Brow Lamination and Vitiligo

Posted on 28 Jul 2021

During the Elleebana Marathon, hosted by our Russian distribution team we had a brilliant question come through.  One that isn’t often asked, but one that really deserves a fair amount of explanation and understanding.  The question was “can you perform a brow lamination on a client with Vitiligo?”

The answer to this question is Yes you can, however, it is really important that your client discloses the full explanation of information about their condition and how its being treated because these responses can mean the service then cannot be performed and the yes, then changes to a NO.

So let’s start with what is vitiligo?  Vitiligo presents as a skin condition whereby areas or patches of skin no longer have functioning pigment cells (melanocytes) and the skin changes colour to be lighter than the pigmented skin that would normally cover the body.   There is no inflammation present in the skin with this condition however it can begin to develop or spread of its own accord or during times of stress or illness.  Vitiligo may be linked to autoimmune conditions such as an overactive (Graves’ disease) or underactive (Hashimoto’s) thyroid and these conditions encourage the body’s immune system to attack the melanocytes (pigment forming cells).  This condition presents in around 1-2% of all people regardless of their ethnicity.  Vitiligo can also present where the skin has been damaged, cut or burnt or where trauma has occurred.

As the de-pigmentation markings can occur all over the body this may include the face, through the eyelashes or eyebrows, beards and hair.  With this, the pigment loss can occur through the eyelashes and eyebrows also.  Treatment for vitiligo can involve the use of products used to encourage neighbouring cells to produce more pigment or may involve cortisone creams or medications, exposure to UVB radiation or photochemotherapy.  Doctors may request avoiding wearing clothes or having services that cause excessive friction to the skin/affected areas.

Each of these factors may affect the results or service that you provide to a client with this condition as eyebrow lamination services involve the topical application of strong alkalizing agents.  These alkalising agents act to lift the cuticle of the hairs and penetrate the cortex of the hair where the reduction of the disulphide bonds occur and are essential for achieving the lamination result.  With this application skin contact with the lamination lotions is unavoidable, it can be minimised and tidied from unnecessary areas though even using a barrier of adhesive through the brows does not prevent the contact of lotions as the adhesives are water soluble and all lamination formulations are largely formulated using water as the foundation ingredient.

It is advised to begin by doing a thorough consultation with your client, asking questions that assist you to understand what treatment is being used on the client as some treatments such as photochemotherapy, radiation or topical cream applications to that area may mean you are unable to proceed or at the very least may require a doctor or dermatologists clearance.  The use of a wonder wand or dental brush used on the skin may not be advised during this service as you will want to avoid any potential trauma to the skin area and it may be preferable to opt for using a flocked lip gloss applicator to apply the lotions through the brow hairs.  In addition to this the tinting service applied after a brow lamination may emphasize any variations of skin tone or hair that has lost pigment and the client may wish to opt not to have the tinting service after the brow lamination.

If the affected areas is not through the eye or eyebrow area and therefore topical creams are not being applied to the area then this may not impact the service and proceeding with the treatment wouldn’t be an issue.  A patch test is always recommended and of course proceeding only if and when the result has come back without any irritations to all of the products being used during the service.