Woman’s green tattooed lip liner horror
A VICTORIAN woman who travelled to Tahiti to have lip liner tattooed on her mouth has warned about the dangers of getting cosmetic treatments overseas, after she was left with a green line around her lips for months.
Karine Barry, 50, from Victoria, loves wearing lip liner and has been getting semi permanent tattoos on her lips for decades, since she was 22.
"Semi-permanent tattoos always disappear very quickly on me so I went overseas in the hope of getting a permanent tattoo," Karine told news.com.au.
"My parents live in Tahiti and Polynesians are normally the best tattooists in the world. They're brilliant, so that's why I chose Tahiti," Ms Barry said.
But when her tattoo artist began mixing the colours he would later ink on to her skin, she became uncertain.
"He started mixing blues and greens and a little bit of pink. He told me it was going to come up green, but it would turn burgundy eventually," Ms Barry said.
"I don't know how these things work, so I trusted him. When [the tattoo] came up completely green, I panicked.
"He told me not to worry because it was going to be burgundy, but a few weeks later it was getting greener. The colour was settling completely and it never turned burgundy."
She delayed any further treatment or removal for three months in the hope the ink would change colour.
"I looked like a clown. It was very bright, so even with makeup and lipstick on top it was very bright. No matter what I was doing, it was there," Ms Barry said.
A friend recommended a laser tattoo removal clinic and Karine booked in for four removal sessions, costing $400 each.
After the first session, most of the tattoo had faded.
"The first session was spectacular. The bottom was practically gone. I wanted to give them a hug I was so relieved," Ms Barry said.
"The top was still a little bit there and now you can still see the needle marks from the tattoo gun, but that's only if you look very closely."
Dr Philip Bekhor from Laser Dermatology in Victoria, who removed Ms Barry's tattoo, said his clinic has a "steady stream" of clients unhappy with their cosmetic tattoos.
"With lip liner tattoos, often the placement of the tattoo is too high and people would never put their lipstick on that way," Dr Bekhor said.
"As people get older they lose lip volume and some of these ladies will have their lip liner tattoo put up higher to make the lip look bigger. But it makes more sense to use a filler to get the volume, rather than mark on the skin.
"I also see lots of bad colours or colours that aren't stable and look alright when they are first applied, then turn a funny orange."
Dr Bekhor says if patients have a tattoo they're not happy about, the worst thing they can do it get a "corrective" tattoo inked on top of the original.
Some artists try to correct with flesh or white ink, which cannot be lasered off.
"Do not under any circumstances get overtattooing for a cosmetic tattoo you don't like. Get it removed by a proper tattoo removal operator," Dr Bekhor said.
Ms Barry said she's not intending to get another lip liner tattoo.
"I'm a little bit traumatised, so probably not," she said. "I haven't lost hope about eventually getting a nice burgundy lip liner tattooed, but I'm just using makeup for the moment."
Patients considering undergoing treatments in Australia can search their medical practitioner on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (APHRA) website and are encouraged to research their qualifications and commonly performed procedures online.