These Tattoos Serve as Camouflage, Not Statements

Way beyond butterflies, this type of tattooing camouflages everything from scars to birthmarks. (Photo: Milos Stojanovik/Shutterstock).

File this story under: "Why didn't someone think of this before?" Basma Hameed, a para-medical tattoo artist, uses the tattooist's tools of design and decoration to disguise and recolor all manner of skin issues, from burns to scars, birthmarks to acne blemishes.

Hameed suffered from a terrible accident with burning oil when she was just 2 years old in her native country of Iraq. She had scores of surgeries over the years, but after all the plastic surgery and laser treatments were done, she still had red scarring over half of her face. Her doctor told her nothing more could be done.

After she had a tattoo to replace the eyebrow she had lost during the accident, she started thinking that if you could replace an eyebrow with ink, why not the skin color where her scar was?

Hameed studied how to do this kind of work before she started experimenting on herself. “I think that I’m good at para-medical scar camouflage because I was able to work on myself, and I was able to see the process of it,” she told the CBC. Then she opened her own clinic specializing in the procedures (as well as permanent eyeliner and lip color).

Hameed helps all kinds of clients, including those who she assists at low cost through the Basma Hameed Survivors Foundation. She has been very successful — she opened her first clinic in Toronto in 2011 and her second this year in Chicago.

She has helped hundreds of people so far, including those with mastectomy scars, and people with vitiligo, a skin condition where depigmentation occurs. Her clients are incredibly grateful; many of them had been told the same thing she heard — that they just had to live with their scars.

"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 Samira Omar in the CBC video above. Omar is a teenage girl who had boiling water thrown on her by bullies — and some horrific resultant scarring that Hameed is going to cover using her outside-the-box tattoo artistry.