When it comes to aftercare what is the correct process? Should we dry heal, wet heal or apply a balm or cream?... There are so many options!
So first off let’s take a look at skin types, we have:
- Dry - lacks a natural production of oils, the skin can be left feeling tight and uncomfortable after washing, it can appear dry with flaky patches, small to minimal pores. It could become easily irritated.
- Normal - usually has an overall even tone, small pores and even texture with a natural oil production.
- Oily - naturally has an over production of oil, large pores, greasy looking, an accumulation of black heads etc and an uneven texture.
- Combination - the cheeks are usually dry and flaky while excessive oils and shine appear on the other areas of the face.
I am sure we are all pretty savvy at identifying skin types so lets move onto the skin healing process…
- Inflammation - this is the body’s response to healing a wound. The capillaries swell, leaking white blood cells into the wound site, they then start to clean the wound also releasing growth factors. You’ll be able to see this by the swelling and redness close to the trauma site.
- Homeostasis - the body starts to constrict blood vessels, palettes stick together filling the wound site. A protein called fibrin then starts to create an invisible mesh and clot the blood to prevent bleeding. It usually takes around 20mins for blood to clot, depending on the client.
- Proliferation - the wound starts to rebuild with fibroblasts, more capillaries are created to feed the wound site with oxygen to aid the healing. A scab will form over the site as the body works on rebuilding and producing and uneven layer of collagen. This stage can take 4-24 days to occur.
- Maturation - this is the remodelling stage. The part where the collagen is compacted, cross linking AND pulled tight and flat to make the wound site extra strong. This part of the process starts after 20 or so days and can last over a year!
So what does this mean to us?
Well we must remember there is no exact end answer when working with a living organism…
Have you ever been to the doctors and sent home with medication that didn’t work? 🤔
Have you ever had surgery but that didn’t quite go to plan and had to go back? 😬
That’s because we have no control over the healing process, nor the pigment that is placed into the body and the interaction of the immune cells. Even the best surgeons and doctors or us micropigmentation artists can’t control what will happen!
Sometimes wounds can become infected and sometimes the pigment doesn’t hold as we expect. We rely on our experience to help guide us when giving the best advice to our clients however sometimes it’s not always the outcome we have anticipated. Remember, this doesn't mean we were wrong, it just means you are working on a living organism which can be unpredictable and no one can tell exactly what's going to happen!
So aftercare, what is best?
Well, this will be different for each skin type. A dry skin type has the least beneficial natural healing process so the wound site needs moisture to heal proficiently. An oily skin type on the other hand has the advantage of decreasing the chance of the skin becoming dry, so is more proficient at healing!
Moist wound healing helps epithelialisation and blood vessel production, here's an extract from some research I read recently:
“A moist environment has been proven to facilitate the healing process of the wound by preventing dehydration and enhancing angiogenesis and collagen synthesis together with increased breakdown of dead tissue and fibrin. This improves the aesthetics of the wound, while decreasing pain. The moist environment has not been shown to increase the risk of infection, as compared to traditional dry therapies.”
So too relate this to aftercare for clients, and what I do… (this is of course debatable as what works for one client will be slightly different for another).
Let’s start off by saying less is more, whatever aftercare balm you are using could lead to occluding the wound and trapping lymph or bacteria and perhaps leading to infection.
*side note - do you know how to spot an infection? Or what this should look like? Let me know in the comments*
I ask all my clients to apply balm, but a controlled amount depending on their skin type
- Dry skin - 3-4 applications a day
- Normal to combination - 2-3 applications per day
- Oily - 1-2 applications per day
I often recommend a grain of rice sized amount dabbed on sporadically (do not apply like lip gloss! - remember this could occlude the wound site)
Here's an extra tip from me to you - I tell my clients if they frown or raise their eyebrows and they feel tight it’s a good indication they need to apply a little bit more!
I usually find clients apply this for the first few days after treatment however NOT on the first day. We need to let the area breathe and we can remove any lymph using clean sterile gauze with a dabbing motion. I also ask my clients to watch the area, and report back to me on how they found their healing process, to which I can advise to adjust aftercare if needed. I unfortunately like you, can not be with them 24hrs a day after doing their treatment so remember to tell and remind all clients it is their responsibility to look after the area the moment they step out of the clinic.
So there we go, now we know how wounds heal and if we should dry heal or moist heal!
Personally, I know what I think works best, a controlled moist healing process but what do you think? Are you a dry healer or a moist healer? 🤔