The Mighty Logo

This Burn Victim Turned Tattoo Artist Is Helping Hundreds of People Regain Their Confidence

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

When Basma Hameed was 2 years old, she and her 8-year-old brother were playing in the kitchen. He decided they should surprise their parents by cooking a meal for them. While trying to move a pot of boiling oil to the sink, he tripped over his sister and spilled on her. Hameed suffered burns to 40 percent of the left side of her face.

“Growing up I would hate going to school because you’re constantly being stared at and made fun of,” Hameed told The Mighty. “This was on my face; it’s not like I could hide it.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 6.07.57 PM

Until she was 16, Hameed underwent 100 different surgeries and procedures but still lived with red discoloration on her face and visible scarring. Plastic surgeons told her over and over again they’d done all they could for her and she would just have to live with the marks. Finally, she grew sick of hearing “no.”

When Hameed was 17 she became an apprentice at a tattoo parlor in Toronto while simultaneously studying medical aesthetics. She applied her knowledge from both fields to herself — she began tattooing her own face. Little by little, she worked on covering up and blending her scars and discoloration with tattoos.

“I was so happy,” she told The Mighty. “When I started seeing improvement, it was everything. That little bit of improvement gave me the confidence to go outside and live my life.”

Basma Hameed (left) with a client (right).
Basma Hameed (left) with a client (right).

Hameed knew right away that she wanted to help others regain their confidence as well. After four years of freelance work with several plastic surgeons, she started her own business — the Basma Hameed Clinic.

“It’s the best feeling in the world because you know you’re doing something that’s literally changing people’s lives,” Hameed told The Mighty. “I’ve seen the transformation in front of my eyes so many times. After we do a few treatments, [the patient] becomes a brand new person. I’m so grateful that I’m able to do that for them.”

Check out some before and after photos of some of the clients at the Basma Hameed clinic below: 






Her clinic has locations in both Toronto and Chicago, and she’s received widespread media attention for her success as a paramedical scar camouflage specialist. She’s even developed and marketed her own scar-concealing makeup.

But despite the success of her business, the most important thing to Hameed remains the message she represents.

“I want to share my story because it gives hope to people,” she told The Mighty. “Don’t let anything like that stop you from living. Don’t let it control your life.”

See Hameed in action in the video below: 

Want to celebrate the human spirit? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.

Originally published: January 27, 2015
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home