Licensed nurse practitioner and camouflage tattoo specialist Latoya Britt of Skyn ATL recently shared with MADAMENOIRE that “you can’t put a filter on confidence.”
Whether due to surgery, a scrape, fluctuation in weight or other bodily changes, scars and stretch marks often leave people feeling less confident about their appearance than they should.
However, thanks to work like Britt’s, people now have more options than ever to camouflage their skin concerns.
The Atlanta-based stretch mark, scar camouflage tattoo artist and certified lip blush artist shared with MN that the clients she treats come in for a variety of reasons — whether it be wanting freedom from their stretch marks, scars from their transition camouflaged, or simply having hyperpigmentation on their lips neutralized.
Britt’s tattoo camouflaging services are unique because she custom blends the tattoo inks she uses to match her clients’ skin tones and as a result, makes the work more tailored to darker complexions than ever before.
“I like to refer to what I do as applying ‘invisible’ tattoos,” Britt explained. “I tattoo flesh-toned ink to mimic or re-pigment areas that are missing pigment, including scars, stretch marks, or various other skin issues and concerns.”
“I tell people to think of it as me applying permanent concealer to the body,” Britt added. “Once the work is healed, people don’t even realize the tattoos are there. It gives them their freedom back.”
At Skyn ATL, Britt offers scar revisioning, stretch mark camouflaging and lip blush treatments.
The specialist stated that most of her clients usually need at least two sessions to see the results they’re seeking, although the number of appointments required is dependent on the client’s overall goal.
“Sometimes I get clients that get up to 70% coverage and then they’re pleased with how that looks, so we don’t do more sessions. Others hope to get results closer to perfection,” Britt noted.
When it comes to the customization process, the specialist explained she mixes colors for each of her clients so the resulting pigment works for them and what they’re trying to camouflage.
She highlighted that it’s comparable to someone mixing shades of foundation to get their perfect hue and level of coverage.
“Custom blending the inks is my way of creating a more realistic color match to compliment my clients’ overtones and undertones,” Britt said. “It’s tedious because there’s not one product I can rely on for every client, but what I do is unique because each of my clients are.”
“I use standard tattoo inks and I mix the brands and colors I like to get to the results needed,” she continued.
If you’re interested in tattoo camouflage services but can’t get to Atlanta to see Britt, the specialist emphasized the importance of remembering an average tattoo artist doesn’t offer the same thing those trained with her type of certifications do.
“Traditional tattoo artists provide permanent designs and can cover up a tattoo or scar, not necessarily camouflage it,” she outlined. “[Tattoo camouflage] is a very specialized artistry, so make sure you ask for good before and after photos and whether that artist has worked on someone with your complexion.”
“Dark skin, brown skin and Black skin don’t respond the same way to tattooing and ink compared to other complexions. If you don’t have a highly trained artist, you might be disappointed with your results or feel like you wasted your investment in the service,” she added.
Notably, those with fresh scars, who keloid, have blood disorders or medical conditions that may decrease a tattoo’s healing aren’t good candidates for tattoo camouflaging.
“Scars need to be at least one year old and stretch marks need to be at least two years old and lighter than your overall skin tone,” Britt noted. “Because scars transform in their appearance as they’re healing, the skin and scar tissue need to be settled before getting permanent tattoo camouflage.”
From an emotional standpoint, the specialist recommended clients “healed from whatever trauma caused their scarring before getting it concealed.”
And while she doesn’t offer the service just yet, Britt said a former oncology patient of hers who was seeking 3D areola and nipple restoration was what originally inspired her to get into tattoo camouflaging.
“My background is in healthcare and I treated oncology patients for around a decade,” Britt said. “One day one of my patients came up to me after having a mastectomy and jokingly said, ‘One of my girls can see and the other one can’t.’ She asked me if I knew anybody that could help her get a 3D areola tattoo. At the facility I worked at, we recommended everyone to a particular tattoo artist. Unfortunately, that patient wasn’t impressed because that business didn’t really provide any photos of their results on Black people.”
“I took on finding her another tattoo artist as a project and I scoured the internet. I couldn’t find anyone in Atlanta — let alone the South East region of the country. Most of the people who specialize in areola restoration were based in New York, Los Angeles or in the Mid West, but none of them were Black,” she said, adding, “That’s when I came across scar and stretch mark camouflage.”
Britt emphasized her work is mainly about enriching one’s confidence, as many of her clients aren’t insecure at all about the scars or stretch marks they seek her tattooing services for.
“Just like like how you wear lashes, weaves and lipstick — all of those are enhancemets to your beauty. What I do is similar, although camouflage tattooing is still taboo because there are still artists out who don’t tattoo on Black people or don’t know how to,” Britt noted.
“I’ve also had clients who’ve been hiding because of their skin concerns. They’ve never worn swimsuits or tank tops or shorts. They plan their whole wardrobe around their scars and stretch marks and nobody around them knows because they keep covering them up,” the specialist shared. “People always say fake it till you make it — but if you’re not confident, it shows up in every part of your life.”
“Simply providing awareness to Black clients that this service exists and is an option people can utilize is important. Camouflage tattooing has historically been catered to white skin, but the tattoo industry has changed, become more inclusive and offers an expanded variety of inks for brown and darker skin tones,” Britt said. “To give someone the freedom to wear whatever they want and feel comfortable and ‘normal’ is empowering and rewarding. If just a few drops of ink is what it takes to help people regain their confidence — let’s go!”
Learn more about Britt and her services on SKYN ATL’s website.
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