Reshma Qureshi, 28, survived an acid attack by her own brother-inlaw in 2014, and had been living at a rehabilitation centre in Lado Sarai since, undergoing surgeries at AIIMS, Delhi. In 2019, she got her confidence back after Permanent Makeup Specialist Dr Shikha Baghi Bhandari gave her permanent eyebrows. The specialist, with her non-profit initiative Timeless Promise, has pledged free permanent makeup services to acid attack survivors.
With clinics in Gurugram, Noida, South Delhi, Jalandhar, and Amritsar, Timeless Promise offers other treatments such as Permanent Lip Color and Scalp Micropigmentation. Bhandari has an experience of six years in permanent make-up that entails applying pigment (colour) to the upper layer of skin to produce natural looking features. She wants to raise awareness and put a stop on these violent acts. An interview with Bhandari, who is the Founder & Managing Director of Timeless Aesthetics:
What made you start Timeless Promise?
I founded Timeless Aesthetics in 2019, with the intention to promote Facial Aesthetics and Permanent Makeup. However, I felt something was missing. During that time, I heard about several acid attack cases in India and how the survivors were left to live with irreparable damages. So, I took a leap of faith and started a non-profit, Timeless Promise.
Who was the first person you gave the services to? Share the story.
I came in contact with acid attack survivor Reshma Qureshi from Delhi through a friend in June 2019. She was more than happy to go ahead with the treatment. But there was a 50/50 chance that I might not be able to use my machines due to the extent of damage. Her skin had become very thin, no sign of eyebrows, eyelashes, check contours were also gone, hairline was damaged and so was a large part of her scalp. In such cases, not all things can be rewinded, however there are certain elements that are ideal for perm a n e n t makeup. In Reshma’s case, it was her eyebrows. Since Reshma had lost an eye in the accident, the skin had become paper thin with multiple creases and scars on the open area. Out of many types of Permanent Brows, only Ombré Brows could be done for her. The toughest part was when the needle had to make contact with the skin. I felt what if she doesn’t like them or wanted them removed. But Reshma loved them. This made me realise, “this is the best point of my life”.
Are these eyebrows artificial?
Permanent Eyebrows are usually done on individuals who either have thin, scanty, scarred brows or if there’s loss of hair due to chemotherapy or Alopecia. treatm e n t (Micropigmentation) mimics the real brows to project a natural look. There are no artificial elements in the application and the final look.
How many sittings are needed for all treatments?
Every case requires at least two sittings, but for acid attack survivors, I suggest three. At times, it is the damage that doesn’t allow me to apply pigment the way I want, so I have to improvise. Touch ups are required after two months, and then after an interval of 12 months.
Do these treatments need a lot of aftercare?
Patients have to follow my instructions. Elements like direct sunlight, use of medicated ointment or unregistered cosmetics can cause inflammation or skin issues. However, with simple steps like keeping the treated area clean, washing it according to our instructions and following the transition period without panicking, these problems can be solved. But the best part is that these treatments don’t take much time, and apart from having to get touch ups done once in a while, there are no other hassles.
Do you feel acid attack survivors are looked down upon in society?
Acid attack survivors have told me their stories of how they get stared at. How people get scared or turn away their kids’ faces. All this is a mental harassment. But these procedures do bring about a beautiful change in their lives. It helps them look better, and when they look better, they feel confident. To ensure
they are comfortable, I have them stay with me at my home for the treatment.
Have you done any such treatments during Covid?
Majorly. All these girls I worked with were given treatments during the Covid time. We take utmost precautions and hygiene measures in our set-up.
This non-profit is not only limited to women. All age groups are welcome. I shall launch a sixth clinic in Ludhiana, and this way more people can receive free treatments at all of my facilities. I even offer to train these girls free of cost, and grant them a job offer then and there.