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Permanent Makeup—A Bright Idea or a Risky Fad?

We've all had that morning—you wake up 30 minutes late, you need to rush out the door, and you know your makeup is going to add a precious 10 minutes to your routine. At times like this, you might ask yourself: "Wouldn't it be great to not have to worry about my makeup every day?"

Permanent makeup can alleviate the hassle of doing your makeup every day. However, it is a serious cosmetic procedure and it's important to weigh the risks along with the benefits.

What Exactly is Permanent Makeup?

Permanent makeup mimics the look of just-applied lipstick, lip liner, eyebrow pencil, and eyeliner. It's done through a process called micropigmentation, where a tattoo pen is used to inject permanent ink into the skin. Each procedure takes between 30 and 120 minutes, and doctors use a local anesthetic to numb the area being tattooed. Just like any tattoo, initially the color will appear brighter or darker, then will fade. The area will be swollen for anywhere between 2-5 days and will crust over before healing.

Consider the Costs

Permanent makeup isn't cheap—each procedure costs between $300 and $1,000! Costs can vary widely depending on the quality of the work, the training of the professional doing the work, and the number of areas and time involved.

Beautiful Benefits

The most obvious benefit to permanent makeup is waking up every day with your "face on." You can swim, exercise, shower and wake up still looking put together and ready to go. It can be ideal for the woman who is constantly on the go. Permanent makeup may be for you if:

  • You've lost hair due to chemotherapy, accidents, burns, or cosmetic surgery.
  • You have a difficult time applying makeup due to age or conditions, such as arthritis.
  • You have allergies to traditional makeup or have sensitive skin.

Risky Business

Permanent makeup it is a serious cosmetic procedure and must be performed by a licensed, trained professional. Don't forget to consider the risks or complications, including:

  • Infection. Unsterile equipment and needles can easily pass along infections such as hepatitis and staph bacteria.
  • Granulomas. These are nodules that may form around material that the body perceives as foreign, including particles of tattoo pigment.
  • Scarring. If you are prone to developing scars, you may be at risk of keloid formation (these are scars that form beyond normal boundaries).
  • Allergic reaction. Although rare, allergic reactions to the ink used in permanent makeup can be very serious, as it's difficult to fully remove all of the pigment.
  • Removal problems. Removing permanent makeup, or any kind of tattoo, is a painstaking, slow process. It can take several visits to a doctor to permanently remove the ink, and it's an expensive, painful procedure.

Although it may seem tempting to always have your face looking fresh and ready to go, consider that today's looks may seem dated in a few years.

There are many pros and cons to think about with any type of procedure, but just remember—when it comes to your eyes, they're irreplaceable! Consult your eye doctor before you get permanent makeup on your eyelids.