Color History
Color for cosmetic use has been around for centuries, both for use on the surface of the skin as well as sub-surface. Archaeologists have evidence that Egyptian women used green ore of copper as an eye shadow as early as 5000 B.C. They also used henna to dye their hair, carmine to redden their lips and kohl to blacken their eyebrows, lids and lashes. Thousands of years ago it was common place for Indians to use saffron to tint their faces yellow and also to dye their feet, their cheeks and the tips of their tongues. In Asia Minor, women and men, smeared their faces with litmus and marshmallow and the Babylonians shaded their lips with red in the belief that the color would prevent demons from entering their bodies.
Mummies with tattoos intact, dating back thousands of years have been discovered not only in Egypt but throughout Europe, Siberia and other places, showing that not only has the practice been around for a long time but that it has been a world wide occurrence.
Until the middle of the nineteenth century all the colorants used in foods, drugs and cosmetics were obtained from natural sources which included animals, vegetables and minerals. It wasn't until 1856 when the first synthetic organic dyestuff was discovered which unleashed a host of new and different colorants which were available in a wider variety of shades, were stronger and more permanent and considered safer for use in foods and drugs. It was the Food & Drug Act of 1906 that finally placed controls on colors used in foods, drugs and cosmetics.
The Micro-Pigmentation Centre's pigment line, which is formulated in house from FDA approved ingredients, boasts 56 colors for cosmetic and medical tattooing. Specialized colors such as the Signature Series for Camouflage and for Areola colors are widely used in hospitals and by plastic surgeons post breast reconstruction. A large number of patients that are referred to the company are looking for assistance to correct colors that have changed in the skin, a fairly common occurrence. The Correction Series of pigments such as Grey Gone, Blue Buster for Lips, Red Out and Blue Brow Corrector have been specifically designed to neutralize and correct these changes.
As an international guest speaker at Esthetic Trade Shows and Permanent Make-up Conferences, and as an invited visitor to Plastic Surgeons meetings, Pat Gauthier has put aside many of the myths associated with pigment colors; what is approved for use and what is not approved. The information she shares provides an understanding on the cause and effect of how pigments interact with different skin types, why they fade and who are not candidates for tattooing.
Color theory and mixing formulation are covered in the company's standard training courses and discusses many color related issues such as the effects of melanin, the body's most important natural pigment, which influences skin tone and the final appearance of the procedure.
The company's widely successful advanced color management training course, "Color through the Skin" was original designed for the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP) in the United States. The society contracted the Micro-Pigmentation Centre to develop a program that would enlighten their membership on cosmetic tattoo pigments and present it to them at their annual conference. They wanted the record set straight on Iron Oxides, Organics and Inorganic pigments and dispel any other misinformation that was being promoted throughout the industry.
What resulted was an educational forum that took on the structure of an interactive workshop and Power Point presentation designed and orchestrated to impress and educate even the most knowledgeable of technicians, tutor the newer members and in general ensure that everyone left with not simply new or different theories but with new, practical, hands on working knowledge and expertise.
The program was so well received and praised that it has since been integrated into the company's one day continued education training workshops and to date have been held in Las Vegas, Nevada, Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Equipment Evolution
Prior to electricity, the manual method to tattoo was used and in fairness, is still in use by many diehards to this day. The process lends itself more towards body art than cosmetic tattooing although some have made the transition. It uses a needle attached to a stick, generally bamboo, and it is tapped into the area either freehand or by being struck with another stick.
In the 1800's an electric machine was invented utilizing wrapped coils of copper which when energized allowed two contact points to move a bar holding a needle which oscillated the needle into the skin. For the most part the machine has not changed that drastically over the years and until recently it has been the preferred method for performing for both body and cosmetic tattooing.
The benefit of this style of machine when married with a proper power supply gave it all the muscle needed to successfully implant pigment to the correct depth with sufficient needle speed to be moderately comfortable on the client or patient. The negatives to this style of machine is the weight in that it is a relatively heavy unit to manipulate over a period. It is also very noisy having a high decibel rating which requires additional client management and third its antiquated design does not endear itself to the refined look of the Medical field or high tech Spas or Salons.
Enter the pen style machine in the early seventies which as history dictates owes its success more to its design than as an efficient tool. Originating in Taiwan it was brought to North America and sold into the aesthetic market allowing many people to enter the permanent make-up business. Considering what was available at the time its popularity is attributed to its physical design, lightness and quite operation, in effect, the total opposite of the two coil tattoo machine. Small and pristine, easily fitting into the small delicate hand of the majority of technicians it became the machine of choice to the unknowing. The downside speaks to the original comment in that it was the total opposite of the two coil unit. Whereas the two coil machine had the power to deposit the pigment to the correct depth, the pen does not. What results is a procedure that requires many touch-ups and a cosmetic tattoo that fades away.
For the conscientious technicians who attempt to make it work, they literally try to force the pigment into place, pushing down heavily on the machine which in turn causes trauma to the skin, abnormal bleeding and unneeded client pain and discomfort.
The original machine has been cloned by many manufacturers with different styles but unfortunately all with the same results. Some have promoted their product as a "semi-permanent make-up machine" which is a good marketing ploy to cover the shortcomings but not too comforting to the person without eyebrows who finally gets them only to loose them again, or the lady who underwent breast reconstruction with new areolas tattooed and then they fade away.
The world is controlled by computers for everything from a hand held BlackberryTM to the guidance systems on the Shuttle's Space Program. They are fast, accurate and they are reliable so it was only a matter of time that this industry would join the future.
The European market had digital tattoo machines for several years and the newest and latest to enter North America is the Nouveau Contour digitally controlled computerized tattoo machines. Made in Germany and sold and marketed through the Micro-Pigmentation Centre, these state of the art products bring together all of the power and qualities of the two coil tattoo machine plus the aesthetics of the pen style machine. Its appealing high tech design, light weight control and virtually noiseless operation is enhanced by the user's capability to control not only the speed of the needle but to maintain that speed and consistency under all types of skin conditions through the use of the onboard digitally controlled micro-processor.
Two models are available, the Digital 700 in medical white and the stainless steel "Intelligent" which is a more advanced design encompassing pre-set needle frequency selection buttons such as the "Medical" button for areola procedures, "Brow" button for eyebrows and so on. Both boast a patented needle design that comes in sterilized pouches, a design that prevents cross contamination and a needle that automatically retracts into the tube when the control is turned off. Pricing is commensurate with its performance, and the speed of operation cuts most procedures by 40% of the time which allows for a greater number of operations in a given day. Patient management is reduced considerably, the machine's speed of operations lessens the client's discomfort level and the professionally presented package ensures repeat business for other procedures.
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