What is Microblading?
Microblading is a semi-permanent tattooing technique where a special handheld tool made of multiple tiny needles is used to deposit pigment into the upper layers of skin. This creates hair-like strokes that mimic natural brow hairs to fill in sparse or thinning brows. The results typically last 1-3 years before fading.
How is Microblading Done?
During a microblading session, a technician first shapes and trims the brows. Then a numbing cream is applied to reduce discomfort. Using a handheld microblading pen, the technician makes light, feather-like strokes to deposit pigment into the superficial layers of skin. Most sessions take 2-3 hours to complete. Generally 2 sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart are needed to achieve desired results.
While microblading does not last permanently, it typically lasts 1-3 years before fading. Results vary based on factors like skin type and lifestyle. Oily skin tends to fade pigment faster.
Why Does Microblading Fade?
Microblading is designed to fade over time. There are a few reasons for this:
Natural Skin Exfoliation
The top layer of skin naturally sheds and regenerates over time. This process of exfoliation causes the microblading pigment deposited in the upper dermis to gradually fade. More rapid skin cell turnover leads to faster fading.
Depth of Pigment Deposit
Microblading only deposits pigment into the uppermost layers of skin. It does not penetrate deep into the dermis like a traditional tattoo. This shallow placement is what allows the results to fade much quicker.
Spreading of Pigment
As the skin naturally exfoliates and regenerates, the microblading pigment spreads slightly and becomes less concentrated. This diffusion leads to softer, lighter results over time.
Exposure to UV rays from sunlight and tanning beds can accelerate fading of microblading pigment. The UV radiation breaks down pigment particles faster.
What Creams Can Speed Up Fading of Microblading?
While microblading naturally fades over time, there are products that can speed up the fading process if desired. Here are some options:
Exfoliating Chemical Peels
Chemical exfoliating peels with ingredients like glycolic acid or vitamin C help accelerate skin cell turnover. More rapid exfoliation helps fade microblading pigment faster. Light superficial peels are safest for at-home use.
Retinol creams boost collagen production and increase skin cell regeneration. This leads to faster “sloughing off” of pigmented skin cells. Start with an over-the-counter retinol cream and use 2-3 times per week. Avoid irritation.
AHA and BHA Acids
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic or lactic acid gently dissolve the bonds between skin cells to encourage faster exfoliation. Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid help loosen and shed pigmented skin cells by exfoliating within the pore. AHAs and BHAs can help fade microblading faster when used a few times weekly.
Hydroquinone is a depigmenting agent used to lighten areas of hyperpigmentation. It works by inhibiting melanin production. Hydroquinone creams prescribed by a dermatologist may help reduce microblading pigment but must be used carefully to avoid irritation.
Laser or IPL Treatments
Laser or IPL (intense pulsed light) treatments can help break up microblading pigment faster so it can be eliminated from the skin more quickly. Multiple sessions are usually needed for gradual fading. Only get laser treatments done by an experienced provider.
Things to Avoid
While using creams to accelerate fading, avoid the following as they can potentially aggravate the skin and cause complications:
– Picking or scratching the microbladed area
– Using creams with harsh chemicals that damage the skin barrier
– Applying retinols or chemical exfoliants too frequently, which can cause irritation
– Getting laser treatments done by an inexperienced technician
– Prolonged sun exposure or tanning which can damage skin and cause hyperpigmentation
Home Care for Fading Microblading
Use Broad Spectrum SPF Daily
Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+ over microbladed brows daily to protect from UV rays which cause fading. Reapply every 2 hours if outdoors.
Use a very mild, pH-balanced cleanser to gently cleanse the microbladed area 1-2 times daily. Avoid scrubbing.
Apply a Rich Moisturizer
Keep skin well-hydrated by applying a fragrance-free moisturizer 1-2 times daily. Oily creams work best to replenish moisture and prevent flaking.
Do not pick, peel, scratch or scrub the treated area as this can remove color prematurely and lead to poor healing.
Steer clear of products containing retinoids, AHAs, BHAs, and hydroquinone for at least 2 weeks post-microblading while healing. Later these can help accelerate fading.
How to Speed Up Fading Aftercare
Once microblading has healed fully (after 4-6 weeks), the following can help speed up fading of pigment:
Use a Retinoid Cream
Apply an over-the-counter retinoid cream sparingly over microbladed brows 2-3 nights per week. Retinoids accelerate cell turnover to fade pigment faster.
Use a chemical exfoliant like a glycolic acid peel 1-2 times per week to encourage faster skin cell shedding. Do not over-exfoliate.
Consider Laser Sessions
For more dramatic fading, have laser removal sessions every 4-6 weeks to help break up stubborn microblading pigment. Multiple treatments are usually needed.
Protect Skin Daily
Continue using broad spectrum SPF 30+ and moisturizer daily to maintain skin integrity. Avoid sun damage.
Fading vs Removal: What’s the Difference?
Fading refers to the gradual, natural lightening of microblading pigment over time. Removal is the active process of using products like chemical peels or laser treatments to speed up fading of pigment.
The main differences between fading and removal are:
|Occurs naturally over time as pigment breaks down in skin||Accelerated fading through use of actives like chemical peels and lasers|
|Does not require use of any topical products or procedures||Use of topical creams, chemical peels, laser treatments to speed up pigment fading|
|Gradual lightening over months/years||Faster results in weeks/months with treatments|
|No risk of adverse side effects||Potential for irritation or post-inflammatory pigment change|
Choosing Fading vs Removal
Whether you choose to let microblading fade naturally or use removal methods comes down to personal preference on:
– Desired timeframe – fading takes longer (1-3 years) vs removal being faster (weeks to months)
– Budget – removal procedures like laser cost more compared to letting pigment fade slowly over time
– Side effects – removal methods have higher risk of irritation vs fading naturally being gentler
– Convenience – fading happens passively over time while removal requires active effort
Discuss options with your artist or dermatologist to decide what suits your needs best. More urgent fading may warrant removal procedures like laser.
Can Microblading Be Completely Removed?
While microblading pigment is designed to fade over time, it is possible to completely remove it with repeated treatments such as:
Laser Tattoo Removal
Laser breaks up pigment particles so they can be eliminated. It takes several treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart but can fully remove microblading. Q-switched and picosecond lasers designed for tattoo removal are most effective.
Saline or Glycolic Acid Tattoo Removal
Saline or glycolic acid solution is tattooed over the microblading to pull out pigment. This chemical removal method also requires multiple treatments but can fully eliminate microblading.
Dermabrasion involves abrading the top layer of skin using a rapidly rotating device. As skin heals it pushes out microblading pigment remnants. Several sessions are needed for full removal.
Permanent make-up like microblading can be removed fully over time. Patience is needed as it is a gradual fading process requiring multiple treatments for complete eradication of pigment.
Pros and Cons of Microblading Removal
Microblading removal has advantages and disadvantages to consider:
|Fades pigment faster than natural fading||More expensive than letting it fade slowly|
|Allows changing brow shape or color sooner||Multiple removal sessions usually needed|
|Helpful if poor microblading results||Risk of irritation, scarring or post-inflammatory pigment|
|Option to have brows redone after removal||Downtime after treatments during healing|
– Microblading removal can be done but requires multiple treatments over weeks or months for full fading of pigment.
– The most common methods used are laser, saline or glycolic acid solution tattoo removal. All involve “tattooing” over the brows to draw out ink.
– Removal has risks like irritation and pigmentation issues. Natural fading is gentler but takes 1-3 years for results.
– Discuss expectations and risks thoroughly with your removal technician before starting treatments.
How Much Does Microblading Removal Cost?
Microblading removal costs depend on factors like:
– Method used – Laser is most expensive, other methods like saline removal are cheaper
– Number of sessions needed – Can be 3-10 sessions spaced weeks apart for full results
– Provider experience level – Doctor’s offices are pricier than med spas or tattoo removal clinics
Here are typical price ranges:
|Removal Method||Cost Per Session|
|Laser Removal||$200 – $500|
|Saline or Glycolic Removal||$100 – $300|
|Dermabrasion||$300 – $800|
With multiple sessions required over weeks or months, the total cost for full microblading removal often ranges from $500 – $2000.
– Laser removal is the most effective but most expensive option.
– Alternative chemical removal methods like saline and glycolic acid tend to cost less per session.
– You get what you pay for – more experienced providers charge more but offer better results and safety.
– Get a detailed breakdown of expected sessions needed and total cost before starting removal.
How to Speed Up Microblading Fading At Home
If you want to speed up fading of microblading at home between removal sessions, you can try:
Use a Retinoid Cream
Apply a retinoid like differin gel or retinol cream sparingly over brows 2-3 nights per week. Retinoids increase skin cell turnover.
Gently exfoliate brows every 2-3 days using an AHA peel pad to slough off pigmented skin cells faster. Do not over-exfoliate.
Apply Lemon Juice
Dab fresh lemon juice on brows and let sit 10 minutes before rinsing. The acidity helps break down pigment. Do not overuse.
Spot apply a 2% hydroquinone lightener on brows for 1 week on/1 week off. Helps inhibit further melanin production.
Try DIY Sugar Scrubs
Make a paste using sugar and water or lemon juice. Gently rub on brows 3-5 minutes before rinsing to remove pigmented skin.
Be very gentle when attempting to fade microblading at home. Aggressive DIY removal can damage skin and cause scarring or infection. See a professional for best results.
While microblading brows creates beautiful semi-permanent results lasting 1-3 years, the pigment will gradually fade over time. Using products like chemical exfoliants, retinoids, hydroquinone creams, and professional treatments such laser or saline removal can speed up the fading process if desired.
With patience and proper aftercare, microblading brows can be faded or fully removed to allow fresh results. Discuss your options with a technician to determine the safest methods that best meet your removal needs and expectations. Proper fading or removal allows fresh microblading results to be done after old pigment is eliminated.