LYNNWOOD — They have suffered an appearance-altering trauma, and she’s helping them look more like themselves again.
Dawn Hunter, a Lynnwood esthetician, is donating her services to those who have experienced a medical condition or injury that has changed their physical features.
She has donated such things as permanent cosmetics or skin treatments to one patient a month for the past three years. Many of the people who have received her help are burn victims or cancer patients who have lost their hair, eyebrows and eyelashes during chemotherapy.
“It’s such an important identity thing to them,” said Hunter, who is a former chiropractor.
Permanent makeup can be used to tattoo three-dimensional eyebrows on a person’s face. It can also be used as eyeliner to make the loss of lashes less noticeable.
“You’d never know it was permanent makeup,” Hunter said. “It’s very realistic, very natural.”
Hunter uses skin pigmentation treatments to cover up scars, uneven skin tone and changes in the body caused by breast cancer surgeries.
“Just like you can do art on a canvas, you can do art on the skin,” Hunter said. “It helps the patient to feel whole again.”
Tera Martin, of Sammamish, was diagnosed with breast cancer at 28. Her mother was fighting breast cancer when she discovered through a self-exam that she, too, had the disease. She had a double mastectomy and went through six months of chemotherapy.
Martin’s long, brown hair fell out. She lost her eyebrows and lashes.
“Losing my eyebrows and lashes was the worst part,” said Martin, now 30. “It takes away your femininity. At that point, you just feel sick.”
Martin, who holds past beauty pageant titles, said she was nervous about getting permanent cosmetics at first. But she did some research and decided to give it a go. Martin had her eyebrows done at Hunter’s Lynnwood practice this past November.
“The work she did was spectacular,” Martin said. “I feel more feminine and gorgeous. More myself, I would say.”
After the chemotherapy, Martin enjoyed eight months of remission before her cancer came back. In the next eight months she plans to have two surgeries and do radiation therapy. She expects to do hormone therapy for five years.
Despite the cancer, Martin plans to continue her work with the Pink Gene Foundation. She founded the nonprofit in 2013 to raise money for cancer research and support other young women with breast cancer.
It was stories like Martin’s that made Hunter want to help patients who have had their appearance altered.
“To give them back that sense of self feels good,” she said.
Now she’s working with local doctors to make sure they know such help is available for patients after surgeries. She’s also looking for charities that might be able to help cover the cost of treating more people.
For more information about Dawn Hunter’s services, call 206-235-9347 or go to dawnhunter.net.