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Skin, Inc. - February 2009

Media - In the news
La-Vie Magazine July 2006

permanent make-up

Every human being has internal and external imperfections. Everyone. Some people's imperfections are undoubtedly traits that make them attractive. Even when it's the internal imperfections, such as a tendency to procrastinate, not take out the garbage, or talk too much, there are usually many more characteristics that make someone worthy of our love. External imperfections should have no bearing on our adoration of ourselves or others.

Challenges in this life can cause physical imperfections. Women get cancer and lose a breast, people suffer burns that alter their skin's appearance, among other tragedies. We are inspired when people survive such ordeals, although they are the ones who have to live with the scars. This month we feature Marie Caraccioli of Carabella Facial Spa. Caraccioli learned paramedical esthetics and can conduct skin and permanent makeup treatments in her spa that help both cancer survivors and burn victims revive the appearance of their skin. Caraccioli's permanent makeup treat­ments are also used by many to alleviate the less-traumatic events in life, such as aging and living a fast-paced lifestyle.



Marie Caraccioli was a paralegal for 18 years when she decided to make a career change. She is now the owner and operator of Carabella Facial Spa, located on Perkins Road.

Caraccioli named her spa with a play on words from her own name. "Cara" means life in Italian, so Carabella means beautiful life. Carabella Facial Spa opened in January 2005 and business is booming. "I'm looking to hire another esthetician because we're so busy," Caraccioli said.

Caraccioli learned to be an esthetician, a beauty specialist, in Kenner, and then went to Houston to learn paramedical esthetics. "It means that I'm trained to work in a physician's office. I am licensed to do microdermabrasion and chemical peels."

Internships in bustling California spas helped Caraccioli focus on the kind of business she wanted to run. "I wanted a place that was quiet, serene and specialized. I chose to specialize in facials. My spa is very private, and my clients love it," she said.

The most popular services at Carabella Facial Spa are facials, eyelash extensions and permanent makeup.

"I've been doing so many eyelash extensions. They last for two months. You need to come in every four to five weeks for touch-ups. They're addictive," Caraccioli said.

Micropigmentation, which results in natural-looking permanent makeup, is Caraccioli's specialty." Permanent makeup is not a standard tattoo," said Caraccioli, who is a certified permanent makeup specialist.

"It's micropigmentation, which means implanting high-quality pigments into the skin. I use a SofTap method, which means there are no noisy machines. You have more control over where the pigment is placed. There is less trauma to the skin and you get more natural results. I use numbing creams, so there is very little discomfort."

Caraccioli said her typical permanent makeup clients are women in their mid to late 30s and 40s. "Women who are busy, who don't have time to put on makeup because they are always running, they really like the convenience. All they need to do is put on a little foundation or powder in the morning, and that's it!"

Women who suffer from deteriorating eyesight or arm movement may also find the convenience of permanent makeup beneficial.

Although a risk of infection is always involved, the process is sterile and very safe, Caraccioli said. "If proper protocol is followed, there aren't problems. I talk to all of my clients about what to do and what not to do. With permanent eyeliner, you can't wear mascara for three to four days, and you need a new, unused tube. Used tubes have bacteria. Only one client ever got an eye infection. She had applied mascara the same day she got permanent eyeliner."

Permanent makeup does have critics, but nobody's mean about it, Caraccioli said.

"I had one man who called wanting to get a gift certificate for a facial for his daughter. He said, 'I don't know if I want my daughter to go to a place that does that.' So I invited him to come in so I could show him my equipment and what I do. He ended up getting a gift certificate for his daughter, and he had a facial, too."

The most requested permanent makeup procedures at Carabella Facial Spa are eyeliner, then brows, then lips. Caraccioli said she will begin offering eye shadow soon.

Permanent makeup starts with a consultation. "If a client comes in and has no brow at all, I get my templates, and match it to the shape of the face, and hair color and skin tone. Once we're in agreement about the shape and color, numbing takes 25 minutes with the creams I use. The entire procedure takes about two hours," Caraccioli said.

Clients who get permanent makeup almost always come back to get their brows or lips done. Some clients request all three to be done together, according to Caraccioli. Brows, eyeliner and lip liner cost $300 each, while full lip color costs $500.

"This comes naturally to me, and I really, really enjoy it," she said. "The most rewarding part of my job is making people feel good, making them happy. I've had a few people who've cried, and I cried right along with them.

"What I do for people, it may be something so minor to most of us, but for people who don't have eyebrows, they want them so much. To be able to give them what they want, to be able to provide them with this service, is so awesome."

Caraccioli became emotional when talking about her hopes to help breast cancer survivors and burn victims. "I really want to get into the paramedical part of permanent makeup-tattooing the areola for breast cancer patients who have had a mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery. I'm certified to do it, and I'd very much like to," she said.

"It's called areola repigmentation, and I have plans to contact physicians about referrals for their patients. Cancer is such a traumatic experience to go through, and I want to do what I can to help these women." Areola repigmentation can help create a natural looking nipple for breast cancer survivors.




examples of how permanent make-up can transform your lips and eyes

Maria Castracane is the cosmetic surgery coordinator at Woman's Hospital. Most breast cancer survivors choose to have reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy, in which one or both breasts are removed to prevent the cancer from spreading, Castracane said.

(left) mikki carr  and (right) ginger simon show off the results of their permanant makeup procedures 

For most women, radiation therapy used to combat the cancer tightens the skin. The skin is stretched with a balloon filled with a saline solution. Saline, a safe salt solution, is used because pure water or chemicals can cause negative reactions if they leak into the body. The balloon, called a tissue expander, is later replaced with a regular saline implant.

Cosmetic surgeons can use skin or muscle from various places on the body to artistically create a natural-looking nipple, if a woman chooses to do so. Most do, Castracane said. Most choose to add a natural color through areola repigmentation, as well.

"We're giving something back. These women fought the battle of their lives and we're helping them get back to a normal life. We're helping them get over it, to move on in their minds," Castracane said.

A natural-looking breast and nipple created by cosmetic surgeons can help women begin to move past some of the emotional trauma cancer causes, Castracane said. Caraccioli wants to work with surgeons to provide that sense of a return to a normal life. She also wants to learn to use micropigmentation to help burn victims.

"When I see people who've been burned, it really touches my heart. It means something to me to be able to help them feel better about themselves," she said. "Micropigmentation can help soften the skin and make it more pliable while evening the skin color, making the color more uniform."

For more information about Carabella Facial Spa visit www.carabellafacialspa.com. RH