In a society that’s placed a premium on beauty, scars can have a negative impact on the morale of people. Scars might have resulted from many different causes — acne, surgery, accidents and even war. Research has found that scars have a negative impact on people’s emotional state, invoking feelings of anxiety, depression and trauma.
The paramedical and permanent make-up industry is booming lately, due to its ability to provide reassurance and relief for the scarred through restorative services like scar camouflage.
Alodie Mergulhao started her journey over four years ago; her passion to help people — incorporating her love for art and creativity — is what drove her to the industry. When her close friend from design school in Toronto started a Permanent make-up clinic in Markham, Mergulhao had the desire to follow suit and was introduced to paramedical restorative micropigmentation as a result.
Mergulhao has been running Ageless Aesthetics Studio in Thunder Bay for the past two years and wants to show her gratitude to veterans and those currently serving by offering free scar camouflage treatment for the first three weeks in November in honour of Remembrance Day.
“I wanted to do something as my part,” she said.
The process can be between three to four sessions, and she will be lending a helping hand through all of them to help the military personnel recoup from the trauma associated with scarring, and facial and other skin discolorations.
“Every story, every struggle is different,” she said, especially empathizing with veterans and survivors, who have suffered and are suffering with deforming scars all their life.
Mergulhao’s studio mainly focuses on paramedical restorative micropigmentation and permanent make-up.
“The main reason I got into paramedical restorative micropigmentation and permanent make-up was because I believe there are many people struggling with skin discolorations, they don’t know where to seek help from nor do they know that these restorative services even exist to help them heal from image issues and mental trauma associated with scarring,” she said.
She describes her sessions as a personalized confidential environment where clients get into the deeper stories about their scars, the negative feelings associated with these skin deformities and self-confidence issues.
Her journey started with taking advanced training in the United States, but the idea of being an entrepreneur called out to her.
“There was an opportunity of business for sale based in Nevada, and I looked at buying that place,” she said. “Once we went ahead with it, I was performing permanent make-up and paramedical services alongside upgrading my skills within the field of paramedical restorative micropigmentation.”
She has also taken specialized training in areola restorative tattoos, which is a form of areola reconstruction after a patient has lost their areola due to cancer surgery.
“The areola has to be redesigned in the form of a 3-D hyper-realistic design.”
With the knowledge that her services are helping clients regain confidence and recover from mental trauma, Mergulhao kept going on. She has worked with clients from all walks of life — from burn scars to Melasma to medical surgery, war scars and self-harm scars — in her career.
“People are experiencing anxiety and depression associated with skin discoloration, and these restorative services, after speaking to a majority of my clients, seem to have immense psychological emotional benefits,” she said.
And while a growing number of people are talking about embracing their scars and other so-called imperfections as part of the body positivity movement, Mergulhao says in the 'image-centric kind of world we live in,' many impacted by scarring are looking for treatment.
Numerous people go through a lot of pain and trauma on a regular basis- some may be quietly suffering. It is her hope that people can be made aware of these restorative services like scar camouflage, which would aid in boosting psychological well-being in those with skin discoloration and avail those options should they need it.
“[Many of her clients] psychologically, were at a point where they were not able to face the world,” she said. “They have a recurring traumatic memory that reminds them of something they don't like about themselves and camouflaging the scar helps them heal from the trauma that is attached to the scar and helps bring their life to normalcy.”
“Where they can literally go ahead with their lives and forget that the scar even existed — the scar is concealed to a point where it's literally undetectable. People regain their confidence, have a new outlook on life and are finally able to move on without any limiting beliefs.