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Local Woman Changes Lives with Camouflage Tattoos


Elena Sanchez | Image by Elena Sanchez

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A local healthcare educator uses her skills in tattooing to help people overcome the pain and anxiety of scars and extreme hair loss.

When Elena Sanchez was 8 years old, her mother was diagnosed with cancer. As the primary caregiver for her brother and her mother, Elena became very passionate about helping others. When she learned about camouflage tattooing, also known as paramedical tattooing, she knew it would be a way to change people’s lives.

Paramedical tattooing involves using specialized pigments that match a person’s normal skin color and injecting the pigments into the skin. The procedure covers the scar or blemish until the appearance of the abnormality blends with the surrounding skin.

Paramedical tattooing can cover up skin abnormalities due to scars resulting from injuries, burns, and surgery. It is also helpful for covering stretch marks from pregnancies and weight gain.

“Camouflage tattooing is for anybody that has a skin imperfection that they don’t want to have anymore,” Sanchez said. “Or if they have some hair loss, there’s definitely a way to use the camouflage tattooing for that as well.”

Vitiligo is another condition that paramedical tattooing alleviates. Paramedical tattooing can only be performed when the vitiligo is in remission. For Sanchez, working with her vitiligo patients is the most rewarding.

“I think it was a game changer for me because I love helping people, specifically those that have some vitiligo on the face and different areas of the body, and I could see the self-confidence wasn’t very high,” explained Sanchez, who said this path feels destined, especially because the procedures are so new.

Another reason Sanchez finds her work so rewarding is that scalp micro-pigmentation helps patients with alopecia and extreme hair loss due to diseases such as cancer.

Sanchez began to market scalp micro-pigmentation to women since men were usually the subjects of the procedure.

“I feel like more women need to know that this is an option for you, too,” said Sanchez.

Scalp micro-pigmentation is similar to ordinary tattoos in that the tattoo lasts for eight years or more. Sanchez notes that the area may require touch-ups sometimes, but the color will persist as long as the site is protected with sunscreen.

“The scars are a little bit different. If it’s a really extensive area that we’re camouflaging, most people would get a touch-up every 12 to 14 months,” explained Sanchez.

Along with changing lives individually, Sanchez hopes to leave her 9-to-5 and practice micro-pigmentation and camouflage tattooing full-time. She offers training to others on how to do it.

Sanchez is currently working on a curriculum and hopes to open up her Illusions By Ink Studio in Las Colinas (Irving) for training classes. Giving her future students guidance through training and beyond is Sanchez’s goal.

“I know that a lot of the learning happens after [training]. You can’t train for every scenario in class; that’s just not possible,” she explained.

“But if you are out in the real world, I definitely think it’s a good idea to have somebody” whom you can ask, “‘Hey, are you available to guide me through something?’ Mentorship is one thousand percent important,” stressed Sanchez.

Every aspect of the process is essential to Sanchez, but the most important is the love of helping people.

“I want to teach and have people know that [paramedical tattooing and scalp micro-pigmentation] is an option,” said Sanchez. “It’s not the end of the road; you’re not going to have to live with stretch marks for the rest of your life or a scar; there are options.”

This story was pitched to The Dallas Express by one of our readers. Do you have a story you think should be covered or a tip on breaking news? Submit your idea here.

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