More Medical Patients Seeking Permanent Makeup Procedures

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Permanent makeup is not just for beauty enhancement. Many medical patients - male and female - are seeking cosmetic tattoos for scar camouflage, areolae tattoos after breast reconstruction and other permanent makeup procedures to combat disfiguring medical conditions.

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Permanent makeup, once enjoyed mostly by women seeking perfectly placed eyeliner or lip color without the daily fuss, is now a sought-after procedure for surgery scar camouflage, post-surgical breast tattooing and hair or skin correction for patients with vitiligo, trichotillmania, alopecia, and other medical conditions.

Judith DesPres, F.A.A.M. M.Ed and president of CloseUps, Inc. of Cambridge, MA, opened the first permanent makeup practice in Massachusetts in 2001. Although her business initially appealed largely to women in their 40s, the clientèle has expanded greatly as more people become aware of the extent of her services. “I have had both men and women clients, as young as 12 and as old as 92,” DesPres says. “Permanent makeup certainly offers fun and exciting beauty options, but it is also a source of comfort and self-esteem for people who are dealing with with a number of medical conditions.”

Permanent makeup, or micropigmentation, restores or enhances facial features such as the eyes and lips through cosmetic tattooing. Hypopigmentation on the body can be camouflaged with tattoo flesh tones in the case of scars and vitiligo.

“It's a wonderful option for patients dealing with disfigurement, and a welcome beauty enhancer for the elderly or others who are unable to apply their own makeup because of poor sight or tremors. It's also great for allergy sufferers who can't wear conventional makeup, and is a big time saver for anyone,” DesPres says.

DesPres is Board Certified by the American Academy of Micropigmentation and was the first practitioner to be licensed in Massachusetts. She opened her Cambridge office after teaching art in the public school system for 38 years and at the Boston Center for Adult Education for 10 years. A gifted painter, sculptor and jeweler, her artistic eye helps her perfectly match skin or hair color for beauty or medical clients and create realistic looking areolae on reconstructed breasts.

The majority of CloseUps Inc. services are completed with the first application and then fine-tuned during a follow-up appointment to address any pigment lost through exfoliation. Scar camouflage can require 2-4 or more visits.

DesPres' greatest reward comes from the positive feedback she gets from both beauty and medical clients. “The restorative aspect of the business is particularly gratifying,” she says.

CloseUps, Inc., located at 1798A Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, is open by appointment only from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon. For information, call: 617-492-3056. On the Web:


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Judith DesPres