Cosmetic Tattoo Artist Offers Life-Changing Procedures in India

Image via Amber Gotzmeister

In her hometown of Toronto, you’ll find cosmetic tattoo artist Amber Gotzmeister offering a variety of medical-grade procedures to her clients at her shop The Good Geisha. These services—ranging from microblading and permanent makeup to nipple reconstruction and faux freckles—give women a sense of confidence and boost self esteem.  

Gotzmeister, who has a background in medical esthetics, got her start in cosmetic tattooing 12 years ago. She completed a basic course through the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP) but stayed in the industry to try to move the art form forward.  

“I took the time to study and learn how and why color changes in the skin. I wanted to change the understanding of permanent makeup from the client’s perspective,” says Gotzmeister. “I started using the term cosmetic tattoos instead of permanent makeup. I found this helped clients better understand their level of commitment in having these procedures.”

It was Gotzmeister’s skill and experience that led Supriya Hayer, CEO of The India Project, to her door. Hayer made an appointment to have her brows done, and that appointment wound up offering Gotzmeister a unique opportunity to lend her skills to people in need halfway around the world. 

Fixing Skin Conditions and Scars in India 

The India Project is a non-profit organization that provides surgeries and medical procedures to the underserved populations of India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. But many people who show up to the free surgery camps hosted by The India Project aren’t candidates for surgery, says Gotzmeister.

“Many suffer from hypopigmentation disorders, either from various scarring due to acid attacks or accidental burns, as well as autoimmune disorders such as vitiligo,” she says. 

Acid attacks against women are not uncommon in India, and they are also prevalent in countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Pakistan and Uganda. These attacks often leave their victims with lifelong physical and psychological wounds.

The scars, pigmentation issues, and skin conditions that Gotzmeister treats are often detrimental to a person’s ability to work, get married, or lead a normal life. The India Project, with Gotzmeister’s help, is working to make these medical tattoo procedures more readily available to those who need them. 

“The procedures I am offering are a solution for those that have been told ‘sorry there is nothing else we can do for you,’” she says. “It is an amazing feeling to be able to present the option of a newfound hope.”

Gotzmeister focuses mostly on treating hypopigmentation, which refers to a condition where patches or areas of a person’s skin is lighter than the rest. 

The procedure of blending the color into the skin requires multiple sessions, so Gotzmeister is committed to traveling back and seeing patients every year to finish up the process. “A medical tattoo should not be visible once healed in the skin,” she says. 

All of the traveling back and forth, plus the supplies needed for the procedures are paid out of pocket by Gotzmeister. She posts fundraisers to Go Fund Me to help cover her costs. 

“The communities I am working in are greatly underserved and I need to bring all the supplies I need with me, even gloves,” she says. “I am so grateful for all of those that have supported me. This mission truly wouldn’t be possible without the continued support.”  

Amber Gotzmeister in India

On every trip to India, Gotzmeister faces a number of challenges due to the remote locations and communities that The India Project is working hard to serve. She says that supplies are difficult to come by and that there are often rolling blackouts throughout the country. 

Gotzmeister also says that she relies on a fulltime translator to help her communicate with her patients, especially about aftercare instructions. 

But all of the diligent fundraising, exhausting travel schedules, and on-the-ground hiccups are all worth the feeling that Gotzmeister gets every time she sees a patient look in the mirror following a procedure. 

“The experience has been nothing short of life changing,” she says.

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