The daily task of applying makeup can be time-consuming and even difficult for some people. If you are a busy mom, a harried executive, someone who spends a lot of time participating in physical activities or someone who suffers from a medical disorder like MS or Parkinson’s disease, traditional makeup may not be working very well for you.
Permanent makeup procedures can drastically reduce the amount of time you spend applying your daily makeup. However, permanent makeup is controversial and has many people asking, “Is permanent makeup safe?”
The answer to this question often depends on whom you ask. It’s important to consider both sides of this issue before you decide to have permanent makeup applied. After you review the question thoroughly, you can decide for yourself if permanent makeup is safe and if it is the right choice for your needs.
What is Permanent Makeup?
Permanent makeup is known by several names, including permanent cosmetics, micropigmentation, cosmetic tattooing, dermal-pigmentation, micropigment implantation and dermagraphics. Regardless of which term is used, permanent makeup involves depositing colored pigments into the dermis, which is the second layer of skin, located directly under the epidermis, or top layer of skin. The procedures are done using a traditional tattoo or coil machine, the pen or rotary machine or by a hand tool.
Before the tattooing session, you will have a consultation with the permanent makeup artist. This technician may be a tattooist, a dermatologist, a cosmetologist, a nurse or an aesthetician. After the consultation, the technician will create your design and apply a topical anesthetic. Then the actual procedure takes place, which will last from 1 to 1½ hours. After the procedure, the entire area will be iced down to minimize swelling. Expect the entire visit to take about 1½ to 3 hours. Most clients will need a follow-up visit for touch-ups about 4 to 6 weeks later. Some clients do not require the follow-up procedure, but many do.
Permanent makeup is most often used to apply permanent eyeliner, followed by eyebrows and then lip color. Some places offer permanent eye shadow or permanent blush, but these procedures are highly discouraged by the American Academy of Micropigmentation (AAM) because of the larger surface area involved, especially if an allergic reaction occurs.
What About Safety?
You will find conflicting information about the safety of permanent makeup. Technicians who perform the service will assure you it is safe, and some will tell you that their pigments are approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
However, according to the FDA, in a Consumer Health Information feature, their position is this: “FDA has not approved any tattoo inks for injection into the skin and many ink pigments used (for this purpose) are industrial strength colors suitable for printers’ ink or automobile paint.” The FDA has become more involved recently because of some reports of bad reactions to the inks used in permanent makeup.
Should you decide you are unhappy with your permanent makeup or tattoos, the FDA advises laser treatment for removal of tattoos, but it cautions that laser removal is time-consuming, expensive and sometimes ineffective. They warn that you should never use online do-it-yourself tattoo removal products and to go to your health provider, not a tattoo parlor, for removal of any tattoos, and that includes permanent makeup.
Another issue is the licensing or certification of the technicians who do permanent makeup procedures. When you are deciding where to have permanent makeup applied, you should know that state and local laws regulate tattooing and permanent makeup training, as well as permanent makeup certification. Requirements vary widely from place to place and some areas require no certification or training at all. Before choosing a permanent makeup artist, make sure the business is licensed and has been inspected by the local health department. You should also call the health department to confirm that the certification is authentic.
Find out how long the permanent makeup artist has been in business and how many procedures the artist has performed. Ask to talk to real people they have worked on, and you’ll be able to see how the makeup has held up over time. Notice the cleanliness of the establishment. All needles used should be individually pre-packaged, and you should watch them open both the needles and the ink bottles. Again, remember that no matter what a salon may tell you, the FDA has not approved any inks for injection into the skin. If they tell you their inks are made from all-natural substances, this is no guarantee of safety. You may still have a reaction to a product that is all-natural.
Finally, make sure you follow all of your after-care instructions carefully to avoid infection. If you develop any problems, see your doctor immediately.
Permanent makeup procedures can turn out successfully, but it is still important to be aware of the facts and potential risks before you have any work done, or you could be stuck with the results for a long time.
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