The Pros and Cons of Permanent Makeup

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Eyebrow permanent makeup on woman

Are you tired of getting up every single day hours before work to prepare yourself and put on makeup in order to hide the fact that you haven’t been able to sleep, stressing about so many important and unimportant things in your life? Or because maybe, just maybe, you allowed yourself a night out with your friends you hadn’t seen in a while even though you have work the next day?

One way or the other, payback comes the morning after, and layers of makeup have to be put on to conceal the reminder of a pretty good, if a bit irresponsible decision.

Well, what can you do, you truly only live once.

But, the cosmetics industry found a solution to this overwhelming problem years ago in the form of permanent makeup. Cosmetic procedures that enhance your lips and eyebrows, by adding more color to them or putting permanent eyeliner have become quite fashionable. But, there have also been arguments against this form of beautifying, since it can cause health problems for some who decide to undergo this type of treatment.

What is Permanent Makeup?

Eyeliner tattoo on woman

Many are still confused about what permanent makeup actually is.

The procedure is, in itself, quite simple: it consists of implanting dyes or pigments in the first layer of the skin to highlight some of your facial features: lips, eyebrows and lash line. Professionals use local anesthetic to numb the area that is going to be treated, so it is not as painful as people might think. It is similar to tattooing, only, it hurts less.

As for the costs, permanent makeup is not an expensive procedure, however, the prices vary significantly depending on the area that has to be covered, time it takes to get the job done and the reputation of the specialist and the quality of the work.

One can ask, well, what harm can a little bit of ink do to you? However, the answer is never that easy, and every cosmetic procedure you decide to undergo can have both positive and negative aspects.

The Advantages of Permanent Makeup

Lip color tattoo on woman

The arguments for permanent makeup are numerous, and what follow is a little summary of all the benefits you get by putting some beautifying ink on your face:

1) You always look amazing – no need to stress out

Wouldn’t it be perfect if you could just get up and be ready for a day of action instead of having to spend so much time in the bathroom, wishing for the day you will be able to apply that eyeliner perfectly? And that red lipstick you are so afraid of trying again, because you’re never able to keep your hand calm so you always make a small mistake, almost invisible to the human eye, but you see it, it’s there, making you feel stressed the whole day.

Stress is the price we sometimes all have to pay for perfection.  

Well, permanent makeup can alleviate your problems in that department. Not only will it help you look better, it can also help you feel better, knowing that you are always prepared for the challenges of the day. Whether it is an important business meeting, a lunch with you colleagues, or a presentation you have to hold, your makeup is always on point and that is one less thing you have to worry about.

And, admittedly, even though looks are not everything, first impressions are incredibly important. Having the right amount of permanent makeup on will certainly help you make a good one.

2) Traditional makeup can have some side effects

Generally speaking, traditional makeup can have some chemical ingredients that can easily cause an allergic reaction, in the form of, for example, contact dermatitis. The thing with allergic reaction to makeup is that you can have symptoms straight away, or you can exhibit them after years of exposure, when your skin decides it has had enough.

If you have such problems, a nice solution to this would certainly be permanent makeup, since it uses different kind of chemicals in its ink.

One other problem with traditional makeup is that ingredients such as Diazolidinyl urea and DMDM Hydantoin release formaldehyde, and are a known cause of headaches and eye damage. These ingredients, however, cannot be avoided since they are used as antimicrobial preservatives.

Many of us have also experienced a common side effect of makeup – acne. Makeup clogs the pores, not allowing them to breathe, which leads to the formation of blackheads. Too often has one experienced an explosion of pimples on their face after a day (or night) of wearing makeup. Permanent makeup not only lets your pores breathe, but can also endure the application of cleansing and hydrating products. This allows you to keep your skin clean and moisturized, which is not the case with traditional products.

3) Permanent makeup solves skin imperfections

Woman with skin condition

Permanent makeup is sometimes so much more than a simple filling up of your eyebrow line.

Many people with serious skin conditions resort to permanent makeup so they can feel better about themselves. Scars that are a consequence of a surgery can cause serious psychological consequences for the people have who already experienced difficult times and have gone through serious medical procedures, such as chemotherapy. It helps them boost their seriously shaken self-confidence.

Micropigmentation, for example, is a process where a microneedle is inserted into the skin and through it pigments are injected to cover skin discolorations. The aim is to achieve that the color of the damaged area matches the color of the skin surrounding it. It is sometimes called medical/paramedical tattooing. However, the success of the procedure depends on the degree of the damage of the scarred tissue.

There are plenty of situations where this procedure can be quite helpful:

  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Stretch marks
  • Birthmarks
  • Congenital anomalies
  • Age spots
  • Burns
  • Surgery scars
  • Injury scars
  • Plastic surgery scars

It can even solve vitiligo, a special type of genetic skin condition, where the cells which produce melanin stop working, which causes white spots to appear. The condition became widely-known when Winnie Harlow advocated for it on the America’s Next Top Model.

Now, many may wonder whether it is important to appreciate yourself the way you are, with all your flaws. And, truly, isn’t that the main message of the new age body positivity?

However, not many people are as self-assured as Winnie is. If this procedure would help them feel better about themselves and feel more confident, not having to worry about the opinion of the people around them, why not try it? But, when it comes to treating vitiligo, the procedure has its downsides – it doesn’t last forever and has to be repeated after three years, more or less.

The Disadvantages of Permanent Makeup

Now, like many things in life, permanent makeup also has a few disadvantages that you may wish to consider if you’re thinking about doing the procedure. Here are some of them.

1) It can have adverse effects

Even though allergic reactions to pigments used in the procedure are quite rare, they can still happen. Iron oxide is one of the safest ingredients, but still, it can cause an occasional skin irritation.

According to research, pigments that are based on organic ingredients are more likely to cause an adverse reaction. On the other hand, since the injected pigments are long-lasting, it could take years for a person to develop an allergic reaction in a form of rash or skin sensitivity, due to the prolonged exposure to the ingredients, since the body considers the pigment to be a foreign body, and all foreign bodies must be removed. One study showed that people who had a history of allergies are more likely to have an allergic reaction, and that they needed twice as much time to heal.

Possible appearance of granulomas and keloids is yet another downside to the process.  Granulomas are growths which form around the foreign substance and keloids come from the overgrowth of the scars. Keloid scars can be much bigger than the original wound, which, in itself, is twice as damaging, not only to the person’s skin, but also to the person’s mental state, because the thing they wanted to hide actually became bigger.  In some cases the procedure can cause rare deformities.

There are many ingredients that go in both traditional makeup and permanent makeup. If you believe you may have a problem with those ingredients, it’s best to consult a dermatologist before undergoing any procedure such as this one.

2) There is a risk of infection

Woman hiding under blanket

The risk of infection after a micropigmentation procedure is the same as after tattooing. There have been cases of hepatitis transmission, as well as AIDS. The problem is not in the procedure, but in the unsterile equipment and needles, which originally transmit infectious diseases.

That is why it is crucial to keep the instruments clean. Some articles also emphasize the importance of staff seeing through the advertisements for the pigments. Many companies advertise their product to be FDA-approved, which is particularly problematic in the case of pigments used for permanent makeup.

Why, you might ask?

Well, even though it says that it is FDA-approved, in most cases it doesn’t say for which usage. There might be a case, for example, that these colors are safe for purposes other than micropigmentation. Some ingredients are not labeled because they are not sold to the consumer, but to the professional conducting the procedure, so there is no way for them to know what is actually in the pigment they use.

3) The practitioners may be unskilled  

It has already been mentioned that the price varies depending on the skill and experience of the person conducting the procedure. That is why it is very important to find a skilled person. Some parts of the country don’t have this area regulated, so almost anyone with or without any type of certificate can touch your skin. 

Furthermore, it is essential to find a salon with a business license. The practitioner doing the procedure also needs to have a certificate of competency which proves that they have been tested and passed a written, oral and practical exam. Imagine allowing an unskilled professional to touch your skin, without a complete knowledge of the procedure or the sterilization process? That is where many problems can occur.

4) It can disrupt MRIs

It is not that known that pigments can interact with the magnetic field causing disruptions and ruining the quality of an MRI image.

But this could present a problem if you are ever in need of one.

Furthermore, patients may sense redness or irritation after an MRI, but that is not such a severe side-effect. The reason for this sense of irritation lies in the fact that magnetic field reacts with the iron oxide in the pigment, making it vibrate and irritating the skin.

5) It’s not that permanent

How permanent this type of makeup is going to be unfortunately depends on the quality of the ink. Namely, some professionals use a so-called black India ink which should not be used with micropigmentation. It doesn’t stick onto the skin well, that is to say, it only “stains” the skin, which makes it far from permanent. Moreover, there are some reported cases of permanent makeup just fading away, and even some weird cases of permanent makeup changing its position, which, evidently, ends in quite a situation.

What if you get permanent makeup, but regret it?

Woman having lips done

Even though there are cases of fading, that is not a thing that happens quickly. So you are stuck with whatever you decided to do for a longer period of time. And what if you end up hating your new Megan Fox eyebrows and realize they just don’t work so well on your face?

Many people believe that it is easy to remove permanent makeup or tattoos, however, they have to expect some consequences. After some laser treatments your skin color can become lighter. Some areas of the tissue can even change color. Again, you need to choose a good technician, because some were known to leave a scar in place of the makeup.

In the end the best course of action is, basically, to think wisely and not make any abrupt decisions. Any changes to your skin which are permanent have possible consequences and everyone should familiarize themselves with both positive and negative sides of any procedure, not just permanent makeup. When you think things through and weigh the positives and the negatives, you will be able to come to a well-informed decision that you will, hopefully, be satisfied with. 

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