A Look At The Problems & Benefits of Permanent Make-Up Tattoos

Thinking of getting permanent make-up tattoos? Find out about problems with getting tattoos, how permanent make-up is applied, and safe places to get tattoos.

As the majority of the population becomes middle-aged, more and more people are looking for ways to hide the signs of aging. Our hair thins and our bodies sag, leaving us with a faded image of what we once were. An easy way to regain our youthful appearance is to add definition to our features and shape. Push-up bras and stretch jeans can make the body appear younger, but what about the face?

New make-up products like cake eyeliner and eyebrow gel work well to define the eyes and draw attention to them, but they can be messy and frustrating to use. With the growing popularity of body tattoos among young people, many older folks are now considering tattooing procedures like eyeliner tattoos as a permanent way to highlight the eyes. It sounds like an easy, low maintenance solution to achieving a younger appearance, but it has many people wondering about the risks and dangers of getting a tattoo, especially so near the eyes.

Some problems, risks, and regrets about getting tattoos.

Even though permanent make-up is not a traditional tattoo, it is a permanent commitment that carries its own set of risks, and therefore should be approached with caution. Many people hesitate to get tattoos because they don’t want to find themselves in a situation like Ashley Smith of Batavia, Ohio, for example, who had a skull design tattooed on the back of her neck when she was 21 years old. Now she is a 27-year-old nurse and she regrets her decision. Not only has she outgrown the appreciation of such a design, she is required to cover it while at work as a nurse. This means she has to apply a large bandage on the back of her neck every day to cover it, which she finds annoying and unattractive. Tattoo removal is painful and expensive, and applying make-up to cover tattoos normally doesn’t completely hide them. Permanent make-up tattoos may not be something you would need to conceal, but, according to the FDA’s report on tattoos, permanent make-up can fade after time, take on a blurred appearance, or become dated and embarrassing.

The FDA does not regulate tattoo ink because of “other public health priorities and a lack of evidence of safety concerns,” but it continuously evaluates and researches inks because of concerns raised by the scientific community regarding pigments used in the inks. Some of the risks the FDA believes consumers should be aware of are as follows: infection caused by unsterile tattooing equipment or an unsterile facility, removal problems, allergic reactions, nodules that may form around the tattoo because the body perceives the pigments as foreign, or MRI complications such as swelling or burning in the affected areas and distortion of the quality of the image. To reduce the risks of complications from a permanent make-up tattoo, Mitchel Goldman, MD, clinical professor of dermatology, recommends you thoroughly check out your technician ahead of time and remember that less is more, you can always return to thicken lines later.

Where are safe places to get permanent make-up tattoos?

If you don’t know anyone who can recommend a good tattoo technician to you, do some research. Someone like Halina, an aesthetician who has been doing permanent make-up for nearly 20 years, is listed in the “best of” magazine in her area. She has a large scrapbook to show customers that is filled with photos of before-and-afters, and she has her own perfectly lined eyes to show off, as well. By finding a clean facility, someone with an excellent reputation and examples of their work, you stand a good chance of getting your permanent make-up applied without complications.

What to expect when getting a permanent make-up tattoo.

According to Oprah Magazine, Oct. 2010, Alison Gwinn found her permanent eyeliner procedure much easier than she expected. She picked out the color, asked that a thin line be applied, closed her eyes so a numbing cream could be put on, and 90 minutes later, it was done. She said the procedure was painless, but it “tickled” her eyes in a weird way. Her eyes were a bit tender and swollen for the following 24 hours, and she was told to treat her eyelids tenderly, and she might experience some tightness or itching. Prices range from $300 to $1000 per treatment, depending on the training of the person performing it, the quality of result, and the number of areas being tattooed. Alison was so pleased with her procedure, she went back a month later to thicken up the lines.

Permanent make-up can therefore be an easy way to enhance your appearance if it is done in a safe, clean, professional manner. After some thought and careful research, it may be just what you need to put the sparkle back in your eyes.


FDA.com. “Tattoos & Permanent Makeup”

Info Plastic Surgery.com. “Permanent Make-up”

Oprah Magazine, Oct. 2010. “Permanent Makeup”




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