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Practices I Do Not Condone

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Andrea Darby International Master Trainer

Andrea Darby - Master Trainer at Permanent International Congress Berlin 2012

I advise my Clients to be aware of some practices that are a risk to safety or that I do not condone.


Anaesthetic Warnings

  • Using Emla Cream - Emla is quite alkaline and is capable of causing chemical burns to the eye, in my opinion Emla is unsuitable for use prior to any cosmetic tattooing because the high pH may affect the pigment and may delay skin healing.

  • Using under the counter topical anaesthetics - within Australia anaesthetics should only be obtained from a pharmacist.

    Specialised Tattoo Needles & Machines Warnings


  • Digital Machines & Needles - In the last few years there has been an influx of digital machines into Australia, many late adopters of this technology are simply jumping on the bandwagon and suppling specialised machines and needles without having the essential training required in the correct use of the machines and needles either direct from the manufacturer or a regional master trainer. Some suppliers are offering training in the use of this equipment without ever having undergone training with myself or the manufacturer in the correct usage of the equipment and the full range of specialist needles, consequently incorrect/incomplete advice on usage of needles may be taking place.

  • Under the Counter Needles - Some cosmetic tattooists may be purchasing non original under the counter needles from dubious sources in order to save money, clients should always insist on full disclosure of the source of the needles used for their treatment. A cheap needle could prove to be a very dangerous if it is not sterile!

    Pigment Warnings

  • Using cheap pigments - some technicians may select pigments purely on the basis of price rather than quality, in my opinion Amiea - German Manufactured Pigments are the best choice available.

    Scalp Tattoo Warnings

  • Untrained Scalp Tattoo Services - There are an increasing number of clients requesting this service and many technicians are now offering this service with little regard for the outcome, I have been asked to correct several poor quality results. Some trainers who in my opinion are achieving very poor quality outcomes for clients are actually training others to replicate their poor quality outcomes. We have developed a comprehensive course in Scalp Hair Follicle Simulation Tattooing™ (SHFST™). Our clients are advised to ask to see a technicians valid CT-AIVEP SHFST™ certificate of attainment before undergoing SHFST™ treatment.

    Dangerous Procedures Warnings

  • Tattooing Eyeliner with Eyes Open - Some technicians may perform an entire eyeliner procedure with the clients eyes wide open, we regard this to be potentially dangerous and potentially a risk to the safety of the clients sight.

  • Careless Techniques - There are several reports in the medical literature about technicians who have caused eye injuries to clients due to careless procedural technique resulting in hospital/medical treatment of the clients.

    Outdated Equipment Warnings

  • Using Cheap Outdated Rotary Pens - In my opinion there is no excuse for continuing to use outdated Rotary Pen machines particularly for eyeliner procedures where needle precision is essential. Now that we have high precision digital machines available in Australia in my opinion it is inexcusable for technicians to continue using cheap Rotary Pen devices for eyeliner procedures.

    Outdated Qualification Warnings

    Cosmetic tattooing has evolved dramatically over the past 5-10 years, there has been substantial improvements in the quality of equipment, supplies, and techniques, for example Amiea Monodose Pigments are available now. Yet some service providers may still be offering services at the same standard and quality that were offered 10, 15, or even 20 years ago.

  • Outdated Trainer Qualifications - Some training providers may be offering cosmetic tattoo training courses when they themselves have outdated training qualifications.
    The current current valid trainer qualification is a certificate in TAE40104

    In addition some trainers may not be keeping up to date with  recommended 'best practice' and contemporary technological and product advancements by undergoing regular training with an Master Trainer.

    Both of the above circumstances have a compound effect because it can result in newly trained cosmetic tattooists providing services to clients when they themselves have been trained by a trainer whose qualifications and skills were out of date.

    i.e. Outdated trainers, training students to provide outdated services!

  • Outdated Technician Qualifications - Some cosmetic tattooists may not be routinely updating and expanding their skills via supervised training with a trainer with 'current & valid' training qualifications. It is essential for a cosmetic tattooist to regularly update their skills to ensure they are offering services that meet 'best practice' standards for today rather than standards that were acceptable 5-20 years ago.

    Poor Training Standards Warnings

  • There is a diverse range of training available in the field of Cosmetic Tattoo some courses may offer minimal if any theory and perhaps only the most basic range of practical skills for "short cut" type services. In my opinion basic compliance with the unit of competency is not a guarantee of an adequate level of course content other than defined "headings" have been covered.

  • We regularly receive requests from individuals and training organisations who have no prior experience in the field of Cosmetic Tattoo wanting to enrol in a basic introductory course and then immediately start training others.
    Naturally we reject those types of request.

    Tip: Its advisable to check the qualifications of not only the technician but also their trainer to ensure that the trainer actually has adequate training themselves, I always suggest at least 5 years full time experience providing cosmetic tattoo services to clients before providing training to others.

    'Passing Off' Warnings

  • Copyright Infringers / Plagiarizers - Some technicians may plagiarise the Client Advice & Information produced by qualified and experienced Cosmetic Tattooists and reproduce the content misleading clients into believing they have authored the document.

    It takes time and expertise to produce high quality client information, often documentation is produced after consultation with an Expert Advisory Network and changes are made to documentation as new information comes to hand.

    If a technician plagiarises the client information produced by an experienced Cosmetic Tattooist they are passing themselves off as having knowledge, experience, and competencies that they do not possess. A client may also be confused into thinking that the plagiariser may be representing the experienced Cosmetic Tattooist due to the unauthorised use of their client information. The danger is that the client is being misled into believing the plagiarizer knows what they are doing and understands the advice they are providing when in reality all they are doing is passing themselves off.

    Poor Hygiene Standards Warnings

  • No Approvals by Health Inspectors - Some technicians may provide services without obtaining approval for skin penetration/tattooing for the premises, other technicians may travel from location to location providing Cosmetic Tattoo services without the local health inspectors ever knowing that they are working in multiple locations. If there is not any oversight by a health inspector then clients cannot be confident about the hygiene standards that are being provided.

    Always insist on seeing a salons local health authority certificate of registration for Skin Penetration & or Tattooing Procedures, and make sure the certificate contains the details of the person providing the service.

  • Only providing the minimum hygiene standards - the minimum health regulations that apply to cosmetic tattooing are the same as those that apply to the body art industry. Many technicians and even some trainers are offering "Medical/Para-Medical Tattooing" at the same standard as a body art tattoo shop and with no oversight or audits by a health professional. In my opinion all Cosmetic Tattooing should be provided with clinical methodology and with Para/Medical Tattooing I believe it is inexcusable to only be providing the bare minimum hygiene standards.

  • Reusing disposable machine parts - Some technicians may reuse disposable machine components for another procedure.



If you have questions or would like further information about industry best practice please contact me.

Kind Regards                       


Andrea Darby
International Master Trainer:
Cosmetic & Medical Tattooist
Medical Camouflage Makeup Specialist

For an Appointment Phone: 0423 230 740




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