Womens Health

Plastic Surgery: Permanent Makeup

Over 8 million women in the United States have undergone a plastic surgery technique that promises permanent makeup through cosmetic tattooing. Also known as dermapigmentation and micropigmentation, permanent cosmetics use tattooing to enhance the lips, eyelids and eyebrows to resemble the effects of applying makeup to the face. But just what does permanent makeup involve and who is it best suited for? Furthermore, what are some of the risks associated with this cosmetic surgery?

What is Permanent Makeup?

Permanent makeup is a cosmetic procedure that employs micro pigmentation insertion (tattooing) using inks and dyes. Permanent makeup in its current form actually dates back to the early twentieth century; however the procedure was concealed at the outset.

In the United States, the inks and pigments used for permanent makeup are subject to FDA regulations; however, some inks used for cosmetic tattooing are still undergoing evaluation. Permanent makeup is applied by a certified, registered professional such as an esthetician, dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

Permanent makeup will last between 3 to 5 years, depending on skin type, before it begins to fade. It is recommended that individuals receive cosmetic touchups every few years to maintain optimal results.

Permanent Makeup Procedures

Permanent makeup can have the following cosmetic effects:

  • help define sparse eyebrows
  • thicken appearance of eyelashes through eyeliner
  • enhance lip color
  • hide scarring

This cosmetic surgery procedure will begin with an initial consultation that involves an evaluation of color preferences as well as individual concerns. Be sure to ask any questions you may have about sterilization and licensing.

The permanent makeup procedure will usually last about two hours for each treated area, and touchups may be applied 4 to 6 weeks following the initial procedure. Topical anesthetic will typically be used; however only mild discomfort is associated with this procedure. Patients will generally not need to take time off work following the procedure; however, no makeup should be applied for the first four days after treatment.

Who Benefits from Permanent Makeup?

Permanent makeup may benefit individuals in the following cases:

  • individuals who are near-sighted
  • athletes and people on the go
  • those with allergies to makeup
  • busy people with little time to apply makeup
  • those who have lost facial hair
  • individuals with asymmetrical facial features
  • those with visual or motor impairments
  • those looking to camouflage scarring on the face

Plastic Surgery Risks

Like all plastic surgery procedures as well as tattooing procedures, permanent makeup is associated with potential side effects and risks. These can include the following:

  • allergies - these can last anywhere from 5 months to over 3 years
  • scarring
  • granulomas and keloids
  • skin cracking
  • peeling
  • blistering
  • infection of local area
  • swelling or burning after MRI
  • risk of infection due to poor sterilization including HIV and hepatitis

Speak to your specialist about proper care and precautions following cosmetic surgery in order to minimize the risk of developing complications.

In addition, dissatisfaction with cosmetic results may occur, and removal of permanent makeup is difficult and may lead to further complications.

Recently, the FDA has reported more than 50 adverse side effects associated with a particular type permanent makeup ink which has since been recalled.

Cost of Permanent Makeup

The cost of permanent makeup depends on the types of procedures that are performed. Typical costs for an eyebrow procedure are between $250 and $950. Eyes range from $250 to $800 and lips can range from $450 to $950. A beauty spot to hide scarring as well as any subsequent procedures may start at $100. Your specialist will discuss fees for your particular case during consultation.

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