Perpetual Beauty: What is Permanent Makeup?
Apr 27, 2016 02:00PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
Tattooed eyebrows might seem unnatural, but for those suffering from a thinning or non-existent brow line, they are a practical—and natural-looking—solution. Unfortunately, the horror stories associated with Sharpie-like swooshes or mismatched arches still abound, but, when done correctly by a licensed practitioner, the results can be unnoticeably realistic. And permanent makeup isn’t just for the brows. Many women seek tattooed eyeliner or lip color for convenience. A subtle touch of makeup that’s hassle-free, water- and smudge-proof, and guaranteed to make that morning routine a little less tedious.
How Does it Work?Permanent makeup, also called micropigmentation, is a non-surgical technique that involves injecting pigment between the upper layers of the skin. A digital machine consisting of disposable—one-time use—needles that fit into a pen-like instrument implants dyes into skin in a similar fashion to tattoos. To develop a more natural-looking eyebrow, many practitioners employ a feathering technique, drawing individual hair-strokes along the brow line using different size needles and two different shades of pigment for added dimension.
How Long Does it Last?“Permanent” is a misnomer entirely, since the pigment can last anywhere between six months to a few years. “It’ll leave a permanent mark, but if you want the color to stay true, you’re going to have to touch it up,” says Aesthetician Kathleen Staffini, at Chesapeake Plastic Surgery in Annapolis. “Sometimes the pigment fades to a lighter color and sometimes it disperses completely.” When it comes to application, the best approach is a conservative one, beginning with a small amount of pigment on the first visit and adjusting or layering the color during follow-up treatments.
What To Expect?In an initial consultation you will discuss the shape and color of the desired procedure. Some offices, Chesapeake Plastic Surgery included, stay away from executing trending styles, like cat-eye liner. “I’m not afraid to say ‘no’ or try to talk someone out of something because I have to put my name on it,” Staffini says. Before implanting the ink under skin, the practitioner will mark the design with a makeup pencil to serve as a stencil. Immediately following the procedure, the implanted pigment will look very dramatic, but this will fade. “About 30 to 50 percent of that pigment can be expelled in the healing process,” she says. The rate of healing varies per individual, but it typically takes between three to seven days and requires a little petroleum jelly and a few cold compresses. For some, a little redness and flaking will subside within a few days; for others, recovery can be a little longer and more extensive. As for pain, Staffini describes the procedure as a strange sensation, rather than an uncomfortable experience. A topical numbing agent is applied to the area about 20- to 30-minutes prior to application to help to cut down on any discomfort. The procedure, Staffini says, shouldn’t be painful.