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The Scoop on Permanent Makeup

Believe me, I struggle every day to get out of bed and get ready for work. Sometimes I even sleep in my makeup (shh..) and re-touch in the morning if I’m feeling THAT lazy, which occurs somewhat semi-frequently. The new fad today is permanent makeup and in today’s fast-paced world it seems like people would do anything just to save some time. If you haven’t heard it from your hairstylist already, permanent makeup is not a new thing. Celebrities always have the first scoop on new fads and this is one of them, from Angelina Jolie to Marc Jacobs and Lucy Liu, these celebs had cosmetic tattooing just to save time even with their own makeup-artists! Cosmetic tattooing from inked on eyebrows, to eyeliner and lip liner has become a time-saver as indispensable to young female power suits as Facebook is to you and me. Cosmetic tattooing is really just your average tattooing except instead of Kat Von D’s handiwork you will get subtle eyebrows perfect for your face shape. Now you know the “scoop” here are the real details of permanent make-up.

So How Does Permanent Makeup Work?

Permanent makeup is also referred to as micro-pigmentation, a procedure that applies micro insertions of pigment onto the dermal layer of the skin. The older a person gets, the more their facial features loses color. The most common applications are the eyebrows, lips, and eye liner. Instead of getting a tattoo done at a tattoo parlor, your tattooing is done at either a cosmetic surgery practice or a medical spa. This is important because these centers have the necessary experts to guarantee your safety and satisfaction as they are licensed. If the center has a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist, even better! Before the procedure you will have a consultation, this is where you get to describe all of your concerns, insecurities, and what you hope to solve with cosmetic tattooing. Most practitioners will sketch their design on the client’s face prior to laying ink. Practitioners can also etch indelible eyebrow outlines so your waxer has a simple guide to follow and reduces the chance of your eyebrows being partially removed on accident. Inking can take anywhere from 20 minutes for simple eyeliner to an hour for eye brows or the entire lip. If you’d prefer the area to be numbed with cream or a lidocaine gel, then add another 60 minutes for the numbing to take. Complete recovery is only three-seven days though lips and lids will most likely be puffy for the first 24-48 hours like with any tattooing. Your tattoo will also appear much darker for up to six weeks until that layer sloughs off. Tattoos deteriorate no matter where they are located but facial tattoos are more susceptible to sun exposure so applying regular sunscreen will slow the process but touch ups will be necessary after 2-10 years.

Benefits and Problems of Permanent Makeup

To every great thing there is always a downside. Permanent makeup can save you years of time with no worries about smudging or reapplying as it won’t come off in the shower or while you’re laying out at the beach. People with disabilities or impaired motor skills, such as arthritis, can fully benefit from permanent makeup especially if they aren’t able to apply it themselves. After reconstructive surgery in areas like the face or breast, permanent makeup can help return the skin’s appearance to normal if pigment was lost during surgery or even hide permanent scars. Women who have had a mastectomy and have gone through breast reconstructive surgery can have tattooed areolas that are very similar in size and color to their originals. As much of a simple and easy procedure, there are always drawbacks. The problems and concerns of permanent makeup are almost identical as the problems with tattoos. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved many shades of ink for cosmetic use but they are not always safe for injection. The FDA has received over 150 complaints and negative responses about some of the shades of ink used in permanent makeup that were approved by the FDA.

Allergies are also a serious concern and although they are rare, they are very difficult to treat because once the ink has been injected it is very hard to remove the pigment from skin. There is also a chance of developing a keloid formation, where scars grow beyond their natural boundaries, or granulomas, nodules that form around the pigment. Hepatitis and staph infections can surely be transmitted through needles; this is why cosmetic tattooing is only recommended in licensed centers such as cosmetic surgery practices or medical spas. Another important factor with a higher degree of occurrence is human-based. Most women have a daily routine, they have differing styles for the makeup they wear to work, casual outings, or formal outings and none of these are usually the same. So when women want permanent makeup to make their lives a little easier they don’t realize that it is permanent so the black eyeliner you choose will stay black. There has been an increase of technology to remove tattoos through laser, dermabrasion, and surgical removal but pigment removal is difficult and time-consuming and often leaves scars.

To tattoo or not to tattoo?

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself before pursuing permanent makeup. Are you allergic to any of the ingredients in shades of ink? Similar to a body tattoo, will you regret or become tired of having permanent makeup? You also must be realistic, tattoos never come out perfect; they can fade and even turn colors sometimes though for those who do regret their tattoos laser removal is available. The cost of inking can range from $1,000 to $2,000 depending on how much ink you have done. The best start is to weigh the factors and ask yourself a few questions. Once you’ve got that worked out, you’re ready to contact a licensed aesthetician or dermatologist to get you started.

Kate Bowden