Metro Detroit woman says eyebrow 'microblading' nightmare left her in hospital for 3 days

Woman regrets trying 'microblading' procedure

DETROIT – Eyebrow "microblading" is one of the hottest new beauty trends, as women are all over social media showing off perfect brows.

But what is the price? Local 4 Defender Karen Drew spoke with a woman who had an important warning to others.

The Metro Detroit woman, who we'll call Jennifer, said she regrets undergoing the procedure, as it landed her in the hospital. She doesn't want to show her entire face because she's embarrassed, but she wants people to know what happened to her.

When Jennifer, walked out of the salon after the procedure, her eyebrows looked just how she imagined.

"It looked great," she said. "I was happy."

Microblading involves the use of a hand tool with tiny needles to make shallow cuts on the skin. Then pigment seeps in, giving the user semi-permanent results.

"Basically, it gives the appearance of hair on your eyebrows instead of regular tattooing," she said. "This makes your eyebrows look like you actually have hair."

But later, redness started setting in.

"Each day got a little more red, but I wasn't really too concerned," she said. "So, like, a few days after I noticed, they were starting to get, like, little lumps in it."

The pain and swelling started to increase.

"Going to urgent care, they diagnosed me with cellulitis on my face, gave me antibiotic and sent me on my way," she said.

But the situation kept getting worse. Jennifer took daily photos to document the changes, and eventually, she decided to go to the emergency room.

"When they admitted me, they put me on an IV bag antibiotic and then, the next morning, they started me on steroids for the remainder of the time I was there," she said.

Jennifer spent three days in the hospital.

"I was terrified," she said. "I didn't know. My face is swelling up. My eyes are closing. I'm thinking, 'I don't know what's going to happen.'"

For the past week, Jennifer has been seeing a dermatologist, Dr. Stephen Grekin, for treatment.

"This is potentially life-threatening if not treated because what's right behind here -- sinuses," Grekin said. "What do the sinuses communicate? Boom: they go right to the brain."

Why did this happen to Jennifer?

"There are a lot of variables," Grekin said. "In this case, so, is the patient allergic to the ink that they actually tattoo you with? That's No. 1. Is she allergic to something they used to prep the skin? Did she get an infection by getting told not to wash her face for two days? We never tell someone, 'Don't wash your face' after a surgical procedure for two, three, however many days. We wash every day no matter what procedure you do on the skin. It's not sterile."

Jennifer's prognosis is good. Grekin said he doesn't expect she will have long-term problems. She does have mounting medical bills and missed days from work.

"I now regret going in there and getting it done," she said. "It is vanity. You want to look good and you don't ever think that's going to happen to you."

Grekin has advice for anyone trying to improve their eyebrows through microblading.

"I think it's buyer beware," Grekin said. "I think you have to do your research. I think you have to have multiple visits to make certain that you're comfortable that the place is clean, it's efficiently run, that this is not taken as sort of a cavalier, 'come in and get your eyebrows waxed.'"

Grekin said people should be careful of deciding on a microblading procedure solely based on cost. It typically costs $700 to $800. Jennifer thought she found a deal for $250, but she said she will never try the procedure again, but instead stick with eyebrow makeup.

About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.