Thinking about having permanent makeup applied? Learn more about the benefits and risks of this cosmetic procedure.
Some people like the idea of permanent makeup. It can save time, and it always looks good. Those who are allergic to ingredients in traditional eyeliner and lipstick may see it as a good alternative. It may also be a solution for those who have trouble keeping a steady hand to apply makeup.
Permanent makeup is also known as dermapigmention, micropigmentation or cosmetic tattooing. Pigment is implanted in the skin to look like makeup applied to eyelids, brows or lips. It is applied the same way as tattoos. A needle is dipped into pigment and injected into the bottom layer of the skin.
This technique may also be used to return the look of someone’s face or skin to normal. For instance, people who have lost their eyebrows because of alopecia, a form of hair loss, can have eyebrow pencil permanently applied. Those who have vitiligo, a loss of color in areas of the skin, may be able to even out their complexions with dermapigmentation.
Dermapigmentation: what to expect
Aestheticians working in spas or salons may perform the procedure. Some are supervised by doctors. The procedure may also be done by a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist. Always ask about the technician’s training. References and before-and-after photos can help you get an idea of their work.
It is very important for dermapigmentation to be performed in a sterile environment. At a salon or spa, the treatment area should be separated to protect against contamination from fumes or hair. All parts of the machine that come in contact with the skin and pigment must be disposable or sterilized after each use. The technician should wear goggles, a face shield and double gloves.
You may be told to gently wash the affected area with mild soap and use moisturizer or an antibiotic cream as needed until healed. This can take from seven to 10 days. While you’re healing, don’t cover the area with cosmetics, apply peroxide or peel off any skin. You should also avoid direct sunlight for at least two weeks. You may be told not to use contact lenses for a few days or swim for several weeks afterward.
What could go wrong
Placement of the pigment is vital. There is no room for error. For instance, eyebrow pigment could be placed too high. The application can also be painful, and anesthetics injected to numb the area could cause swelling and bruising.
Also, should you ever want to remove the tattoo, you’ll need costly laser treatments, which can cause scarring. In some cases, complete removal may be impossible.
Another drawback? Makeup color trends can change over time, as can your skin tone. Permanent makeup that looked flattering at first may later clash with aging skin or style trends. Also, you should be realistic about the end result. For instance, an eyebrow “tattoo” will look like makeup – not real hair.
There are also health risks to any kind of tattooing, including permanent makeup. These may include infection, lumps called granulomas, allergic reactions to pigments and scarring. The ink can also migrate and blur over time. The FDA is still investigating the safety of some inks that are used in tattoos and permanent makeup. Some inks used in permanent makeup may cause problems during MRIs. It is very important to consider the risks as well as the benefits before you decide to undergo any cosmetic procedure.