We would like to dedicate this blog to raising awareness of the possible PMU dangers, and to respond to Lisa Guerrero's video where Everlasting Brows was tagged, we feel it is our duty to comment. You can find the original link to the video at the bottom of this blog.
Let me walk you through the background story. Firstly, it is important to note, that Lisa (our heroine) did not have an Everlasting Brows service done, Lisa who reports on & investigates beauty services on social media and youtube, is a successful journalist, actress and a model with a specific interest. Her experience however, was not very fortunate when she decided to vlog on a permanent make up service, and instead what should have been a positive, life changing journey, ended up in infection, inflammation, and an adverse reaction following her service at a clinic in USA. Just like most clients looking for PMU or microblading services, Lisa was unaware of what could possibly go wrong when trusting the artist with her precious eyebrows and face.
Everlasting Brows attention to this case, was brought after a tag on Lisa's "Microblading investigation" youtube video, boldly suggesting that only medically qualified staff should be performing Permanent make up services. I would even go as far as saying that Lisa has become an advocate for the cause after her youtube video attracted close to 20k views.
In the photo, you can see Lisa post service (not Everlasting Brows work) starting to develop an infection on her left brow.
I consulted the 'Everlasting Brows' company Founder, International event Speaker, and Educator; Monika Ludwiczak, who is an ambassador for safe PMU & microblading services, with almost 10 years of expertise, she was kind enough to comment on Lisa's experience, and shed some light on this particular case.
To Monika, it was quickly clear, that some practices displayed by the nurse who performed Lisa's PMU service, were questionable, and might have been the reason why infection occurred. Immediately I knew, that we must make our findings available for winder audiences, therefore if you are either an artist looking to expand your knowledge or a potential client wondering what you should look out for to avoid unpleasant experiences, this article will provide you with the red Flags to consider and look out for, before booking your PMU or microblading service.
During "Microblading Service Investigation" Lisa mentions that she dedicated a considerable effort into extensive research of her potential PMU artist, reading reviews, analysing before & after photos, as well as making sure the artist was a qualified nurse, which was important to Lisa before she would sign up for the service to be performed.
Are you safer in the hands of a nurse or a doctor performing the service?
I think it is an important question, and although a lot of you would probably say 'Yes', I must point out that this service is indeed 'invasive' and although any prior medical training is welcomed, it is not imperative, as any good PMU training will cover all relative skin and human anatomy, contraindications and reactions. Often what's more important, is whether the person performing the service fully understands how to avoid cross contamination and infection, and most importantly, the technique used to achieve both safe and aesthetically pleasing results. And although a nurse would have a good understanding of the skin, potential risks and how to avoid cross contamination, this would not necessarily make them a good permanent make up artists.
Despite the fact that Lisa opted for a service to be done by a qualified nurse, in the video we spotted some worrying moments that we would like to share.
To begin with, we can see that although the disposable procedure tray was prepared correctly, with all of the disposable items present, however, later on, we see that Lisa is lying down on a regular towel, rather than a disposable fluid proof bib, that would normally be used in a hospital setting. More so, there is no evidence of any disposable cover for the bed either. Additionally, Lisa was also wrapped with another towel on the top. "Permanent make up is not a service where you can reuse items, and all the Everlasting Brows Students are trained to ensure they understand blood borne pathogens, and the importance of correct procedure practices to avoid cross-infection and cross-contamination" says Monika Ludwiczak (Everlasting Brows Founder). "Towels are not normally used as disposable items, and even if they were in this instance, they are not fluid proof and therefore would be inappropriate to be used for the service." she added.
Interestingly, the tray set up we see at the beginning seems to be there as a display, as the actual product and items were not used in Lisa's procedure. Watch the Tina Davies disposable tool being featured at the set up, but during the actual service we see the artist using a non-disposable microblading tool, that was not individually wrapped for sterility and perhaps was not sterilised either before use.
"Clients should request for any items to be opened in front of them, making sure products are properly sealed, are single-use, and have batch numbers of when the sterilisation was performed, this is a requirement in many states as well as countries," says Monika Ludwiczak.
Another major reason why Lisa could have suffered the reaction she had, was due to the pigment used. Sadly the video does not feature the brand at this time, and it makes us think of the worst case scenario. Besides knowing who is going to be performing your service, you should also look out for what products will be used on your skin, especially pigments, as your skin will contain it during the healing process. Pigment's of unknown origins often include allergens, heavy metals, or ingredients that are not pure; all of which could not only cause an allergy, infection, unwanted tones, such as blue, grey, red and pink eyebrows, but can also result in the poor retention of the pigment and procedure, "I cannot stress how important it is to always use the finest, and purest ingredients when choosing pigments, made by a reputable certified laboratory, and tested extensively, as we do" said Monika.
Furthermore, Lisa was given after-care balm by her PMU artist, which is a standard procedure, however, before using any products, we advise our clients to investigate the ingredients to make sure that they are not allergic to any that are present. Besides that, to avoid a reaction post PMU service and to increase the retention, the balm needs to be used when absolutely necessary (or as prescribed) and only using clean q-tip, additionally we also recommend to gently wipe off the previous layer of balm, grease and dirt, before applying another layer over.
Sadly, we did not see Lisa following the hygiene routine of eyebrow aftercare, furthermore when she realised that something was not quite right and a possible reaction developing, instead of referring to her PMU artist or a doctor, she turned for advice from a friend, who suggested for Lisa to use an antibiotic cream. Lisa took the advise and began a course of an antibiotic ointment on her freshly microbladed eyebrows, which resulted in agitation to the already present reaction, because (as she later found out) she was allergic to that particular ointment used.
When Lisa finally sought professional help, her eyebrows looked like something out of a horror scene, Everlasting Brows Founder Monika Ludwiczak, admitted that she had not seen a reaction so severe despite servicing thousands of clients, and looking after hundreds of students across the world. Matters began to improve when Lisa's doctor ordered her to stop using the antibiotic cream, and prescribed a course of antibiotics that helped to clear the infection for good.
What caused Lisa's adverse reaction to microblading is difficult to say; it could have been her touching her eyebrows on a number of occasions during the video, with her bare hands (often not sterile enough to be used on open skin), therefore introducing a possible infection. It could have been the particular tools or the set up that the artist prepared, as we witnessed her breaking some basic safety procedure requirements. Or perhaps it was the pigment, the aftercare balm, or any other products used during the service, all of which must be chosen with care by the artist. Finally, it could also have been the antibacterial ointment. Saying that, one thing is for sure, the fact that Lisa chose a nurse for the job, unfortunately, did not guarantee the results she would have hoped for.
In conclusion, what to look out for when choosing an artist to do your PMU treatment?
- Make sure they are trained by a reputable company
Whilst looking for someone from a medical background might seem like a good idea, it might not necessarily mean that they are good PMU artists. You need to look out for someone that is well experienced in that particular service, who has undergone an in-depth PMU & Microblading training from a reputable company, has a the proper certification to prove that, and also make sure they have completed blood born pathogen modules, so they have the most basic understanding necessary to provide the service. Sadly, it is common for us to see that artists do not have a clue about safety protocol when performing these types of treatments, and it is our mission statement to raise the general standards in the PMU/ Microblading industry.
- Fall in love with their before and after examples
Once you have found a PMU artist that seems to have undergone all the proper training, do stalk their photos. Make sure you see enough high quality before/after photos before booking an appointment. And do not fall for a common trap; do not get blinded by one good example as it is possible your artists is using someone else's work to claim as theirs, make sure images and the quality of work is consistent throughout. You must love their work to book with them.
- Enquire about the tools and products that are going to be used, and do not feel bad about asking questions
You must find out some information about tools and products that the artist in question is using. You need to make sure that your artist is using disposable, single-use tools that are in the wrapper or unbroken sterile packaging before the service. Are they using reputable brands? Are they proudly displaying their products?
- Remember, unwanted PMU colour tones are achieved by unstable pigments, not by bad artists.
Another major thing you as a client or improving artist must look out for, is good quality pigments. You must research the pigment, and not just in terms of the colour, but what is inside the pigment itself. If the pigment perhaps is not very pure or maybe they contain heavy metals, or perhaps the preservatives of the pigment contain a very common allergen, all of these factors must be considered when getting a PMU treatment done. Therefore, please always make sure you are researching the pigment that an artist is looking to use, request stability reports of pigments, as only reputable brands will be able to produce such. If you want to request an ingredients list to make sure there are no heavy metals, carcinogenic ingredients, or common allergens in the pigment, you should not be denied this information.
- Permanent make up after care
This one is on you guys, you must follow the proper aftercare; the correct aftercare is to gently wash your eyebrows, in the morning & evening (and by wash we mean wipe over with wet q-tip). Try not to apply anything to the area, or a small amount of moisturising/healing balm which should be provided to you by your artist. This should be applied with a clean cotton-bud every time without fail. This should never be applied whilst being outside, shopping or out and about. No makeup should be used in the treated area for 7 to 10 days after the procedure (unless developed for open skin), as well as not be touching the treated area.
Look for reputable artists, education and products, avoid cases such as Lisa's and enjoy the PMU and microblading for what it should be - an outstanding method for enhancing your natural beauty.
For Everlasting Brows services, products or education, please visit www.everlastingbrows.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisas Video for a Reference: