Micropigmentation as a Recognized Medical Procedure | Basma Hameed | TEDxDistilleryDistrictWomen

Author: TEDx Talks

Translator: Bob Prottas Reviewer: Leonardo Silva What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word "tattoo"? Some people get tattoos to express their personality. Others get tattoos to share the name of someone they love. Some people get tattoos to share important dates, and others do it just to be creative. (Laughter) Now what would you think, if I told you: "I've tattooed half of my face"? When I was 2 years old, my brother and I were playing in the kitchen. My brother was only 8 years old at that time, and he decided to surprise my parents by cooking them dinner. So he took a frozen chunk of meat, and he placed it in a pan, filled with boiling oil. So the pan caught on fire. He was trying to take the pan over to the sink, he tripped, and the oil ended up spilling down my face, resulting and third-degree burns, and my eye melting shut.

This is when my reconstructive surgery began. I had skin graft, laser resurfacing, hair transplant, and tissue expansion. Growing up, I suffered emotionally, because it was extremely hard for me to go to school every single day, with constantly being bullied, and made fun of. Other kids couldn't wait for recess to go out, and meet their other friends. For me I would just find a classroom, and hide out in that classroom, and watch the time, just wait for recess to be over. After that I tried to get help, but it was never enough for me.

At that time, even though I had a hundred surgeries, every time I would step outside, someone would always ask: "What happened to your face?" This is even after all these surgeries. So I would build up my self-esteem, and my confidence, and I would go out, and someone would say something like that. At 15-years-old I went to see my plastic surgeon, and I asked him, I said: "What's next, what can we do?" He said: "Basma, take your money, and go on a vacation. There's nothing else we can do for you." I was so devastated at that moment. I was really young, and I didn't feel like that was it for me. So at that time, as you can see, I still had only one eyebrow.

Even though I had 3 hair transplants done to that area, it wasn't successful, and I still had red discoloration on half of my face. So I brought up permanent makeup to him, and I asked him: "What's your thoughts on getting my eyebrows tattooed?" He said: "Don't do. It's the worst thing you can do to scar tissue." He said: "It's just going to age horribly, and you will regret it later on." So I thought: "Well, either I give up, and just go lock myself in my bedroom for the rest of my life, or get out there, and try to find something to improve it." So that day I went home, and I did my research, and I decided to get my eyebrows tattooed. And this was the result after one hour. I was so amazed by it, and I said: "Oh my goodness, I went through all that pain, and all these surgeries, and I had no results with my eyebrow hair transplant, and this was after one hour." And this is when it actually hit me, that pigment can actually survive in scar tissue. And not only that, I thought: "Well, instead of using black, and brown pigments, why not use pigments that match the rest of your skin, and actually implant it into the scar tissue?" So I spent a year, I looked into the technique to understand it, and know exactly what needs to be done to actually implant the pigment, and that's when I started working on my own face. That's when I realized it was nothing like getting a regular tattoo.

Micropigmentation as a Recognized Medical Procedure | Basma Hameed | TEDxDistilleryDistrictWomen

There was so much more to it, that once you actually implant the pigment in scar tissue, you have to see exactly how it turns out, how the scar tissue actually accepts the pigment, and how deep I needed to go into the skin. Once I did that, this was the result after one year. Once I perfected my own procedure, I started using the same technique on all types of birthmarks, other burns, all types of surgical scars, vitiligo, and any type of skin discoloration. This is one of my clients, Annette White. When I first saw Annette, she was extremely depressed, she had given up. She told me that her memories of school were -- She still remembers it like it happened yesterday. She said one time she went to school, and all the other kids held her to the ground, and they used a pencil with an eraser on the back, and they tried to erase the birthmark off her face.

And she said: "You know what the worst part was? The pencil didn't even have an eraser." All they were doing was just scratching her face with the metal part, which caused more damage to her birthmark. Once we did her birthmark, Annette became a completely brand-new person. She was so much happier, and she lost 75 pounds now. You can actually see the excitement in her, and you can feel it in her voice. This is Ashlyn. Ashlyn suffers from alopecia, which is a hair loss skin condition. She told me that every single morning, for the last five years, she would wake up, and it would take her one hour to draw in her eyebrows, and she would worry about it throughout the entire day.

She worried if she still had her eyebrows on. You know, she's so scared to even touch her face, and she was constantly being bullied at school, and made fun of, and called every single name. After we did the procedure on her, her mother told me that, as soon as she got inside the car, she took a selfie, and she posted it on social media, saying: "Today, I'm the happiest girl in the world." My determination to find the solution for my problem, what I struggled with, led me to finding a solution not just for myself, but finding a solution for everybody that suffered from any type of birthmark, or any type of skin discoloration. It took me a decade to get to this point. I remember when I first started out, even with my success with my procedure, I used to knock on every plastic surgeon's door, and I used to say: "Listen, we actually have something here." But they weren't convinced at that time. After a decade, and thousands of successful procedures worldwide, now plastic surgeons are flying in, to have me train them in this procedure. (Cheering) (Applause) This has been such a journey for me, but I'm very blessed.

Thank you. (Applause).

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