Remember Me

Cosmetic Procedures
The Dos and Don'ts of Permanent Make-Up

Q: I am thinking about getting permanent make-up done. Is it safe?


A: Cosmetic tattoos can be scary--we’ve all seen those awful eyebrows. But when done correctly, permanent makeup can be a great option, especially if you suffer from alopecia (all-over hair loss), have had breast reconstruction, have vision issues or are just tired of painting your face every day.

If you’ve ever considered cosmetic tattooing, it’s important to do your research first.

Find an experienced practitioner
It can be hard to find a good cosmetic tattoo artist because it’s very easy to earn the necessary certification in Florida. Ask your dermatologist for a recommendation, and make sure the practitioner has a strong background in makeup application (lips are especially tricky and it takes a true artist to get the shape right). Advanced practitioners use anesthesia when applying permanent makeup.  Ask to see pictures of other patients they have treated. During the procedure, they should draw out how the eyebrows, lids or lips will look and have you agree prior to performing the procedure.

Check out the video at to see permanent makeup applied correctly, and if you know someone good in your area, please tell us in the comments!

Know the risks
Pigments used in the ink can discolour or oxidize over time: red can turn brown, brown can turn orange, and black takes on a blueish tinge. Inks can also vary widely in quality and there are concerns some pigments may pose health risks. Be sure to ask your tattoo artist about the quality and content of the ink they use.

Some patients experience adverse reactions such as scarring, pigment migration, or an allergic red rash. People prone to keloid scar formation should avoid any type of tattooing. The use of unsterilized equipment can transmit infection or disease, such as hepatitis. For this reason, you should go to a practitioner that works out of a physician’s office to ensure proper sterilization of the equipment. Luckily, these adverse reactions are uncommon. The most common bad event is a poor cosmetic result with a fake appearance. I have seen great outcomes and I have seen terrible outcomes. Finding the right practitioner is crucial.

Correcting mistakes
Laser removal may be an option. However, many cosmetic tattoos can’t be removed this way--the laser makes red ink turn black, for example--so you’ll have to discuss this with your dermatologist. A few years ago, a dermatologist invented ink that would disappear easily with laser. We were all excited to try it but the ink turned out to fade quickly and is not popular.

If your tattoos have changed color or you’re not happy with the way they were applied, an experienced artist can usually cover up the mistakes by inking a better-quality tattoo on top of the old one.

Wishing you great skin!

<< Previous Article |Back to List