Does it really make a difference?
I and pretty much every other Cosmetic Tattooist harp on about factors that can affect your tattoo, they're usually broken down into two categories; internal (genetics & how your body works) and external (such as lifestyle - sun exposure etc).
I'm currently on my own skincare journey with the aim of fixing up some pigmentation and acne scars but to do this, I need to incorporate a lot of "active" skincare. So now, my new routine has retinol, vitamin C and an AHA/BHA face-wash (plus micro/needling when I can visit salons again).
It got me thinking about how over the last 8 or so years the way we understand skincare has changed; soap is bad, oil is good and exfoliation now involves acids not tiny beads. With all these changes and options readily available, many people don't fully know how it all works and in turn how it can affect a cosmetic tattoo. I asked Skin Specialist Laura Anderson at The Skin Boutique in Melbourne's CBD to break down what active skincare actually is and how it interacts with a Cosmetic Tattoo.
However....before we fully let Laura explain, a quick blanket statement about what active skincare is/where its usually found:"Actives"are ingredients which have been scientifically proven to change the structure of the skin at a cellular level, that's why you can find them in most brightening, wrinkle reducing, and anti-ageing skincare.
When Talking about skincare and cosmetic tattoos there are three categories we
need to discuss; Vitamin A ( retinoids ), Vitamin C and chemical exfoliants (AHAs
They are vitamin A derivatives that sink into your skin and speed up cell turnover,
causing your body to turn out smoother skin, increase collagen production, and
decrease discolouration. They also reduce the tendency of cells and keratin debris to
build up and clog pores and cause congestion.
By speeding up cell turnover you’re also speeding up the rate at which your tattoo
It helps reduce complexion concerns like dullness, uneven skin tone, acne scars,
and texture. It’s an antioxidant and a critical factor for collagen synthesis, it also
protects the skin from free radicals from sources like pollution. With regular and
correct use, you’ll see noticeable results like brighter skin and fading dark spots that
resulted from U.V. radiation.
Vitamin C is an acid and if it can be used to fade melanin pigment in your skin and
fade scarring it can defiantly fade your tattoo.
AHAs & BHAs
Lastly, we have our chemical exfoliants, Which work in two ways: AHAs (Alpha
hydroxy Acids) work by lifting off the build-up of dead cells on the skin's surface to
reveal a brighter, smoother complexion, and BHAs ( beta hydroxy acids) penetrate
into the pores to shift build-up and help clear breakouts.
Any sort of chemical exfoliates don't only work on the surface but in the deeper layers of our
skin too and in turn, will not be kind to a tattoo.
Skin turnover is the process of shedding the thin top layer of your skin, exposing the
fresh skin underneath. Every cell in your body has a life cycle, and in the case of
adult skin cells, that cycle lasts around 28 days. New skin cells that are born in your
dermis mature and move through the epidermis toward the skin’s surface. At some
point during this process, they lose their nuclei and die. They become a thickened
layer of dead cells, and over time, they shed off. When these old cells fall off, the
new ones rise to the surface to take their place.
Skincare like Retinol and AHAs puts this whole process in fast-forward. It makes the
progression of the cells through the skin and the sloughing of the top layer happen a
little bit faster, revealing a healthy more radiant complexion.
The quicker new skin comes the surface... The quicker the tattoo pigment will shed.
Yehaw! Now, after understanding all that, you'll get why I always ask about your
skincare and if it is "active" to reduce it/stop it a few weeks before your appointment and keep it that way for 4 weeks after your last appointment.
If you're interested in what makes a tattoo permanent & how it all works, watch the
below TED talk:
Oh, one more thing...
You might remember one of my IGTV videos where I discuss a targeted add for a tattoo removal cream. I broke down what it promised vs what it would deliver and the actual options and methods of removal. So in the same realm with that debunked, why would that not work but skincare would fade a tattoo?
Well, the removal cream promised to 'target the pigment' and fade it where active skincare promotes overall skin cell turn over. Ta-Da!
A big thank you to Laura Anderson! Full disclosure, we're pals who have worked and studied together. She's the one who's currently helping me fix my skin up, and boy oh boy is she good at what she does. You can contact her via The Skin Boutique Melbourne CBD or her insta @skinbyloz if you're needing some skin help
Cheers for reading and I hope you found it useful!