Microblading is already an established cosmetic tattoo treatment. Some of the microblading facts are well-known, such as that it gives natural results of hair stroke brows, that it is done with a manual tool, that it requires certain aftercare, and a 6-8 weeks touch up, as well as that it fades after some time.
A recent debate that divided artists is how deep does microblading go and does it really fade completely. In which layer of the skin should the pigments be inserted to ensure proper retention, but not cause scarring? Let’s see what the debate is all about.
Epidermis or Dermis?
The skin structure consists of layers, the top one being the epidermis, then the dermis, and the bottom one is called the hypodermis. When it comes to traditional body tattoos, the ink is implanted into the second layer of the skin. That means that it will stay there permanently. Of course, some amount of ink will fade and blur, depending on the area where the tattoo is. Naturally, if it is on the face, it will fade more, but never completely.
But what about microblading? Some artists say that the pigments are implanted into the epidermis, while others claim that it is actually into the dermis. Here is how they explain it.
Should You Microblade in the Dermis?
The epidermis is very thin and consists of living cells so it constantly sheds and replaces the pigmented cells. Most artists claim that with microblading, the needles should go just under the basal membrane between the epidermis and the dermis. So, yes, basically you should microblade into the dermis.
Claims that confirm this theory explain that if the tattooing was done in the epidermis, the layer that is constantly regenerating, it would fade after the healing period, i.e. it would not last longer than 2 months. The dermis is the right spot, because the retention will be good.
Where Exactly in the Dermis?
The dermis also has several layers and the point is to find the sweet spot, as PMU artists call it. That spot is in the upper layer of the dermis, called the papillary dermis, just under the basal membrane between the two layers.
If you go more superficially than that, the retention will be poor and the microblading will disappear too soon. If you go deep into the hypodermis, it will spread and cause a blowout because that tissue is much less structured than the dermis.
Doesn’t That Make Microblading Permanent?
So, the question is – if microblading pigments are placed into the dermis like the traditional tattoo is, doesn’t that mean that microblading is permanent?
A lot of artists disagree on this as well. Microblading is advertised as semi-permanent and it is said to fade after about 2 years, but does it fade completely? Yes, there are cases when microblading completely disappears after 2 years or more, but in most cases, some residues stay.
The long-term effects of microblading are not that easy to predict. Some people will still have great eyebrows after two years, others will end up with an unattractive shade. Some may not be able to get rid of their microblading even after 5 years. That is why artists agree (although, not unanimously) that microblading should be called permanent, not semi-permanent. That it is a tattoo, a different kind, but still a tattoo.
Image source: Instagram @thebrowartisan
But Why Do Some Artists Say That Microblading Should be Done in the Epidermis?
The fact is that microblading fades faster than a regular, traditional tattoo, which is why some people refer to it as semi-permanent. Some artists believe that it is because it is done with pigments that have smaller molecules than tattoo ink. The body breaks them down faster than ink molecules.
Others believe that microblading is done in the epidermis or in the membrane between the two layers, and that this is the reason why it fades faster.
However, if it was done in the epidermis, it would fade very quickly, and frequent touch ups would be required, which is just a waste of money. So, microblading should be done in the dermis, but more superficially than the traditional tattoo and it fades faster because of the chemical structure of the pigments and the exposure of the area to sunlight, water, sweat, etc.
To Wrap It Up
Certified and licensed artists we talked to agree that the needle in PMU must hit the dermis. The PMU pigments are placed in the upper layer of the dermis, while tattoo ink is implanted a little bit deeper and that is why it stays longer. When it comes to fading, there is no guarantee that it will fade completely after a couple of years.
Cover image source: Pexels