Microblading implies dragging a thin blade through the skin. You already know this.
The technique essentially creates tiny injuries to the skin. You already know this, too.
But should those injuries be bleeding? And if so, how much? This is where things get confusing.
So let’s discuss whether bleeding during microblading is normal, why it occurs, and how much of it is to be expected.
Is Bleeding During Microblading Normal?
Microblading bleeding isn’t a problem as long as it’s not excessive. As the skin is broken, it’s natural that some blood might come out, just like it does in case of, say, a more intense paper cut.
So some oozing from the hair strokes is to be expected.
But it’s not just blood that comes out – lymphatic fluid is actually the first (and sometimes the only) secretion that comes out.
This is the body’s first response as it’s trying to form a scab and close up the wound as fast as possible so as to prevent the entrance of bacteria and other unwanted particles.
The secretion of lymph and blood upon any skin injury works something like this:
- If the cut is deep enough to break a blood vessel, there will be bleeding and lymph secretion.
- If the cut isn’t deep enough to break any blood vessels, there won’t be blood, but there will probably be some lymph, even if it’s not that noticeable.
- The point of lymph secretion (or one of the points anyway) is to allow the body to patch up the injury as fast as possible with as little blood loss as possible.
So as you can see, it’s impossible to talk about microblading bleeding without mentioning lymph secretion.
The point is, lymph is always to be expected; bleeding is a normal occurrence, but not in all clients, and only in certain amounts. Let’s get into that.
Image source: Instagram @microbladingartistry
How Much Microblading Bleeding Is Okay?
Artists usually describe the amount of blood that’s no cause for concern pinpoint bleeding.
So, tiny drops of blood that don’t really spill, either in certain spots on the stroke, or along the stroke.
Image source: Instagram @xara_beauty
Let’s Explain It
To truly understand how much bleeding during microblading is okay, we have to look at skin anatomy and what happens when a blade is dragged through the skin.
The ideal depth into which the blade should reach in order to implement pigments where they’ll look and fade the way they’re supposed to is about 0.08 mm to 0.15 mm, depending on the properties of the skin, primarily its thickness, which is unique in every person.
But these numbers don’t tell you much, right?
In practice, the blade should go just past the dermo-epidermal junction, the point at which the first and second layer of the skin meet. Artists like to call it the sweet spot.
In that thin stretch of tissue, thin tiny ends of blood vessels are found, and when they’re broken, blood comes out through the incisions.
Artists know they’ve reached this point due to the crisp sensation or pressure they’ll feel on their blade, which is sometimes followed by a crisp sound, kind of like a very thin paper being torn really quietly.
And pinpoint bleeding is another signal they keep track of. Some use it to determine whether they’re working in the right skin layer, but this is not a very reliable test.
Image source: Instagram @phibrows_by_ana
If you’re doing microblading the traditional way, where you dip the blade into pigment and make a stroke, it can be hard to determine how much bleeding there is, since it gets mixed up with the pigment.
So you might not realize just how much your client is bleeding unless you really pay attention.
This is one of the reasons some artists prefer to do bare microblading – making the strokes with a clean blade and then doing a pigment mask after each pass.
Is No Bleeding During Microblading Normal?
Yes, but it means you’ll have to look for other signs that you’re at the right depth – primarily the sensation on the blade.
Some clients bleed more than others, due to a number of reasons:
- How thick their skin is
- How developed their vascular system is
- Individual variations in the body’s blood clotting abilities.
No or very little bleeding doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not going deep enough. It might, but this shouldn’t be the only factor you’re keeping track of to determine your depth.
Pay close attention to how much tension there is against your blade, and see how the strokes behave when you spread them gently with your fingers.
Extra Note: Numbing Creams & Microblading Bleeding
Certain numbing creams contain epinephrine, a vasoconstrictor which makes blood vessels shrink where it’s applied. Shrunken blood vessels means more bleeding, so if you’re using such a product, you can automatically expect less bleeding during microblading.
How Much Microblading Bleeding Is Too Much?
As we said, tiny drops are fine, but anything that impedes your vision is too much.
If you notice there’s so much blood coming out of the incisions you can’t see what you’re doing, this is a signal that something’s not right and that you might need to stop the treatment.
Either your client’s skin is thinner than you initially thought and you’re going way too deep, or their blood has been too thinned out for some reason.
In the 1st scenario, you either have to minimize your pressure as much as possible and try to adjust your depth, or rethink microblading as a technique altogether and switch to machine strokes, all in order to prevent excessive skin trauma and scarring.
In the 2nd scenario, maybe your client takes blood thinners they didn’t report, or they had alcohol or coffee, which both thin out the blood, in the past 24 hours. If that’s the case, it’s possible that the blood might push out too much of the pigment and the results don’t “take”, so to say.
Image source: Instagram @bb.guru
What Do I Do If My Client Is Bleeding Excessively?
If you start doing the strokes and you see that the first few are bleeding more than the amount described and illustrated above, the first thing you need to do is reassess your pressure and try going in more gently and more shallowly.
You can also try switching to a thinner blade, i.e. a nanoblade. Read more about nanoblading here.
If there’s still a lot of bleeding, pause for a second and try to get to the cause.
Ask your client whether they followed your pre-care instructions. Double-check whether they took any blood-thinning meds, had any exfoliating facials, or consumed fish oil supplements, alcohol or coffee in the past 24 hours.
Image source: Instagram @morelovepatience via @klerrosenberg
From there, you can decide whether to stop the treatment and re-schedule or go through with it.
While temporary blood-thinness may not be a health or safety hazard, it can diminish the success of the treatment.
First, too much bleeding can disrupt your vision, and if you can’t see what you’re doing, you can’t be as precise. Yes, you can wipe frequently to try and overcome this obstacle, but this will irritate the skin and drag out the treatment.
Then, you can’t really count on good pigment retention if a significant flow of blood is constantly pushing the pigment back out.
Plus, a lot of blood can mean the formation of thick scabs, which can cause patchiness to emerge during the healing process. Find more info on why thick scabbing after microblading is problematic in this article.
Our advice would be, if something isn’t going quite right, it’s best to stop and reschedule, to be safe. Especially if you’re a beginner and don’t have much experience troubleshooting.
Should My Client Be Bleeding After Microblading?
Generally speaking, no, but some tiny amounts are no cause for concern.
The length of time that passes between the last pass you do and the moment your client leaves your salon should be more than enough for their brows to stop bleeding, since the incisions are so tiny.
They may notice some extra traces of blood when they get home, but they should be dried up by then. This is technically more of a scab than an active bleeding.
Our Honest Advice for the End
We strongly advise all aspiring microblading artists to make sure they know their skin anatomy before they start taking clients. While most introductory microblading courses do cover the basics of it, this may not be enough.
Unless you come from a background of tattooing or dermatology, you have to put some extra effort into learning the more medical side of microblading. Because, after all, you’re making incisions on a person’s face, and there’s a lot that can go wrong if you’re not 100% sure about what you’re doing.
There are separate courses you can take that focus on skin anatomy for PMU artists specifically.