Corrective Pigment Camouflage Part II
By: Susan Church, C.C.P.C.
This information is part 2 in a 3 part series. It consists of distinguishing skin undertones, patch and sensitivity tests and time frame application to application.
Natural pigments are classified as melanin's. Melanin is comprised of molecules that are capable of reflecting color. The perceived color of our skin is caused by the reflection of light on our skin known as light refraction. Neuromelanin (brown/black), and Phomelanin (yellow/red), are two types of melanin. Melanocyctes produce melanin which are the amin cells responsible for the color of our eyes, hair and skin. These cells are located in the basal layer of the epidermis. They synthesize red, brown and yellow melanin biochromes (melanin) and are the major determinants of skin color. The biochromes (melanin) are the major determinants of skin color. The biochromes include carotene which incorporates the yellow or yellow-orange color in the skin, oxygenated hemoglobin, which incorporates the red color in the skin and deoxygenated hemoglobin, which incorporates the blue color in the skin. Normal differences in our skin colors are determined by the intensity of the pigmentation, or melanin production.
The basic undertones of our skin does not change. Certain conditions may affect the appearance of a persons skin. Client consultation as well as each application visit should include updated information on recent illness, change in your diet and medication, fatigue, excess smoking and alcohol consumption along with the use of self-tanning creams, tanning beds and natural sun tanning.
In our clinic we use several methods of determining skin undertones. 'Color With Style' by Donna Fujii and an invaluable tool called the 'Color Undertone Chart' from Tri-Lab Products. It has 4 8x10 pockets of color that represent pink, yellow, olive and blue skin undertones. Actual beads of our pigment color are dropped onto a white sheet of white paper and then laminated. These color charts are then inserted into the cool/warm pockets of simulated skin undertones. This is the best method for determining how the color will look once it is implanted and reverted back to its natural state in the skin. The charts are made to slide in and out of the pockets to check on the difference each skin undertone has on the pigment color. These charts will help in determining the underlying harmony existing between the skin, eyes and hair. This system is based on 'Munsell Color Theory'. Munsell recognizes that color has three dimensions, Hue, Value and Chroma. A thorough analysis of skin undertones is vital in order to successfully custom blend colors on an individual patient basis. The reference book 'Permanent Cosmetics A to Z' defines the proper protocol from CPC procedures in depth with reference to proper utilization of pigment and needle cluster application.
For accurate color results, a patch and sensitivity test is given directly in the procedural area. Using a machine we insert 7-8 implants of iron oxide pigments superficially into the epidermal tissue. To ensure optimal outcome, we perform several different color tests for variegated skin tones and modify our color value as needed. Pigment should be placed into the epidermis (for minimum color retention) that will be sloughed off within 3-8 weeks. We utilize this method of application in case of inappropriate color choices. Even if we know that we have a valid color match for a patient's skin done, we will patch test, and let the area heal for 4-8 weeks. Changes or additions in any medications may alter the chemistry of the body rendering our initial patch and sensitivity test inaccurate. Before inserting pigment, it is advisable to take the patient outside into the natural daylight. This will enable your technician to have optimum visual clarity,, which is the best perception of the pigment color they have chosen. The next best type of lightning is daylight bulbs, vita-lights or true white lights.
When the you return 4-8 weeks post consultation, the technician will evaluate the results and discuss the results with you. You and the technician should thoroughly discuss healed colors from patch and sensitivity testing. Does the color look too ash? too pink? Or does it blend to the surrounding tissue. When you and the technician agree on the most flattering skin tones with consideration to color chroma, hue and value, application may begin. If you cannot agree on matching tones, the technician should repeat the patch test application again.
After every application, the pigment will revert back to its original state, dry. Only then will we have accurate final color results. All permanent cosmetic and CPC procedures are combinations of your pigment color plus your skin undertones. These two combinations will equal your final color
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Make sure that your technician is using products, including pigments and equipment with high quality. The base ingredient of most pigments is generally the same. We suggest only using cosmetic grade iron oxide pigments or lakes for all CPU procedures.
We ask you not to wear perfume on application day and to consume a light meal before the application, especially if they are going to take any pain medication. We always have soft melodic music playing. Andrea Bocelli, Enya and Yanni have great soothing CD's. Patients are given the choice of wearing a disposable gown or they may stay in their street clothes, depending on the procedure area and how extensive our application will be. We diffuse the room with essential oils that will consist of either orange or lavender for relaxation. Other oils that may be used for their sedating properties are sandalwood, chamomile or eucalyptus. These essential oils are absorbed through the lung tissue. We also offer the patient a calming blend of teas. We prefer Valerian Root Tea for its calming effect. Some technician's prefer to give you apple juice or have you take a Motrin, or a sublingual of Valerian Root and Kava Kava. (Technicians may not give patients any medication). We also offer a headset or earplugs. In the cooler months, we wrap our patients in sheets with their feet tucked in. I have had positive feedback from my patients that these small gestures help them to relax and yet feel secure.
Technicians must evaluate each area to be re-pigmented and should discuss the color tones that were applied at the consultation application. The technician should check your medical file, and refer back to the course of treatment from consultant day. You should notify the technician if any information on the Procedure and Consent or Medical Forms have changed since their initial application.
Before application, the technician should check you for gradient skin tones and inspect the procedure area to ensure there are no open lesions, rashes or other irregularities. To prepare the skin for the application, the technician should cleanse the area in order to destroy bacteria and also remove any make-up left on the procedural areas. The technician usually waits until the 2nd or 3rd appointment to apply any nuances ie beard simulation, freckles and capillaries.
Post procedure appointments should be scheduled at 5-8 week intervals. You may return sooner if the technician is re-pigmenting various areas. The technician cannot work on the same procedure area until it is completely healed. Touch-up appointments are critical for any fine detail work. You may request or to create any subtle additions or corrections in pigment color.
Informed and educated technicians should be able to understand the specific needs of each patient. Understanding that each patient is different the technician must review each person individually.
C.P.C. is an advanced procedure and proper education is essential for satisfactory results.
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