Although permanent makeup may sound harsh, depending on the manufacturer and method, permanent makeup can be safe for vegans, vegetarians, and other environmentally conscious individuals. In some cases, permanent makeup may involve the use of cruelty-free inks made from a combination of vegetables, fruits, and plants. Others may use parts of trees, such as bark. This may not sit well with some environmentally conscious vegan and vegetarian groups, but this type of “ink” is free from any animal byproducts.
Permanent makeup manufacturers are plentiful and they can be found all over the world. Just a few permanent makeup manufacturers and cosmetics companies include Accent Permanent Makeup, Sally Hayes Permanent makeup, and Derma-Tech Permanent Cosmetics. These companies sell cruelty free permanent makeup products for use at various plastic surgery centers, spas, and other establishments authorized to provide this service. Also called permanent cosmetics, dermapigmentation, micropigmentation, and cosmetic tattooing, permanent makeup may be applied to eyebrows, lips, and eyes (eyeliner). Permanent makeup is also used to camouflage scars and beauty marks.
During permanent makeup procedures, a cosmetic makeup technician will implant the color into the upper reticular part of the dermal layer of the skin. The procedure typically lasts 1 to 2 ½ hours. The color cannot be cannot be washed off. However, because the procedure is along the lines of tattooing, fading can and often does occur. This means, maintenance and upkeep is inevitable. Permanent makeup will require periodic maintenance, color re-enhancement or color refreshing. Fortunately, refreshing takes lass than half the time it take for the initial procedure.
If you are interested in permanent makeup, first, visit the SPCP – The Society for Permanent Cosmetic Professionals to review an extensive list of FAQs. Next, you my search for a technician or physician’s center by using your favorite se5rach engine. Once you have found several establishments, check with he Better Business Bureau, verify that the establishment is licensed, and if you have time, visit the establishment and take a look around. If your gut tells you something is wrong, it probably is. Best bet — move on to the next office on your list.
Costs for Permanent Makeup Procedures
According to the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, the average cost per procedure varies but usually averages between $400-$800. Advanced work may be charged at $150 to $250 per hour. Many of these procedures are commonly referred to as para-medical procedures. Work performed from physician’s offices or specialized clinics may be charged at higher rates.
A Message from the FDA About Permanent Makeup
FDA considers the inks used in intradermal tattoos, including permanent makeup, to be cosmetics and considers the pigments used in the inks to be color additives requiring premarket approval under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. However, because of other public health priorities and a previous lack of evidence of safety concerns, FDA traditionally has not exercised its regulatory authority over tattoo inks or the pigments used in them. The actual practice of tattooing is regulated by local jurisdictions.
FDA is aware of more than 150 reports of adverse reactions in consumers to certain permanent make-up ink shades, and it is possible that the actual number of women affected was greater. In addition, concerns raised by the scientific community regarding the pigments used in these inks have prompted FDA to investigate the safe use of tattoo inks. FDA continues to evaluate the extent and severity of adverse events associated with tattooing and is conducting research on inks. As new information is assessed, the agency will consider whether additional actions are necessary to protect public health.
In addition to the reported adverse reactions, areas of concern include tattoo removal, infections that result from tattooing, and the increasing variety of pigments and diluents being used in tattooing. More than fifty different pigments and shades are in use, and the list continues to grow. Although a number of color additives are approved for use in cosmetics, none is approved for injection into the skin. Using an unapproved color additive in a tattoo ink makes the ink adulterated. Many pigments used in tattoo inks are not approved for skin contact at all. Some are industrial grade colors that are suitable for printers’ ink or automobile paint.
Nevertheless, many individuals choose to undergo tattooing in its various forms. For some, it is an aesthetic choice or an initiation rite. Some choose permanent makeup as a time saver or because they have physical difficulty applying regular, temporary makeup. For others, tattooing is an adjunct to reconstructive surgery, particularly of the face or breast, to simulate natural pigmentation. People who have lost their eyebrows due to alopecia (a form of hair loss) may choose to have “eyebrows” tattooed on, while people with vitiligo (a lack of pigmentation in areas of the skin) may try tattooing to help camouflage the condition. Whatever their reason, consumers should be aware of the risks involved in order to make an informed decision.
What Risks Are Involved in Tattooing?
The following are the primary complications that can result from tattooing:
Infection. Unsterile tattooing equipment and needles can transmit infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and skin infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus (“staph”) bacteria*. Tattoos received at facilities not regulated by your state or at facilities that use unsterile equipment (or re-use ink) may prevent you from being accepted as a blood or plasma donor for twelve months.
Removal problems. Despite advances in laser technology, removing a tattoo is a painstaking process, usually involving several treatments and considerable expense. Complete removal without scarring may be impossible.
Allergic reactions. Although FDA has received reports of numerous adverse ractions associated with certain shades of ink in permanent makeup, marketed by a particular manufacturer, reports of allergic reactions to tattoo pigments have been rare. However, when they happen they may be particularly troublesome because the pigments can be hard to remove. Occasionally, people may develop an allergic reaction to tattoos they have had for years.
Granulomas.These are nodules that may form around material that the body perceives as foreign, such as particles of tattoo pigment.
Keloid formation. If you are prone to developing keloids — scars that grow beyond normal boundaries — you are at risk of keloid formation from a tattoo. Keloids may form any time you injure or traumatize your skin.
Micropigmentation: State of the Art, a book written by Charles Zwerling, M.D., Annette Walker, R.N., and Norman Goldstein, M.D., states that keloids occur more frequently as a consequence of tattoo removal.
MRI complications. There have been reports of people with tattoos or permanent makeup who experienced swelling or burning in the affected areas when they underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This seems to occur only rarely and apparently without lasting effects. There also have been reports of tattoo pigments interfering with the quality of the image. This seems to occur mainly when a person with permanent eyeliner undergoes MRI of the eyes. Mascara may produce a similar effect. The difference is that mascara is easily removable. The cause of these complications is uncertain. Some have theorized that they result from an interaction with the metallic components of some pigments. However, the risks of avoiding an MRI when your doctor has recommended one are likely to be much greater than the risks of complications from an interaction between the MRI and tattoo or permanent makeup. Instead of avoiding an MRI, individuals who have tattoos or permanent makeup should inform the radiologist or technician of this fact in order to take appropriate precautions and avoid complications.
The FDA urges consumers and healthcare providers to report adverse reactions to tattoos and permanent makeup, problems with removal, or adverse reactions to temporary tattoos. Consumers and healthcare providers can register complaints using the contact information contained in Your Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.