Requests for tiny tattoos of freckles scattered across the nose and cheeks have “quadrupled” in the past four months, according to a leading Australian cosmetic tattoo technician.
Semi-permanent freckle tattoos are not new to the industry, but beauty experts say they have become increasingly popular as people, mostly young women, attempt to emulate the appearance of celebrities they admire in social media posts.
My Cosmetic Tattoo senior technician Atena Leon said she was receiving up to six requests for freckle tattoos every week. And business is growing.
“Freckle tattoos have been big for the past 18 months to two years. But it used to be more so one or two beauty spots, or we’d transform a scar into a freckle,” Ms Leon told The New Daily.
“Now that’s turned into light freckles being sprinkled across the nose and cheeks to create that cutesy, girly look.
“We’ve noticed a huge increase in requests for freckles, especially in the last four months. It’s quadrupled in popularity.”
Ms Leon said many clients had brought in photos of ‘Insta-famous’ people they had seen with tattoo freckles on Instagram.
She attributed the freckle tattoo surge to numerous celebrities who had begun applying temporary freckles with makeup. These included actress Olivia Wilde, British pop singer Jade Williams and model Sarah Marie Karda, who has even posted a video tutorial.
But not all industry professionals endorse the new beauty trend.
Cosmetic Tattoo Australia specialist and educator Val Glover-Hovan, who has more than 40 years of experience in the beauty and cosmetics industry, said she now refused to perform the treatment.
Meanwhile, Top Shop and similar retailers have added ‘freckle pencils’ to their list of stock items.
Ever wanted freckles? Or already got em but want more ?! … Gave this beauty some extra frecks last week! ➡️ PLEASE NOTE: They will heal *MUCH* more soft and muted – photo was taken immediately after. We'll likely end up adding more too …🙊 #CuteOverload #FreckleTattoo
A post shared by R O U G E • I N K (@rouge.ink) on
Ms Leon said that given natural freckles were an indication of sun damage, she believed tattoos were a safer alternative to sunbathing without sunscreen.
“In a world where we are constantly striving for perfection, it is really refreshing to see a shift in acceptance of imperfections,” she said.
Critics within the industry
During the early stages of Ms Glover-Hovan’s career, she noticed that the long-term result of tattoo freckles was “not very nice” due to the way the tiny tattoos fade in colour.
“I don’t recommend it, much like I don’t recommend tattoo eye shadow and cheek blush. We can’t always give people what they want naturally,” she said.
“The freckles can turn a bit grey, depending on what base colour is used.
“Like with any tattoo, you love it today and might hate it tomorrow. You’ve got to remember that this is your face. It might take 10 minutes to put on and probably 10 months to take it off.”
And the health risks
Darlinghurst Dermatology Skin and Laser Clinic dermatologist Dr Natasha Cook warned that there was a 10 per cent risk of thick scar-like tissue forming as a result of trauma to the tattooed skin.
“It’s bizarre. I don’t understand why anyone would want to have spots on their face that imply skin damage,” she told The New Daily.
“The tattoo pigment can deteriorate over time and start to bleed, which blurs in the skin, and can spread and stretch.
“It is also more difficult to detect and diagnose cancer which presents underneath tattoos. Laser removal has its own risks as well and it’s possible your skin will never go back to looking as it did.”
Dr Cook expressed concern over the freckle trend if it meant girls might risk their skin in the sun – much like what was seen when the natural tan trend took off.
She advised that a healthier alternative to tattoos or sunbathing would be to apply freckles with makeup or use other non-permanent methods.