if an artist is particularly cheap, they might be inexperienced or cutting corners with the quality of their equipment. As with most things in life, the price usually reflects the quality of the service provided.

What’s Your Advice For Aftercare Post-Treatment?

Every artist will have their own specific instructions and aftercare guidance depending on their technique, but I believe we all advise the essentials: no exercise for 7-10 days and no saunas, swimming or sun exposure for 2 weeks – so whatever you do, don’t book a holiday!

How Do You Make Your Cosmetic Tattoo Last For As Long As Possible?

Stay inside, forever! Or if you have a life and like to go outside, wear factor 50, a large hat or stay in the shade. Don’t apply any skin-renewing creams or exfoliating treatments directly over the area, as they will make the tattoo fade quicker. If you can’t stick to this advice, expect to need a refresher treatment after 12 months.

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