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What is Permanent Makeup?

Permanent makeup is tattooed micropigmentation that mimics cosmetic products. It involves the use of a needle to place pigmented granules beneath the upper layers of the skin. Tattooing and medical restoration are also used to help mask imperfections from scars and vitiligo, a lack of natural pigmentation in the skin.

There are many types of permanent makeup: eye or lip liner, lip coloring, pigment blending to camouflage skin imperfections, lash imitation, and even areola re-pigmentation.

Putting makeup on every day may seem like a daunting task, but is it really safe to go with a more permanent fix? Read below to learn about permanent makeup procedures and their pros and cons.

Permanent makeup procedure and pigmenting tools

There are a variety of tools that can be used to perform a cosmetic pigmenting procedure. A traditional tattoo gun is often the go-to method for eyeliner pigment and other straight line applications. Rotary pens are also tattoo machines, but can come in non-mechanical forms. These tools allow the surgeon to apply different levels of shading; this technique may be used for implanting color in the eyelids, cheek bones or lips. There are many other tools that may be used to achieve a number of desired looks.

The first step is the initial consultation. Talk with the plastic surgeon about the look you want and he or she can walk you through all the options and pricing they offer. The next step is the procedure. Each procedure has its own technique and length of time it will take.

Afterward, there will be at least one consultation. On this visit, the surgeon will see how well you are healing, and he or she will be able to evaluate how well the pigment is holding up. If there are any touchups needed, your doctor may do it at this visit or schedule another appointment.

There are many types of permanent makeup: eye or lip liner, lip coloring, pigment blending to camouflage skin imperfections, lash imitation, and even areola re-pigmentation. The list of options goes on, but learning what could go wrong should be your first goal to determining if permanent makeup is right for you.

The pros and cons of permanent makeup

Permanent cosmetic surgery is not a procedure that should be taken lightly. It is a real surgery that can help you achieve your desired look; it may also come with all the problems that may arise from any cosmetic procedure. Learning works and what could go wrong should be your first goal in determining whether permanent makeup is right for you.

The pros

The upside to having your makeup surgically applied is waking up every morning looking as if you just finished your beauty regimen. You are able to swim, exercise and do all sorts of daily activities without worrying about reapplying your makeup before going out on the town. For people that have allergic reactions to certain cosmetic products, permanent makeup can alleviate these reactions.

Joint and muscular problems like arthritis can often make it painful to apply makeup. For patients that suffer from these conditions, surgical cosmetics may be a viable option.

The cons

Having your makeup permanently applied does come with the risk of infection, just as any tattoo work does. Infection can occur from improper sterilization of the needles as well mishandled ink. If the ink is out of date or is being stored without being securely closed, dangerous microbes may become mixed in the ink, which can then be transferred to you during the procedure.

Tattoo needles generally come in an individual package. If the packaging is damaged and the needle has not been properly sterilized, it too poses a risk for infection.

Some skin types may be more prone to scarring. Scarring from tattooing may lead to a condition known as keloid formation, causing the scar to go beyond its usual boundaries.

Finally, what should you do if you want to change your look? Removing permanent makeup is not as easy as removing your usual beauty products. Doing so can mean undergoing several procedures and may be a lengthy process. When considering a surgical approach, keep in mind how often you want to change your look.

How long does permanent makeup last?

Like any other type of tattoo, the ink from permanent makeup does tend to fade over time. It lasts approximately 4-6 years; however, this depends on several factors. The longevity greatly depends on the type of makeup procedure you have undergone. For instance, eyeliner may need to be touched up in four to six years, while it can be as early as three years for lip touchups.

Sometimes the technique used also plays a role in how long the makeup lasts. It is important to shop around to find an experienced professional. As with any tattoo, the depth of the needle also plays a big role in how long the ink stays in the skin.

Permanent makeup pricing

The price of permanent makeup may be a deterrent for some; however, there are cosmetic tattooing options to fit most budgets.  In many cases, these types of procedures are not covered by insurance. However, if the procedure is considered necessary to repair certain conditions, then insurance may reimburse a portion of the cost. 

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