Permanent Make up or PMU is a non-invasive aesthetic treatment which is fairly new to India in terms of notoriety, but as a technique, it has been used in Europe and America for decades now. It is known by many names such as: Semi-permanent Makeup, Semi-permanent tattoo, Aesthetic tattoo etc but lately the term Permanent Make Up (PMU) is how it is popularly known. And Dr Shikha Baghi Bhandari, Founder & Managing Director, Timeless Aesthetics and Permanent Makeup Trainer, is offering this unique treatment to Acid Attack Survivors free of cost.
Besides her commercial practice, Dr Shikha offers PMU treatments to acid attack survivors by giving them Permanent Brows, Permanent Lips, Permanent Eyeliner and even Scalp Micropigmentation treatments for free. Due to the severity of acid, the skin loses its features and original texture. Reconstructive surgeries cost a lot of money which is simply not affordable by these victims. So using PMU, this aesthetician gives them features through means of Micropigmentation.
Her clinic has reached out to shelters and other places where these survivors either live or congregate for counselling. Several social workers and people in the sector have been made aware of this and when they contact the clinic, accommodations, consultation visits and treatment dates are assigned.
What motivated her to do this? Dr Shikha says, “I came across so many victim stories through media, it broke my heart. Things were great and my Clinic was doing great and income had drastically improved; but there was this notion in my heart, “is this the best point of my life?” It bothered me and I was looking for an answer when I started to look beyond Permanent Makeup and Facial Aesthetics. There are normal applications to these treatments which could be applied to damaged areas as well.”
In the face of it
During that time, she heard about several Acid Attacks in India and how the survivors were left with extensive skin scarring damage. This got her thinking and she realised that those announcing the extent of damage being irreparable, were talking about conventional Western medicine; peripheral treatments like PMU and Facial Aesthetics were not being considered. “I tried my best to look for a reference where such cases were handled by PMU but I couldn’t find any. It was a daunting moment for myself but I took a leap of faith based on my skill set and knowledge. I am glad that I did all that, because it has helped these women who society traumatised and then refused to help - now they have hope,” says Dr Shikha.
Dr Shikha has worked with about a dozen acid attack and burn victims so far - each of them had a unique set of scars and each time it was a different approach. So every case was evaluated in terms of position of the scars, the impact on skin and even their overall health. She explains, “After these evaluations, I decide what technique and tools will be used in what manner. There was a bit of learning curve for me through this entire process, since handing heavily scarred area or folded skin, or even texture of skin, all these elements require more expertise than a routine procedure."
The response has been unbelievable. Not just in the survivor community but also in the professional PMU world. Several organisations who work with such survivors have contacted Dr Shikha. “We have been receiving words of encouragement from the survivors themselves. My social media lit-up after I posted the first case. People have been kind with words of encouragement. Moreover, the survivors who I have worked with – the moment when they saw their faces for the first time after the treatment, those moments simply can't be described - you have to be in the room to feel the emotion,” says an emotional Dr Shikha.
Thanks to her multiple clinics in Amritsar, Noida, Gurgaon, South Delhi and Jalandhar - all of them offer these pro Bono treatments, so any victim can simply walk-in and she takes it from there. Soon she will be opening 2 more locations in August this year (Chandigarh & Hyderabad). Later there are plans to move to major cities like Mumbai.
Non-invasive and safe
Speaking about the normal cost of such treatments, Dr Shikha say that relatively they may considered expensive but if you compare it to some of the alternatives such as cosmetics which go on for life or Plastics which cost an arm and a leg, then the cost of PMU treatments is hardly anything. “These are long lasting, non-invasive and painless procedures. They give you a natural look and not some slap-on artificial thing which can be spotted from a mile away. These treatments enhance and define an area but do not alter or add anything to it which looks out of place. And best of all, these are safe treatments in comparison with some cosmetics that can cause a rash or itch,” she informs.
Dr Shikha who is a dentist simply fell in love with the technical aspect of PMU and the intricacy and delicacy of the entire process. She informs, “There are segments of treatments that can be extremely challenging such as mapping or colour theory which are pre-op and then there is the actual application of the pigment into the upper and most superficial layer of the skin and not above or lower that sweet spot. As a dentist, I have my prowess in handling tiny tools in small areas; this goes a step further as the needles I work with in PMU are of a micro scale.”
Timeless Aesthetics has been consistently offering 2 PMU courses since 2018:
Course 1 - which is a Professional Certificate in PMU
Course 2 - Comprehensive 1 on 1 Training course (for Professionals)
Dr Shikha feels the future is bright for PMU treatments. However, there is a lack of properly trained professionals. “In the past 5 years, I have personally trained over 200 professionals. New brands are coming up and even makeup parlours and salons are coming for training so I believe in the coming 3 years, the industry is going to spread like wildfire,” she says.
She adds, “I want to see it grow properly and I wish to be a part of this revolution. In India, there is still a lot of misconception out there in terms of what this is. I wish to educate and introduce PMU treatments to India the right way.”