As your skin is recovering from the incisions made for microblading, scab formation is a normal step in the healing process. The body perceives the strokes made as wounds, and creates a protective barrier over them to allow them to heal properly.
Light, filmy scabbing is, therefore, totally normal and expected. Heavy scabbing is not.
After microblading heavy scabbing might occur for some clients, and depending on the cause behind it and how the scabs are treated, it can be very problematic.
So let’s talk about microblading heavy scabbing, how to prevent it, and what to do if it does happen.
Why Does Microblading Heavy Scabbing Happen?
Microblading implies cutting into the skin – making incisions that look like brow hairs by dragging a thin blade through it, and filling them with pigment. The blade goes relatively shallow, into the dermis, and as a result, the skin starts oozing lymph, and even some blood during the procedure, and this continues after the treatment.
The secretions will clot on the surface of the wound and form a barrier.
The lymph secretion and clotting are normal, but in order to ensure the best possible microblading results, there are ways to minimize it.
Here are the main reasons why microblading heavy scabbing can happen:
The Wound Wasn’t Cleaned Properly
The lymph is secreted in order to create a protective barrier over the incisions. The micro-wounds can’t close up instantly, so lymph is secreted for several hours. During this time, it has to be dabbed off regularly, before it’s had time to dry up.
If the lymph isn’t cleaned off frequently enough, it will build up and dry, meaning it will form a thicker protective layer. If you bleed more during the treatment (some people simply bleed more, even if the blade doesn’t go deeper than it should), the blood will get mixed in with the lymph and the scab will be even thicker.
There’s also the skin type factor to take into account. If the skin is oilier, it means it naturally produces more sebum. The sebum extracted in the brow area also mixes with the lymph, and can contribute to heavy microblading scabbing.
To prevent all these fluids from building up, they have to be cleaned off several times a day for the first day or 2, using a damp cotton pad (just a few drops of sterile water). Only dab, don’t rub and dry them afterward with a dry pad.
Here’s a detailed overview of microblading aftercare.
Image source: Freepik
The Aftercare Ointment Wasn’t Used Properly
The so-called wet healing for microblading involves using a special aftercare ointment to moisturize the freshly done brows in the first 2 weeks.
To understand why the ointment is important for preventing microblading heavy scabbing, we’ll have to turn to physiology once again:
- When the skin is broken, the body starts secreting lymph to make a barrier over the injury.
- To allow for proper barrier formation, the fresh wound needs to be moistened. It will secrete more or less lymph.
- If an aftercare ointment is applied to the wound, the body gets the signal that moisture in the area is sufficient, and the skin secretes much less lymph.
- As a result, the scab formed will be thinner. The components of the aftercare ointment will also make it more supple, and it will be evened out into a consistently thin layer – a film.
So, if you want to prevent heavy scabbing after microblading, wet healing is definitely a better choice than dry healing, which excludes the aftercare ointment.
The proper wet healing method means cleaning the area from lymph every couple of hours and applying a thin coat of ointment over it. The next time you clean your brows, you will dab off the previously applied ointment, and apply a fresh coat.
But the use of the ointment can go wrong in another way. Artists emphasize it’s very important to only apply a very thin layer of the ointment, just enough to keep the area moist (a rice grain-sized amount if enough). But clients sometimes go overboard and apply too much. If the wounds are covered with a thick layer of ointment, they’ll get suffocated, so to say.
The wound won’t be able to breathe and it won’t get enough oxygen, which slows down the healing. A thick layer is very difficult to dab off entirely, so residues keep piling on, contributing to a thick layer forming.
You can find more information on wet microblading healing in this article.
Image source: Freepik
If the healing process goes right, the brows will form very thin scabs which will start flaking off once the tissue underneath has healed. This will entail some itching, dryness and discomfort, but nothing intense.
However, just like any other skin injury, freshly microbladed brows can get infected. Contamination can happen during the procedure, if the tools used were not completely sterile or the skin isn’t cleaned thoroughly enough before cutting into it, or afterwards, in the window after finishing the procedure and the protective scab film forms.
Factors that can cause contamination are:
- Touching the brows with your fingers
- Using unsterile cotton pads or q-tips to clean and moisturize the brows
- Applying makeup in the area
- Sleeping on a non-clean pillowcase
- Swimming in a pool.
Basically, any contact between the brows and an unsterile surface is an opportunity for bacteria to enter the wound, where it will further develop.
The body’s response to bacterial contamination is inflammation and increased lymph production. As a result, heavy microblading scabbing happens.
Here’s a guide through microblading gone wrong.
Why Is Heavy Microblading Scabbing a Problem?
2 things can go wrong if you get heavy scabbing after microblading: infection and poor pigment retention.
Let’s explain each.
An infection can cause microblading heavy scabbing, but it also works the other way round. A thick microblading scab traps all sorts of impurities: dust, germs, sebum. These contaminators don’t always stay on the surface – they can get into the wounds.
Such a moist, hot environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
If you notice your brows are burning, itching extremely, swelling up, bleeding, oozing pus, or any type of rash starts breaking out in the area, contact your artist immediately and see a dermatologist.
Poor Pigment Retention
The scab that forms over freshly done brows will inevitably contain some pigment, and when the scabs flake off, that portion of the pigment will go with them.
Thin scabs coming off with a little bit of pigment is perfectly normal and it can’t be prevented. But thick, heavy scabbing will trap and carry away more pigment, less pigment will stay in the skin, and your microblading will turn out too light, and some strokes may even disappear completely.
Retention will be even worse if you don’t let the scabs fall off naturally. The thicker the scabs, the greater the temptation to pick at them, but if you pull off the scabs before the tissue underneath has healed completely, they’ll take out the pigment in patches and your brows will heal patchy.
So, How Do I Prevent Microblading Heavy Scabbing?
It’s simple – follow the after instructions your artist prescribes as closely as possible – especially cleaning off the lymph – and pay close attention to your brows for a few days to prevent contamination and subsequent infection. If you notice any symptoms outside of normal healing, contact your artist and book an appointment with a dermatologist as soon as possible. The longer you ignore a potential infection, the harder it will be to treat it.
If you want even more information on what’s normal microblading scabbing and what’s not, head over to this guide.
Cover image source: Freepik