Adverse effects and complications
As with tattoos, permanent makeup may have complications, such as allergies to the pigments, formation of scars, granulomas and keloids, skin cracking, peeling, blistering and local infection. The use of unsterilized tattooing instruments may infect the patient with serious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Removal problems may also ensue, due to patient dissatisfaction or regret, and they may be particularly difficult to remove in places such as eyelids and lips without leaving permanent sequelae. Compliance with ‘standard precautions’ and a uniform code of safe practice should be insisted upon by a person considering undergoing a cosmetic tattoo procedure.
It is essential that technicians use appropriate personal protective equipment to protect the health of the technician and the client particularly in the prevention of transmission of blood borne pathogens.
On very rare occasions, people with permanent makeup have reported swelling or burning in the affected areas when they underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However a detailed review of the cases within the medical literature involving cosmetic tattoos indicates that poor quality pigments, pigments adulterated with heavy metals, and pigments with diametric magnetic properties may have been the causative factors in most of those cases.
Topical anaesthetics are often used by technicians prior to Cosmetic Tattooing and there is the potential for adverse effects if topical anaesthetics are not used safely, in 2013 the International Industry association CosmeticTattoo.org published a detailed position and general safety precautions for the entire industry.
The causes of a change of colour after cosmetic tattooing are both complex and varied. As discussed in the detailed industry article “Why Do Cosmetic Tattoos Change Colour”, primarily there are four main areas that have influence over the potential for a cosmetic tattoo to change colour;
1) Factors related to the pigment characteristics
2) Factors related to the methods and techniques of the tattooist
3) Factors intrinsic to the client
4) Factors related to the client’s environment and medicines
Technicians need to have a comprehensive understanding of these influences to achieve more predictable outcomes for their clients.