Cosmetic tattooing is not just for rebels anymore

Reporter: Lois Thome
Published: Updated:

About a third of people in the U.S. have a tattoo, but there used to be a stigma with them. Now a recent trend is sparking interest in a new older demographic and is even helping those with medical conditions.

Tattoos are not just for rebels anymore. Sixty-five-year-old former Maryland state trooper, Susan Topper, has not just one, she has two of them. But her tattoos are not what you may think they are.

“I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 15 years ago,” Topper said.

Her tremors have made it difficult to put on makeup. So she opted to get cosmetic tattooing for her eyeliner and lips. Cosmetic tattooing was first developed to address alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss including eyebrows. But now it’s being used to help burn victims and people with arthritis and even cancer.

“Especially women with their breast, now all of a sudden they feel comfortable,” Linda ‘Lady Fish’ Frank said, owner of Always Perfect Permanent Makeup. “They feel like a woman again.”

 A woman mauled by a dog, before using cosmetic tattooing services. Photo via Ivanhoe Newswire.
A woman mauled by a dog, before using cosmetic tattooing services. Photo via Ivanhoe Newswire.

Frank is a tattoo artist specializing in medical and cosmetic designs. She’s been ‘inking’ customers for more than 40 years and she herself has a full Japanese body suit of tattoos. One of her long-term efforts has been to help a woman who was mauled by a dog.

“Doctors or plastic surgeons are sculpture artists, I’m the painter,” Frank said.

She also simulates hair with her tattoos, camouflages scars and helps reconstruct women’s areola – all to restore confidence to her clients.

“My ladies walk in that door, they’re like this,” Frank said. “But when they leave they keep looking in the mirror, wow, wow.”

That’s thanks to an unlikely “artist” in a tattoo parlor that even the Mona Lisa would have liked!

Some cancer patients may be able to get insurance to cover the medical tattoo at Frank’s parlor. Cosmetic and medical tattoos have the same risks as regular tattoos, so make sure to research the technician just like you would research a doctor or dentist.

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