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Are permanent makeup tattoos safe?

Don't make a decision you'll regret

Author: Charlotte Kuchinsky August 14 2011

semi-permanent makeup eyebrow treatment

In recent years more and more women, and men, have turned to permanent makeup options; tattoo grade inks that are permanently applied to the skin.

This type of makeup application is seen by some as more convenient and less time-consuming than having to reapply makeup constantly, while others view it merely as another option in routine cosmetic surgery. But is it safe?

The most common forms of permanent makeup involve tattooing of eyebrows and the application of permanent eyeliner or lipstick. A few people use a variation of the same process to help conceal skin conditions or skin pigmentation problems. However few people take into consideration the possible long-term problems.

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In many countries (including the US) tattooing, as well as permanent makeup, is regulated by local government, resulting in an imbalance in regulation from one area to another. Because of this, many tattoo and permanent makeup artists are able to get away with practices that are less than advisable.

One instance of this is the often unhygienic application of tattoos and permanent makeup. Equipment and inks that are not sterile can result in the transmission of infectious diseases from one individual to another. The biggest concerns, and the ones most often publicized, involve hepatitis and staph infection.

Some people may be allergic to tattoo inks, reactions ranging from simple discomfort such as itching or burning to major outbreak of sores, nodules or keloids. Some could result in permanent scarring.

Another issue that few people consider is that of removal in the case of a problem with a tattoo or permanent makeup. In spite of all of the advances made with regarding to laser technology, removal is no easy task; depending on the type and size of the tattoo as well as the kind of ink used, removal could take multiple treatments, damaging both the pocketbook as well as the psyche. Removing tattoos without some associated scarring is often impossible. Depending on its location, removal may be ill advised or completely inappropriate; while tattoo and makeup artists may be comfortable applying ink around delicate eye areas, physicians are often not as comfortable trying to remove it.

Then there is the issue of change in facial structure. As people age, their skin sags. For some areas of the face, such as the lips, the skin also dries up and appears to shrink. Permanent makeup applied to the eyes or lips, therefore, could suddenly be dislocated, giving the wearer a mask-like appearance that is anything but attractive.

People who have tattoos or even permanent makeup can also have problems with certain types of medical tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They could experience burning and swelling around the inked area both during and sometimes after the procedure. Certain types of inks have also been known to interfere with the effectiveness of the test; the belief is that the inks contain metallic pigments that interact negatively with the equipment.

Taking all of that into consideration, you should think very carefully if tattoos and permanent makeup are worth the potential hassle.

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