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These Invisible Tattoos Cover Up Burn Scars

Paramedical tattooing is an emerging field helping burn victims rehabilitate.

Basma Hameed covers up Samira Omar's scars with tattoos that match her skin color.

The kinds of tattoos Basma Hameed creates are not immediately discernible to the naked eye. In fact, she tries very hard to make sure you can’t see them at all. She’s an expert in the emerging field of paramedical tattooing—these tats are meant to cover up unwanted scars. And her specialty has become particularly significant to survivors of burn attacks.

The burns inflicted by acid and boiling water attacks often require painful skin grafting treatment procedures and a long, arduous process of rehabilitation—and even after the skin is repaired, the physical scars that remain are often permanent. Survivors suffer perpetual psychological anxiety as well, and the scars serve as a constant reminder of their trauma. Paramedical tattooing allows women to camouflage these scars. In an interview with the CBC, Hameed consults with a patient named Samira Omar, who was victim to a boiling water attack. The 17 year old suffered burns all over her head, but Hameed has been helping her cover up the scars by tattooing her with ink that matches her original skin color.

"When she told me she could actually get my pigments back and find a skin colour that could match my actual skin colour, it's just a big sigh of relief," said Omar to the CBC.

Hameed’s entry into the field of paramedical tattooing was also very deeply personal. She was involved in a hot oil accident that left the left side of her face severely burned at a very young age. She had to endure a number of procedures and treaments, but the scars remained. When she discovered the possibilities of paramedical tattooing after a procedure to restore one of her eyebrows, she recieved training in the field and transformed her own face. Now people all over the world flock to her Canadian clinic for her special skills.

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