Basma Hameed decided to take matters into her own hands and became a paramedical scar camouflage expert.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on April 5, 2022. It has since been updated.
Basma Hameed was just 2 years old when hot oil fell on her face and she suffered third-degree burns on her skin. She underwent more than 100 painful procedures ranging from plastic surgeries to laser treatments, but she was still scarred with red discoloration. The incident happened in her native country of Iraq and her family has since moved to Canada. She grew up to become a paramedical tattoo specialist and covered half her face in tattoos that match her skin tone, and she is so good at it that you can hardly tell. She also tattooed an eyebrow to replace the one she lost to the burn. "When I started working on my face, I was extra careful. I wanted to make sure that I was going to get the right result," she said.
Hameed turned her own trauma into her profession and she's now one of the best at it. "I think that I'm good at paramedical scar camouflage because I was able to work on myself, and I was able to see the process of it," she said, reported CBC News.
Her determination to make a change stemmed from people telling her nothing could be done about the way she looked. "I was told by my plastic surgeon that I needed to take my money and go on a vacation. For me, I felt like that wasn't the end of the road. I truly believed that something else did exist," she said. "So I did a lot of research, and of course, I went to school. I made sure I knew what I was getting myself into."
She started her own Scar Camouflage Clinic in Toronto in 2011, and its success led to the opening of a second location in Beverly Hills, California.
Basma Hameed is a huge source of hope for many who have suffered burns, scars or have other forms of color pigmentation issues. Many people around the world travel to Canada so they can get treated by her. Celebrities including Jordyn Woods, Anastasia Karanikolaou and others have sought treatment from Hameed, who's a scar camouflage and micropigmentation specialist.
One person who was able to reap the benefit of Hameed's treatment is Samira Omar, a 17-year-old who had burn scars on her face, neck and hands. In a horrific bullying incident, she was doused with boiling water by four of her classmates. "I remember I looked into the mirror when I was calling for help and I could see my skin completely hanging off me," she recalled. "It just felt as if I'd been through hell and back." When she paid a visit to Hameed, she had colorless patches on her skin. Much like Hameed, Omar had almost given up after a lot of specialists said she wasn't going to get her color back. Hameed assured her she could cover all those patches and achieve an even skin tone. Hameed camouflaged Omar’s burns by tattooing them with ink that blended with her natural skin tone.
"When she told me she could actually get my pigments back and find a skin color that could match my actual skin color, it's just a big sigh of relief," said Omar.
Hameed also has her own charity—Basma Hameed Survivors Foundation—that is funding Omar's treatment for free. "When I hear her story, I felt like I relate so much," said Hameed. "I wanted to reach out to and help as much as possible."
Omar is stunned by how much of her skin looks even now. "It's a great finish, honestly, thank you so much," she tells Hameed, smiling from ear to ear.
"I am proud of myself for not giving up but what I'm most proud of is the reaction [I get] from people," said Hameed.
Hameed also treats people with vitiligo, a skin disease that causes loss of pigment. And she works with breast cancer survivors drawing nipples and eyebrows. She has also come out with a new scar concealer that she developed by experimenting on herself. Basma Beauty is a buildable foundation stick that comes in 40 shades. "The best way to describe [the texture] is butter—it just melts into your skin leaving this flawless, satin-like finish,” said Hameed, reported Fashion Magazine.