July 16, 2019 6:11 pm

Peterborough tattoo artist helping others restore their confidence

"I'm very passionate about it I really think tattooing is a vocation not just a job, and so I'm always learning, always experimenting and wanting to pass that on in a responsible way," said tattoo artist, Kyla Gutsche.

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Peterborough medical micro-pigmentation specialist Kyla Gutsche is volunteering her skills to help people who have sustained life-altering injuries.

Gutsche started tattooing after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 26-years-old. Following cancer treatment, she had her eyebrows tattooed on and her lips re-pigmented. After several failed sessions, and experiencing a severe allergic reaction, she pursued a quest to train in micro-pigmentation and tattooing herself.

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“I hide the scarring and simulate features that have been damaged, whether they be lips, or lashes, or re-pigmenting skin, or giving the optical illusion of a belly button, or ear, or different things that have been removed,” said Gutsche.

For Gutsche’s client, Beth Dickinson, that was her lips. Dickinson was just 10-months-old when she was electrocuted after biting a television cord. She says her lips never quite looked the same since then.

READ MORE: Peterborough art project ‘unmasks’ struggles of brain injury survivors

“I’ve had like seven reconstruction surgeries to rebuild my mouth. It’s been a work of art really,” said Dickinson.

So, one day, Dickenson took to Google and discovered Cosmetic Transformations by Kyla Gutsche.

“A little blue butterfly came up for cosmetic transformations, and my father also comes to me in the form of blue butterflies since he’s passed, so, I was like this is going to be perfect. So, I messaged her and it’s been great. I was just saying today, it’s the first time I looked in the mirror and I’m happy with what I see,” said Dickenson.

Gutsche worked to make Dickinson’s lips look more symmetrical, adding colour and taking away the obvious signs of scarring. Gutsche calls it art with heart. And it’s all done pro bono.

“I volunteer my time and the materials are paid for through donations to the foundation and from other clients who want to pass forward and donate,” said Gutsche.

READ MORE: Baby born without skin, undergoing treatment that could save his life

Gutsche’s started the Cosmetic Transformations Young Trauma Survivors Foundation to help fund these procedures.

“I’m very passionate about it. I really think tattooing is a vocation not just a job, and so I’m always learning, always experimenting and wanting to pass that on in a responsible way,” said Gutsche.

Gutsche’s very own daughter, Alethea Beaubien, would agree that what her mom does is life-changing. She was injured on a playground causing a scar on her eyebrow.

“Do you know that feeling when you have a scar there and then you feel the trauma about when you had it? Now when I look into the mirror I don’t think that. You wouldn’t even know I had that on my eyebrow, see?!” said Beaubien.

As far as Dickinson, 50, is concerned, she says she’s never felt better. She paid it forward and donated to the foundation to help the next person in line.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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