Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Eyebrow Tattoos

Cancer takes so much . . .

My plastic surgeon who surgically placed the artificial breasts I now bear once said to me when I was stage 0, “I am glad you didn’t have to go through chemotherapy because women look so much older afterwards." Looking back, I think he should have refrained from saying that to me since there was no guarantee I would not have to have chemo one day. Now I know what he meant, unfortunately, about "looking older".

That was 10 years ago. I have had frequent visits from the chemotherapy drug Taxotere since that time. Although I am now 50, I do believe my treatments have made me look older than I would have if I had not had those visits.

Taxotere took my hair. After that treatment ended, my scalp hair returned. For reasons I am not sure of--except for possibly the chemo induced menopause--my eyebrows and eyelashes have been slow to return. As you can see from the picture below my eyebrow and eyelash hair are best described as nonexistent. It has been like this for almost two years.

One of my posts from a few weeks ago told the story of an offer made to me by an extremely nice woman. This woman is the owner of a hair removal business that also specializes in skin care and cosmetic tattooing.

Yesterday, I decided to take the plunge and let her do her magic.

I did it! I got a tattoo.

Well, not exactly.

Eyebrow tattoos, at least the kind I have, are not like body tattoos. The ink is plant-based. Many of the colors used in body tattoos have metals in the ink. Before I received my new brows I would wonder why each MRI technician always asked if I had any tattoos. Now I understand the reason for the question. MRI machines use magnets, so tattoos with metal in the ink don't mix well with those machines. The result, although rare, can be swelling or burning to the tattooed area. The images created can be unclear as well.

Body tattoos have another difference. They are done with a needle(s). Eyebrow tattoos are done with—well, something else.

When the session first began I cringed each time the tattooing instrument went across my skin despite the use of a numbing cream.

I asked, “What are you using--a razor?”

She said, “Yes.”

In which I responded, “It sure feels like a razor.”

I had no idea how the inking was done until she started the procedure. I didn’t ask because I assumed it would be with a needle. Instead, a razor cut very thin lines into my skin while ink filled the slits. Each individually inked-cut-line gives the illusion of hair.

The picture you are about to see is the beginning stages of my new face. These brows will heal and fade a little. It is my job to keep the area moist so the skin pushes out as little of the ink as possible. In 30 days, I will go in to have the final product perfected.

This is a lot better than the way it was done not too long ago. Eyebrow tattoos were done by filling in a desired shape with color. The new technique is a tremendous improvement.  

One interesting bit of trivia that I didn’t know I would ever use was used yesterday. I had learned that the left side of a person’s face is more animated than the right. For me, this is indeed fact. It is very hard to get eyebrows to be symmetrical when one eyebrow doesn’t cooperate. If I talked or smiled my left eyebrow would move into a new position. It was especially noticeable when I arrived home, looked in the mirror and tried to adjust to my new look.

Oh symmetry, my symmetry . . . where are you?

I do like having eyebrows again. My right one is my favorite. Can you tell that none of those lines are real hair? I hope that the lines can be tweaked so the left one looks more like the right one.

If my brows look shinny it is due to the Vaseline that must be applied and reapplied for 7 to 10 days so the area does not dry out. Once the skin is healed I will be able to get rid of the shine.

For any of you looking to have this procedure done, I encourage you. Mine are not exactly what I pictured beforehand, but overall it is close.

Now, what can I do about my eyelashes?  

I was told that the pain varies from person to person. For me, the pain caused me to grasp my hands tightly and scrunch up my toes. As time moved along, the pain lessened some but not completely. At least I wasn’t brought to tears.

** It has almost been a year since I had my eyebrows done. Unfortunately they have faded. Will I do it again? No. It didn't last long enough for me to spend the time it takes to have them done and to feel the that painful razor blade again. 


  1. Wow your new brows look fantastic! I didn't loose any hair from any of my chemo treatments but I have lost 2 teeth so far and 2 more are very very loose. I never did get breast reconstruction done and so often I regret not doing it.

  2. Good to hear from you. Thanks, Susan. It means a lot.
    My new brows are an improvement--I hope. It is nice not to worry about eyebrow pencil ending up somewhere on my face other than where it should be.
    I have heard people tell of losing teeth from chemo. I am so sorry to hear it has happened to you. Can anything be done to prevent further tooth loss?

  3. Amazing! I have been thinking of doing this for so long. Would you mind sharing the name/info of the woman who did yours?

    1. Jennifer, thanks for visiting my blog! Her name is Elizabeth Fisher of Laser Hair Removal & Skin Clinic, Inc. in Wilmington NC.

    2. Thank you! That's a little far for me to travel for eyebrows, but I'll reach out and see if she knows of anyone in the Phoenix area. I can't wait to see your final result!

  4. Looks very nice and natural! :)

  5. Thank you, Loreen, and I appreciate you leaving a comment.

  6. A trend is in the market for the fashion of eyebrow which sometimes act as a harmful for the eyes or it may be look very pretty,thank you so much for your great thoughts.

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