Adding Innovation to Body Art is Making People Feel Whole Again

Paramedical tattooists give cancer survivors and others emotional healing with their amazing results.

Mar 3, 2020
Adding Innovation to Body Art is Making People Feel Whole Again | Paramedical tattooists give cancer survivors and others emotional healing with their amazing results.

In 2020, more tattooists are turning their attention to offering “paramedical tattoos”, using flesh-toned pigments to help people heal emotionally. Also known as medical tattooing or medical micropigmentation, this technique sees tattoo artists carefully applying lasting color to the skin to minimize the visible effects of medical treatment or skin trauma caused by disease or accidents.  And they are doing this with miraculous results.

Cancer survivors who have lost eyebrows after treatment, for instance, or people who had to self-consciously go about their daily lives with visible scars that invited stares, are sharing how the techniques of these skilled tattoo artists are restoring their confidence, their body image and so their lives.

The applications are numerous

Paramedical tattoos are being used innovatively to treat different conditions.

Scar camouflage helps reduce the visibility of scars from accidents, burns or surgery. Paramedical tattoos are also used to cover up stretch marks after pregnancy, and to conceal the repair of congenital disorders like cleft palate. They can also help people with skin pigmentation disorders such as vitiligo.

Body art resembling hair is restoring the appearance of missing hair lost to disease (cancer or alopecia) and trauma.

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Tattoos also work to help restore the look of natural thinning within an eyebrow, mustache or scalp due to ageing.

Paramedical tattoos are even being used to restore some of the appearance of lost body parts. “Reconstructive camouflage” helps return confidence to post-mastectomy patients treated for breast cancer, by creating a nipple and areola on the newly reconstructed breast. Other tattoo artists are recreating the appearance of fingernails.

And medical professionals are increasingly on board. Neurosurgeon, Dr. Jandial, for instance, emphasized in an interview with KTLA5 on February 25, how paramedical tattoos help patients heal emotionally. He discussed how treating patients with scars and stretch marks this way is doing wonders for their body image.

Spotlighting two paramedical tattooist heroes

Instead of creating tattoos to help people stand out, US tattooist, Kaety Bowers, is using them to help her clients blend in, and physically feel like themselves again: “They’ve lost their hair, they lose their eyebrows, their eyelashes, and you can just give them back even just a little piece of that, it makes them feel beautiful,” Bowers told 41 Action News. Leukemia survivor, Whitney Myer, shared how this tattooist’s paramedical tattoos helped get her life back on track: “I was super paranoid, and nervous about it. I lost all my hair (this is a wig), I had no facial hair, no eyebrows.” After her treatment she got her eyebrows, and more importantly, herself back. “Just putting eyebrows on your face, all of a sudden, I was like OMG, I feel alive. It sounds so crazy but it really just like livens you up!” she reveals.

Eric Catalano is another US tattooist specializing in paramedical tattoos. He explained to the New York Times that a request from a passing client who had lost two fingers in a construction accident for a fingernail design on these two fingertips started humorously. But the mood quickly changed. “Everything turned from funny to wow” when Catalano’s work impressed everyone with its hyper-realism, went viral and his reputation spread.

Today, Catalano doesn’t charge for paramedical tattoos, donating his skills on what he calls “Wellness Wednesday” with the help of a GoFundMe page. He considers that his work picks up where doctors leave off. “I feel blessed, and I feel thankful every time I get to do one of these,” he shares.

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Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.