The development
of dermatography

What is dermatography?

In dermatography, special entomological needles (ø 0,36-0,41 mm) are used to introduce colour pigments of the proper shades into the skin in a very controlled manner. The needles are mounted on a Van der Velden Derma-injector.

Over a period of 20 years, the colour pigments have been scientifically researched by E.M. van der Velden for toxicological properties and durability in the human skin. The pigments have been tested dermatologically, bacteriologically and pathologically, both in the Netherlands and in Japan. (see below ->)

Allergic reactions to the pigments used have been seen in only 5 of over 27,000 treatments during the last 20 years.

Entomological needles.

Histopathology of colour pigments (magnification 180x). The black spots are colour particles. Allergic reactions are not present.

Treatments are generally painless. Local anesthesia is usually unnecessary. As a result, dermatography to most patients is not aggravating.

The number of treatments is obviously dependent upon the size and the other characteristics of the afflicted area. The results of treatment are lasting: Our own research has proved that after 10 years in a few cases the intensity of colouring has diminished by at most 10%.

The esthetical effects are such that the afflicted skin areas are no longer disturbing the well-being of the patient and his environment. In many cases the patient regains his former level of self-confidence, which had been diminished by the affliction.

Histopathology and E.M. microscopy Academic Medical Centre Amsterdam.

The results sterility checks of colour pigmentsbacteriological research.

What dermatography is not

During the last 10 years several medical specialists, such as plastic surgeons, dermatologists and gp's try their hand at the applications of medical tattooing using the name of dermatography.

Unfortunately it turnds out too often that what they are doing is the work of amateurs, with accordingly poor results. Unsuspecting of course patients lack the availability of reference material.

Not rarely they refer to the dermatography publications written by others, claiming that 'this is what the treatment result will look like'. In practice the results are usually rather disappointing. The sub-specialism of dermatography cannot be learned properly by following a 1- or 2-day course.

In addition, beauticians and skin therapists often use the terms dermatography, medical tattooing, cosmetical tattooing, permanent make-up and maquillage permanente. THe results are usually disastrous and the methods these people use are medically unsound. It is in this category that one meets most allergic reactions and infections. One conspicuous exception is the beauty clinic of

Wrongly applied lipliner performed by a beautician.

Vitiligo patient tattooed with skin colour, subsequently treated improperly with laser by an incompetent gp, after which a serieous blue discolouration appeared.

The majority of beauticians have not received training of the standard required by the Ducth Society for Dermatography, the only guarantee for a treatment of the proper medical quality.

A recent report published by the Dutch Food Inspection Department (november 2001) shows that the colour pigments used and the local hygienic conditionsleave much to be desired. In addition to the occurrence of heavy metals, azo-colours and bacteria growth in the pigment solutions, the risks of the transmission of bacterial and viral infections due to the procedures that are being followed are large. Irritations and allergic reactions are often seen.

The training for the sub-specialism of dermatography takes 600 hours and is provided by trainer / teacher E.M van der Velden.

This traingn for the medical profession is given in one of the academic hospitals in the Netherlands. After finishing the course successfully one is registered in the specialist register of dermatography.

The health insurance companies as a rule refund dermatology treatments if the treating practitioner is a doctor registered in the specialist register. For more information contact the Dutch Society for Dermatography.