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Permanent makeup uses tattoo techniques to enhance or reproduce features that are not pronounced or have been lost due to aging, a medical condition, or scarring. “Cosmetic tattooing” is most often used for the face, on the eyebrows, lashes and lips, but also can improve scars or uneven coloring of the skin (vitiligo) and restore the areola around a woman’s nipple after breast surgery.

When to Consider Permanent Makeup

  • If your eyebrows, lashes and lips are pale or lacking definition
  • If you are active, swim or do not wish to apply makeup daily
  • If you have a skin or makeup allergy
  • If surgery or scarring has left you with uneven coloring or loss of pigment (color) in some areas

Are you a good candidate for permanent makeup?

The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider permanent makeup:

  • You have sparse hair on your eyebrows or have poorly defined eyelashes
  • Your lips are pale and you do not like wearing lipstick or gloss
  • You are undergoing breast reconstruction and would like to recreate the areola area of your breast (around your nipple)
  • You have scarring that could be improved by tattooing pigment
  • You want to eliminate daily makeup application

If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.

How is a permanent makeup procedure performed?

Micropigmentation is a form of tattoo art, but is specialized to achieve specific cosmetic goals. Depending on the practice, your surgeon may have a specialist such as a licensed aesthetician or a registered nurse administer the treatment. It is important to ensure that there is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has oversight of the facility and that your specialist is licensed to perform permanent tattooing. Their qualifications and experience are integral to achieving the right look and preventing any risks or complications.

A topical anesthetic is usually applied to numb the skin and make you more comfortable during the procedure. Before the procedure begins, a scratch test on your finger will be performed to check if you are allergic to the pigment. This is important to determine if you have any reaction to the pigment before tattooing a larger area on your face.

If appropriate, there will be an outline of the area that will be tattooed. Needles penetrate the skin a few millimeters in depth and implant pigment below the epidermis for cosmetic enhancement or correction. Once the treatment is complete, ointment is applied to keep the area soft and to promote healing. A bandage may be applied to protect the area for a few hours, but is not required. More than one session, spaced four to six weeks apart, may be necessary to achieve the best results.

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