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Navigating PMU Corrections vs Saline Lightening

by Teryn Darling August 11, 2023

In the world of permanent makeup, the challenge of correcting a less-than-perfect previous work often arises, especially in an age when the industry is extremely saturated with young trainers and even younger artists. It prompts a critical question: "Can we enhance the existing work, or is it necessary to lighten the area before proceeding?" It's grounded in the fact that every time a needle touches the skin, a degree of scar tissue is formed. The more scar tissue, the lower the retention.

Our approach is strategic, balancing the potential risks and rewards of every correction. Thorough consultations and in-depth investigations become the norm. I analyze the area meticulously, considering how many layers of color have been applied, the specific technique employed (especially in the case of brows, whether it's microblading, powder/shading, or a combination), and the recency of the last procedure. Understanding the type of pigment used, whether it's organic, inorganic, or a hybrid with differences in molecule size, plays a crucial role.

A little stretch test is in order too. I stretch the effected area with my thumb and pointer finger. If the color is still solid, I know it'll be better to lighten first. If the color lessens, and the shape's workable, the color correction can begin.

I avoid unnecessary removal/lightening when the shape is amendable and the area isn't overly saturated. However, if the shape deviates significantly (e.g., two tails for brows, extreme asymmetry, overly close/far brows, or pigment placed in unintended areas), whether over-saturated or not, removal/lightening becomes essential. If the shape is workable but there's an abundance of pigment in the skin—what is known as over-saturation—full removal isn't the goal; lightening is. We must create space for the new pigment by extracting some of the old.

Attempting to tattoo and color correct an area already brimming with pigment leads to a deceiving outcome. Though the client might initially appear satisfied, once the tattoo heals, the new color won't adhere. In essence, it's like pouring water into a glass already filled to the brim. We need to empty some to make room for the fresh. Our aim in using the Li-FT® lightening solution (rather than lasers) is to reduce scar tissue, leading to superior retention when it's time for the re-tattoo.

It's a session-by-session journey. Roughly 30% of the pigment fades with each session, and I space these sessions at least eight weeks apart. This approach ensures the best possible outcome in the long run.


I remind my correction clients—results are as diverse as a candy store, and every correction rollercoaster's a process, not an instant makeover. We're taking it one session at a time, about 30% fading per session, with an 8-week minimum waiting period between sessions. Realistic expectations are vital, and I work diligently to bring those expectations to fruition. And in the end, they'll leave the studio knowing that each correction session brings us closer to that dreamy masterpiece.



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