Hello Dr. Dixon.  I hope the boot camp went well.  Those areola pictures are amazing.  My question to you is about areola micropigmentation.  I use the Harmonix digital machine with the 5 slope needle, but I do not know what exact speed I should be using.  Also, should my needles be at the same depth as doing eyeliner?  When they come back for their follow-up appt. how much fading  is normal?  Thanks a lot Dr. Dixon.

Wendy B


Hi Wendy,

1.  Needle depth:  Always start with the needles just barely out.  Remember, the thickness of a dime is 1.35mm and that may be too far out in some cases.  Paint on some pigment over the area where you are going to tattoo and then brush in the color with the 5 Slope®.  Use firm, even pressure like you're pressing in a thumbtack.  Don't worry.  Since your needles aren't out too far you will not hurt the skin.

If the color stays in the skin, then continue working.  If no color stays in the skin, then turn the handpiece 90º to increase the needle depth and do the test again.  I use Numpot to remove pigment so I know if I've gotten it into the skin.  With water you may not remove all the pigment and you'll get a false sense of having gotten the color in well.

2.  Eyeliner Needle Depth:  This is very shallow, as you know.  The epidermis of the eyelid may only be .5 to .75 cm... half the thickness of a dime approximately.  But I always do a depth test as well.

3.  Fading:  Color retention depends on how much scar tissue is present.  You cannot predict with certainty how much color will remain.  The important thing is to not overwork the areola area.

Also, color choice plays a large part in the healed result.  I use a lot of NUDE Lip Mix and Baby Lips/Areola plus Neutral Flesh and some Honey Brow for my areolas.  I'm in Hawaii so most of my clients are Asian and their areolas tend to be darker than a "fair-haired, blue eyed" patient.

4. Depending on which model Harmonix you have, you should run it on a setting of 100 (or 5).

5. Brush on the color before you start working with your needles. (see photo above)