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Permanent Makeup FAQ

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Permanent Makeup FAQ

What is Permanent Makeup?
Permanent cosmetic makeup is easiest described as cosmetic tattooing. The specialised techniques used for permanent cosmetics are often referred to as “micro-pigmentation”, “micro-pigment implantation” or “derma-graphics”. The cosmetic implantation technique deposits coloured pigment into the upper reticular layer of the dermis (skin). Also see “Is this Permanent Makeup for Me?”.
 How are Permanent Cosmetic Procedures Performed?
Permanent cosmetics procedures are performed using various devices including the traditional tattoo coil machine, the pen or rotary machine (includes the digital rotary machine), and the non-machine or hand device. The process includes a consultation, the application (implantation) of pigment, and at least one follow up visit for the evaluation of healing and pigment colour.
  Who can benefit from Permanent Makeup?
Permanent makeup can be of benefit to the young and old. People who suffer from skin allergies and sensitivities and who cannot wear traditional makeup as a result, find permanent cosmetic procedures especially useful. Active people who like to look their best whilst partaking in activities like swimming, hiking, biking, tennis, aerobics, or any other activity that leads to the “sweating off” and reapplying of makeup also benefit from permanent makeup. Permanent cosmetics is of further value to visually challenged individuals who find it difficult to apply makeup and to others who suffer from dexterity related conditions like Arthritis, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and strokes.If you meet the age requirements and have the ability to heal from minor wounds, permanent makeup can be beneficial to you.
 What type of Permanent Cosmetic procedures can be done?
Permanent cosmetic procedures can have a subtle or dramatic effect, depending on your requirements. Procedures include:

  • E Eyebrows
  • Eyeliner, Top and Bottom 
  • Lip liner, Lip Colour, and/or Blend
  • Scar Camouflage
  • Beauty Marks
  • Hair Imitation
  • Lash Enhancement
  • Areola Re-pigmentation
PLEASE NOTE that some of these procedures use more advanced techniques (para-medical techniques) and thus require an experienced technician with advanced training.
Are Permanent Cosmetics really permanent?
Permanent cosmetic procedures are considered permanent because pigment is tattooed into the upper reticular part of the dermal layer of the skin and thus, cannot be washed off. However, as with any tattoo or colorant (pigment) in general, fading can and often does occur.  This result is periodic maintenance referred to as colour re-enhancement or colour refreshing being required. The scientific structure of pigments and the requirement for periodic refreshing is identical to that of tinted hair colour; faded material on furniture that may be located near a window which is subject to sun exposure; or house paint that is exposed to the sun and other environmental elements.Periodic maintenance is a good opportunity to re-evaluate one’s colour and design preferences.  Whilst the concept of “permanent” may seem like a perfectly good idea, ones’ tastes and style changes with time. The fact that most people will require periodic colour refreshment of their permanent cosmetics is the opportune time to, in conjunction with your technician, re-evaluate your overall appearance profile and decide whether any changes would be appropriate in accordance thereto.The longevity of permanent cosmetics varies from person to person depending on life style – sun exposure, the colour/s used for the permanent cosmetic procedure, and also the topical products applied to the skin.

How Much does Permanent Makeup Cost?
Permanent makeup procedures vary in cost, but on average, expenditure should be between R1 200 and R 2 800 per procedure.Advanced work may be charged at R 800 to R 1 000 per hour. These procedures are commonly referred to as para-medical procedures.
 How Long Does Each Procedure Take?
Initial procedures generally take around 2 to 2 ½ hours. The initial procedure involves a fair amount of record taking; photographs need to be taken; desired design and colour options need to be discussed; the actual procedure needs to be performed; and the aftercare requirements discussed. Follow up or colour refresher procedures do not usually require the same amount of time.
 Is Permanent Cosmetic Procedures Painful?
Most people experience some discomfort. This severity of the discomfort varies in accordance with each individual’s pain threshold. Various topical anaesthetics have been developed for the permanent cosmetics industry which does help to minimise discomfort. Your technician should discuss the methods available with you to determine which is most appropriate for your specific procedure and pain threshold.To put this into perspective: thousands of body art tattoos are performed annually, possibly millions.  As a rule, traditional tattoo professionals do not use any anaesthetics for their tattoo procedures. Anaesthetics for permanent cosmetics are more of a tattoo service luxury because of the nature of the tattoo location and the fact that permanent cosmetics falls into the beauty treatment category.Also see “Does Permanent Makeup Hurt?”
 Is It Safe?
If proper sterilization and disinfection guidelines are met, permanent cosmetics are completely safe. Professionals in the permanent cosmetics industry routinely attend Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classes. The guidelines that get taught at these classes include (but are not limited to) the following.IMPORTANT! Things to look out for:

  1. Only new and sterile needles should be used for each client. New, sterile needles should be opened in your presence.
  2. Disposable sterilized one-time use machine parts should be purchased by the artist and disposed of in a sharps container immediately after the procedure has been completed.
  3. Personal protection equipment such as disposable one-time use aprons and gloves should be new for each client and changed during the procedure if needed.
  4. The technician should be clean and neat.
  5. Disposable one-time use chair/bed covering should be new for each client.
  6. The room or treatment area should be in an area free from other contaminants. The SPCP whom is affiliated with PCASA has taken a position against permanent cosmetic procedures conducted at trade shows and in salons where nail dust, aerosols or other chemicals are present.

Also see “Permanent Makeup Tattooing and The Truth” and “What Should I Expect?

 What If I Don’t Like It?
Although the procedure is considered permanent, these procedures do have flexibility in changing colour and shape to some extent, depending on the expertise of your technician. Keep in mind that colours will appear darker immediately following the procedure but will soften and lighten during the healing process. The healing time is different for each individual and each procedure. It is very important to realize that often the new procedure represents something somewhat different; at times colour where there was no colour at all or very little.  It takes time to get use to a new look. Very often this applies to eyebrows which were sparse and unnoticeable before the permanent cosmetic brow procedure. Eyeliner colour is more evident due to the contrast to the skin colour.  Lip colour can take up to six weeks to reflect the final colour. Be patient.After the procedure has healed and you are able to form an objective opinion about the outcome, the only reason for not liking your permanent cosmetics would be if you chose your technician poorly. Take note of the following when selecting your technician:

  1. If you cannot communicate with your technician, it is possible that your desires will not be realized.
  2. If your technician recognizes your requests, but does not take your desires for colour or design into account, you should not proceed with the procedure.
  3. Don’t request eyebrow colour based on your tinted scalp hair colour. That is subject to change and it may affect how you then feel about the colour of your permanent cosmetic eyebrowsEyebrow colour should be selected based on the undertone of your skin and the colour of your eyebrow hair (if any).
  4. Most well-trained technicians will not perform a procedure if the design and/or colour requested by the client is not reasonable. If your requests are turned down by one or more technicians, re-think what you are asking for.
  5. Permanent cosmetics are not easily removed.  Make good decisions up front. You can enjoy the liberation permanent cosmetics provides when you do your research and choose a qualified professional that you work well with.
 Which Technician Should I Choose?
Choose a technician carefully by considering the individual’s training, experience, compliance with local laws, and the technician’s “before and after” photograph portfolio. It is important to remember that the shape and proper placement of the procedure is as important as the right colour. Professionals have studied colour theory and skin undertones which results in the colour requested.  Unskilled people who have not pursued the required education do not have the knowledge required to translate pigment colour to skin to achieve the desired outcome.The preferred look is obtained during the course of consultation, initial procedure and follow-up appointment(s). Interaction between the client and the technician is of utmost importance.
 Is Permanent Cosmetic Makeup a Career For Me?
The opportunities for skilled Permanent Cosmetics technicians are impressive. Career and business opportunities will however vary depending on location and the individual technician’s training and skill level. Many nurses and a few doctors, as well as hair, skin, and nail care professionals are choosing to train in permanent cosmetics.
 Are There Any Side Effects During or After the Procedure?
While eyebrows may show little after effect, eyeliner and lips may show slight to moderate swelling. This is very dependent upon the amount of work performed. As examples; an eyelash enhancement will show very little response to the tattooing procedure compared to a more moderate response when wide eyeliner is performed.  The same applies to lip colour procedures.  A lip liner or blended lip liner will show less effects of the procedure than that of a full lip colour.  Also, some people swell more from minor skin infractions than others.During the procedure there may be some minor bleeding.  This again, is client specific.  Many people take blood thinners on a daily basis so some slight bleeding would be expected.  Others show little or no signs of bleeding.  Bruising is rare but again, if a person is on blood thinners, bruising could occur.  Eyebrows rarely, if ever produce any bruising whilst minor bruising during eyeliner procedures is possible if the skin being tattooed is very thin and close to the vascular system.  This also applies to lip procedures in the event of a client being more mature. If bruising does occur, it is typically minor and subsides in a few days.There is usually some tenderness for a few days. The colour is much darker than you may expect for the first six to ten days.

Other less often reported side effects are difficult to determine due to the individuality of each person’s biological system. This is why professional permanent cosmetic technicians require a client history profile to assess different factors that may contribute to your experience after the tattooing procedure has been completed.

 Do The Pigments Pose Allergy Problems?
People can develop an allergy to anything, at any time. However, pigment allergies are considered rare. Some doctors recommend that people with environmental allergies or allergies to conventional makeup have permanent cosmetic procedures because they can eliminate the need for cosmetic products that people are sensitive to. Ask your technician if they use pigments that are formulated from powders taken from the FDA’s Food Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C) listings. Although the FDA does not at this time approve or disapprove tattoo pigments, the SPCP considers pigments formulated from the FD&C listing the safest origin of pigment powders for permanent cosmetic pigment formulations.  Also PCASA and SPCP pigment suppliers are required to list the ingredients on their pigment labels.
 Is There Any Possibility for Medical Problems?
With today’s health standards, the possibility that you would have any problems or reactions from these procedures is almost non-existent. PCASA member professionals are given continued opportunities for education in practicing precise methods of disinfection and sterilization. Post procedural instructions, if followed carefully, will greatly reduce any risk. Medical problems associated with permanent cosmetics are often linked to poor attention to the required aftercare process on behalf of the client.Choose a time for procedures when you feel confident you can follow the simple, but very important after care instructions
 What’s a Touch-Up and Do I Need One?
Often the tattooed colour is not perfect after the initial procedure heals. Permanent cosmetic procedures are a process and at least one follow-up to the initial procedure should be scheduled. It is recommended that any required detail work to the original procedure be performed no sooner than four weeks after the original procedure. The minimum standard for follow-up detail work for lip procedures is six weeks. Lips have a different healing agenda than procedures performed on other parts of the face due to their delicate nature.The cited time frames will vary depending on the health profile and age of the client, but these are good minimum standards for consideration.
 Can I Still Have an MRI Scan?
Numerous studies have shown that even for people who have large body tattoos there is little to no potential for irritation resulting from an MRI. In the rare instance where discomfort resulted, it was localized and very temporary. However, with that said, it is prudent to advise your MRI technician that you have permanent cosmetics.
For a listing of member technicians in your area, see our online permanent makeup technician listings or Contact Us

Common procedures

Eyebrows

Are you eyebrow challenged? Are your eyebrows sparse due to over tweezing or a medical condition? Do you have little or no eyebrow hair? Do you find it difficult to put them on without your glasses, but your glasses are in the way? Does the drawn on design come out crooked or uneven? Do your pencilled brows wear off during the day?  For these reasons and many, many more, women are finding permanent cosmetic eyebrows a liberating procedure.

From providing a basic guideline for you to follow, should you like to pencil them yourself, to total brow recreation, your technician can create anything from a few hair strokes to dramatic fully coloured brows that even your closest friends won’t believe aren’t your own.

As with any artistic appearance enhancement service, techniques will vary from technician to technician. The process cited below are popular techniques used but not necessarily followed exactly, by all permanent cosmetic professionals.

If you wear eyebrow pencil, your technician may ask you to wear your pencilled eyebrows to the consultation the way you would like them to appear after the cosmetic tattoo has healed. Or, you may be asked to bring a pictorial representation of the preferred eyebrow design. If you have been asked to wear your eyebrows drawn in, or to bring in pictorial examples, your permanent cosmetic professional will advise you if the example(s) are age and style appropriate for permanent cosmetic eyebrows.

The skin is cleaned with an appropriate cleanser. Some technicians apply an anaesthetic before the cosmetic tattoo process and some do not. After the anaesthetic has taken effect and removed, the eyebrows are drawn on with an eyebrow pencil that has been disinfected prior to use.

It is very important that you and the permanent cosmetic professional you choose have a good verbal communication relationship. As the client, you must convey details of your design and colour preferences and the technician must understand these preferences and translate them over to tattooing artistic techniques.

Before any cosmetic tattooing commences, the client is given the opportunity to approve the design that will become permanent. The template is maintained in a variety of different manners depending on the technician you are working with. The worktable will be assembled with one-time-use accessories, a sterilized needle will be opened, the needle assembled into the device and the procedure begins.

They eyebrow design which has been approved by the client is tattooed on. Some technicians provide breaks during the cosmetic tattooing process to allow the client to sit up and take stock of how the design tattooing process is proceeding. Anaesthetic may or may not be used throughout the procedure. This is technician specific.

When the permanent eyebrow procedure has been completed, aftercare instructions are normally provided. Some technicians provide products if any are referred to in the instructions. A follow up appointment is normally scheduled in four to eight weeks depending on the age of the client, to determine how the eyebrow procedure healed and if any further work is needed.

Your life now becomes more carefree and convenient. You will likely find yourself participating in more activities and feeling more confident about your appearance under all circumstances.

Eyeliner

Is eyeliner important to your appearance and feeling of self confidence? Does your eyeliner smudge? Does it wear off during the day? Do you have trouble getting it straight or even? Are you allergic to cosmetic products or your allergies causing you to re-apply several times a day? Maybe your job requires that you go make-up free. If so… Permanent eyeliner procedures, also known as permanent cosmetics, permanent makeup, cosmetic tattooing, and micropigmentation could be perfect for you.

Eyeliner can be applied in many styles and colours, from soft, natural-looking lash enhancement to a defined line–the choice is yours! Some people feel both upper and lower eyeliner suits their needs best, while others feel only an upper or a lower eyeliner is appropriate. Whatever look you choose, you will wake up, shower, exercise, work, swim, and go to bed always looking your best. No more tattle tale eyeliner smear or smudge during the day, no more concern when participating in sports activities and best, your appearance remains consistently fresh appearing throughout the day and night.

As with any artistic appearance enhancement service, techniques will vary from technician to technician. Your permanent cosmetic professional may ask you to wear your eyeliner to the consultation the way you would like it to appear after the cosmetic tattoo has healed. Or, you may be asked to bring a pictorial representation of the preferred eyeliner design. Your technician will advise you if the example(s) are age and style appropriate for permanent cosmetic eyeliner.

The actual cosmetic eyeliner process varies, as there are numerous devices that prevent cross contamination that the permanent cosmetic professional may use. The choices are the coil machine, the linear device (the Neo Tat), the digital rotaries, the Permanent Cosmetic pen rotaries and the manual device. All, when used in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens guidelines, are safe. You may ask to see the attendance certificate indicating your technician has attended an OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens class. If there is permit, registration, or licensing required in your area, you should also look for the appropriate documents, which are required to be posted in plain sight, to ensure the cosmetic tattoo artist is compliant with state and local laws.

Some technicians will use a pre-procedure anaesthetic, some do not. If a pre-procedure anaesthetic is used and the technician is not a physician or working under the direction of a physician, it will be an over-the-counter (OTC) level anaesthetic which has proved to be quite effective. If you are working with an SPCP member technician, the anaesthetic is likely to be provided by an SPCP supplier member who ensures anaesthetic OTC contents levels are well within the limits of the law. The same applies to anaesthetics used during the permanent eyeliner procedure.
The work table will be assembled with one-time-use accessories. If a pre-procedure anaesthetic was applied, it is removed in a timely manner in accordance with manufacturer instructions, a sterilized needle will be opened, the needle assembled into the device and the procedure begins.

Typically, OTC eye products (eyewash, eye drops, etc.) are used throughout the permanent eyeliner procedure.
Aftercare instructions are normally provided and some technicians provide products if any are called out in the instructions.

A follow up appointment is normally scheduled in four to eight weeks, depending on the age of the client to determine how the eyeliner procedure healed and if any further work is needed.

Lipliner

Are you tired of refreshing your lip liner and/or lipstick several times during the day? Do the current all day lipstick brands make your lips dry or chapped? Would you like a professional opinion regarding the appearance of your lips and what can be accomplished with permanent cosmetics toward a more symmetric and fuller appearance? Is your inventory of lipsticks getting financially out of hand and a burden to keep fresh and environmentally clean? Are you aware that in 2004 the FDA banned cow brains in lipsticks due to mad cow disease? One has to wonder what else is in this pretty container that we would not find attractive if we were just made aware. Do you wish you had some of the natural colouring you had when you were younger? If so, permanent cosmetic lip liner is for you!

A natural appearing permanent cosmetic lip liner can be applied to give more definition, correct uneven lips, which will result in a fuller appearance. The procedure also helps prevent lipstick from bleeding and can minimize the appearance of wrinkles.

Full lip colour can be applied in either a natural hue or a more vivid one. Wear your permanent lip colour alone in a natural tone or apply different shades of lipstick over your permanent lip colour for those occasions when you prefer a more dramatic look. You will find that the colour lasts much longer when applied over permanent cosmetic lip colour.

Because the colouring and shape of the natural lip is unpredictable, it is common for a technician to request you attend a consultation before an appointment for the actual procedure is scheduled. At the consultation, your colour and shape objectives and probability of success with permanent cosmetic pigments and techniques will be discussed.
Permanent cosmetic professionals typically ask if you have ever had a cold sore or fever blister on the lips and if so what seems to be the trigger to this condition. If your answer to this question is “yes,” you will in all likelihood be requested to speak to your medical provider regarding a medication formulated specifically for a breakout, an antiviral medication.

If you and the consulting technician have agreed to go forward and schedule an appointment, the technician may suggest the timing does not coincide with any important events. Lips appear very vibrant for a few days after the initial procedure and dryness associated with the healing process requires the application of a moisturizing product. As with any artistic appearance enhancement service, techniques will vary from technician to technician.
The actual permanent cosmetic lip procedure varies as there are numerous devices that prevent cross contamination that technicians may use. The choices are the coil machine, the linear device (the Neo Tat), the digital rotary machines, the permanent cosmetic pen rotaries, and the manual device. All, when used in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens guidelines, are safe. You may ask to see the attendance certificate indicating your permanent cosmetic professional has attended an OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens class. If there is permit, registration, or licensing required in your area, you should also look for the appropriate documents, which are required to be posted in plain sight, to ensure the cosmetic tattoo artist is compliant with state and local laws.

Some technicians will use a pre-procedure anaesthetic, some do not. If a pre-procedure anaesthetic is used and the technician is not a physician or working under the direction of a physician, it will be an over-the-counter (OTC) level anaesthetic which has proved to be quite effective. If you are working with an SPCP member technician, the anaesthetic is likely to be supplied by an SPCP supplier member who ensures anaesthetic OTC contents levels are well within the limits of the law. The same would apply to anaesthetics used during the permanent cosmetic lip procedure.

The work table will be assembled with one-time-use accessories. If a pre-procedure anaesthetic was applied, it is removed in a timely manner in accordance with manufacturer instructions, a sterilized needle will be opened, the needle assembled into the device and the procedure begins.

Aftercare instructions are normally provided and some technicians provide products if any are called out in the instructions.

A follow up appointment is normally scheduled in four to eight weeks, depending on the age of the client, to determine how the lip tattoo procedure healed and if any further work is needed.

Other Permanent Cosmetic Procedures

Some clients have specialty needs and interests beyond the standard eyebrows, eyeliner and lip colouration. There are many other Permanent Cosmetic procedures available.

Camouflaging can take two different courses. Either a traditional tattoo can be applied over the discoloration or scar or the skin can be re-toned to more closely match the surrounding area.
Re-colouration is most successful on those areas not exposed to the daylight on a regular basis. The surrounding skin will change colour from UV exposure, even if protected by sun block, but the tattooed area will not change with it.
Applying a traditional artistic design over a scarred or discoloured area is the other option. As tattooing has become mainstream many more people are turning to this method to convert something that bothers them, into a work of beauty and art.
Potential clients must remember that these are advanced procedures and they need to feel very comfortable with the skill level of their technician. Feel free to ask questions: Have they done this sort of procedure before? Do they have photos available of their finished work? Have they taken advanced continuing education courses in the specialty area you are considering and do they have certificates to substantiate this? Most insurance companies will not even cover technicians for doing advanced specialty work without additional training and experience in the industry.

Choosing a Permanent Cosmetics Technician

The field of Permanent Cosmetics (Cosmetic Tattooing) is rapidly expanding in popularity. Women all over the country are learning of the benefits of having Permanent eyeliner, eyebrow coloring, lip color or lipliner. What could be better than to wake up looking as good in the morning as you did in the evening? Think of the time you could save putting on your makeup… Click here to download the full article

12 Responses to Permanent Makeup FAQ

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  10. ryanmichael - Reply

    November 6, 2015 at 14:33

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  11. Ryan - Reply

    August 29, 2015 at 05:21

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