Cosmetic tattooing can be traced back to thousands of years ago when it was used for cultural reasons and to show status. It is even believed to have been a way to scare off evil spirits. But ever since permanent makeup, a form of cosmetic tattooing, became popular in the late 1970s, the results have been far from scary. In fact, permanent makeup, often referred to as permanent cosmetics and micropigmentation, can actually enhance a person’s appearance as well as conceal imperfections and treat effects of certain conditions. Permanent makeup procedures involve a technique that deposits colored pigment into the skin to create the appearance of makeup, such as eyeliner, eyebrows, and lip liner. Medical treatments like scar camouflage and areola restoration are also considered permanent makeup services. “Permanent makeup saves time and effort, can enhance natural features, and can correct problem areas,” says Michelle Park, master linergist, head trainer, and president of Long-Time-Liner USA. “Most importantly for us, we help achieve the best appearance for each client and realize their full beauty. People look and feel good after their services.”
According to Jeanee Lusby, founder of Natura-Look Institute of Permanent Cosmetics (La Jolla, CA), permanent makeup can benefit busy women who have little time for daily makeup or touchup breaks during the day, those with allergies to conventional makeup, those with poor vision or contact lens wearers, those physically incapable of applying makeup, active women looking for natural definition and color, and anyone looking to enhance their natural beauty. “There have been so many advancements in the permanent cosmetic industry over the past few years from devices, colors, needles, and numbing agents to advanced training and new techniques,” says Lusby. “There is no better time than now to enjoy the benefits of these procedures—beauty is a responsibility.” Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular permanent makeup procedures:
Description: According to The Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP), eyeliner permanent makeup can be applied to just the upper or lower portion of the eye or both. It’s important to find out exactly how the client would like the eyeliner to appear during a consultation, as it can be applied in many styles and colors—from soft and natural-looking to more defined and dramatic.
Ideal Client: Eyeliner permanent makeup services are ideal for clients who feel that eyeliner enhances and gives them confidence in their appearance but either have a hard time applying it or do not want to deal with it smudging or wearing off during the day. Also, clients who are allergic to certain cosmetics or have sensitivity to products applied around their eyes can benefit from this service.
Process: For eyeliner services, Linda H. Dixon, M.D., president of the American Academy of Micropigmentation, prepares the skin by doing a thorough cleansing and using an alcohol wipe on the area prior to the treatment. Next, she uses either a one-, three-, or five-prong round needle to apply the color. “Aftercare is minimal and involves keeping the skin protected and hydrated,” says Dixon. A follow-up appointment is recommended four-to-eight weeks after the procedure to ensure the area has healed properly and to determine if any additional work is needed.
Description: Eyebrow permanent makeup services range from filling in sparse natural brows to creating fully colored brows. A consultation is necessary in order to fully understand the client’s needs and desires before the service is performed. According to Lusby, brows are the most requested and sought-after area to be treated, and there are three basic styles that are offered by most artists: A full, dense fill, which is achieved using small needles to yield more color and may last three to five years; a soft shaded, powdered fill in which shading needles and dispersion solution is used to create a softer outcome and lasts about two to three years; and hair stroke designs and patterns for a more dimensional and shorter lasting end result. “There are many techniques and needle configurations that may be used, depending on the health of the skin and the desired outcome, from small wire-like single needles and inline angled needles to simple blades,” says Lusby. “Hair stroked brow designs are more delicate and less dense, which results in a much faster fade and may last less than one year before requiring additional treatment.” Ideal Client: Clients with sparse eyebrows as a result of over-tweezing or a medical condition like alopecia can benefit from eyebrow permanent makeup. Also, clients who draw on their eyebrows but are often unhappy with the results will appreciate the benefits of eyebrow permanent makeup. Process: When preparing a client’s eyebrows for permanent makeup, Lusby cleans the area and reduces oils by using an alcohol or skin prep wipe. Designs are then drawn, and a topical anesthetic is applied. After the appropriate amount of numbing time, a delicate pass is made over the design to secure the drawn template. Post-treatment, Lusby recommends that clients keep the area clean with a mild cleanser, patting gently to remove surface secretions, and avoiding makeup, swimming, and direct sun for the first week, as well as antibiotic ointments, heat, strenuous exercise, and excessive sweating. Aquaphor should be applied as needed, and sunscreen is a must after the area has healed.
Description: Areola restoration services include areola repigmentation and nipple restoration using permanent makeup devices. A growing trend in areola restoration is 3D nipple tattooing, which involves highlighting and shading the area to give the appearance of a real nipple.
Ideal Client: Breast cancer patients who have had a mastectomy and have completed breast reconstruction with silicone gel implants are the best candidates for this procedure, as the nipple and areola are usually the final stage, according to Steven Sigalove, M.D., F.A.C.S., board-certified plastic surgeon at DMG Aesthetics (Warrenville, IL). “For these patients, just having the breast mound is psychologically not enough,” he says. “Treatment of cancer is physical and also emotional, and nipple tattooing alleviates a lot of those emotions. It helps them feel whole and complete.”
Process: For areola restoration, Sigalove typically uses a three- or five-prong needle device set at 120 to 130 needles per second. He starts the service by doing a betadine and alcohol prep. Sigalove also injects a local anesthetic prior to the procedure to make it more comfortable. The tattooing can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes or longer for each side. Because the area can get inflamed and experience some bleeding, it is treated with conservative dressing and Bacitracin ointment for four to six days, followed by hydrocortisone cream for the next three weeks to minimize inflammation related to the procedure. Three weeks after the procedure, Sigalove’s clients return to him to review the results, and after one month, a second touchup might be needed. Sigalove advises clients to ensure they go to a reputable doctor for areola restoration, because tattooing over a mastectomy incision can lead to infection if there are any imperfections in the wound.
Description: According to the SPCP, a natural-appearing permanent lip liner can be applied to give more definition and correct asymmetrical lips, which results in a fuller appearance. The procedure also helps prevent lipstick from bleeding and can minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Full lip color permanent makeup is also an option for clients. It can either be applied in a natural color or a more vivid one. These decisions and the client’s issues and desires should be discussed at a consultation prior to the procedure.
Ideal Client: Clients with a desire to have more symmetrical and fuller lips and who are tired of having to reapply lip liner or lipstick throughout the day can most benefit from lip liner permanent makeup. “Women who are seeking to have permanent makeup applied through micropigmentation techniques will avoid fading, smeared, or running cosmetics,” says Michael S. Beckenstein, M.D., F.A.C.S., a plastic surgeon in Birmingham, AL. “They will not have to apply makeup as a routine.”
Process: Prior to the procedure, Beckenstein inspects the lips to be sure they are free of any infectious or inflammatory lesions, in particular herpes zoster (shingles) lesions. Those who are prone to the condition need to be treated with a prescription medication like Acyclovir. Otherwise, he applies a topical anesthetic 15 minutes before the procedure, then uses a one- or three-prong round liner needle on the lip, depending on thickness and width desired. A+D Ointment or a Vaseline-based moisturizer is applied after the procedure and should be used several times a day for aftercare for about a week.
Permanent makeup continues to grow in popularity as more and more clients discover the benefits the service offers. In a fast-paced, instant-gratification-seeking society, applying (and reapplying) makeup can be a hassle. Also, because natural is always in season, women can sport a makeup-free appearance every day or year-round with the help of permanent cosmetics. “Permanent makeup is an attractive concept, and women can have fresh-looking makeup all day and night,” says Beckenstein. “They do not have to reapply makeup at any time, so it is easier to get dressed for work or an evening out. With new technology, new and better pigments, and better trained cosmetic tattooists, the ability to achieve excellent results is the norm.”
Learn more about the innovative permanent makeup devices available from these companies.—Jennifer Nied
Bellaire Industry www.bellaireindustry.com
Bella Permanent Makeup http://www.bella-tw.com/
Derma Contour www.dermacontour.ng
Long-Time-Liner USA www.longtimeliner.com
Nouveau Contour http://www.nouveaucontour.com/usa/homepage-usa/