Common Questions & Answers
Prior to Permanent Cosmetic Procedures

 Permanent Makeup - What is it?
Permanent cosmetic makeup is cosmetic tattooing. The specialized techniques used for permanent cosmetics are often referred to as "micropigmentation", "micropigment implantation" or "dermagraphics". The cosmetic implantation technique deposits colored pigment into the upper reticular layer of the dermis.
See also "Is Permanent Makeup for Me?"

 How are Permanent Cosmetic Procedures Done?
Permanent cosmetics procedures are performed using various methods, including the traditional tattoo or coil machines, the pen or rotary machine and the non-machine or hand method. The process includes an initial consultation, then application of pigment, and at least one or more follow up visits for adjusting the shape and color or density of the pigment.

 Who Benefits from Permanent Makeup?
EVERYONE, from the young to the elderly, who desires a soft, natural enhancement to their appearance. It is especially beneficial to people who can t wear other cosmetics due to allergies and skin sensitivities; Active people who want to look their best for activities such as swimming, hiking, biking, tennis, aerobics, and those who don't want to worry about "sweating off" or reapplying cosmetics. Also the vision impaired who have difficulty applying their cosmetics, and others with motor impairments such as arthritis, Parkinson s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke survivors, and those with unsteady hands who cannot apply their own makeup, and busy people who don t have time to spend on their makeup.

What Type of Permanent Cosmetic Procedures can be Done?
Permanent Cosmetic procedures can be very subtle or dramatic depending on what you are looking for. Options include:


Top and Bottom

Full Lip Color

Lipliner & Blend

Scar Camouflage, Beauty Marks, Hair imitation, Lash Enhancement, and Areola Repigmentation

NOTE: Some of these procedures use more advanced techniques (para-medical techniques) and thus require an experienced technician with advanced training.

 Are Permanent Cosmetics Really Permanent?
Technically, permanent cosmetics procedures are considered permanent because the color is implanted into the upper reticular part of the dermal layer of the skin and cannot be washed off. However, as with any tattoo, fading can and often does occur, requiring periodic maintenance, color re-enhancement or color re-freshing. Just like hair color, furniture that may be located near a window, or even house paint, pigment implanted in the skin may fade with time. It is important to consider this and all aspects of the procedure when selecting a potential permanent cosmetic makeup technician.
See also "Is Permanent Makeup Really Permanent?"

How Much does Permanent Makeup Cost?
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.

The cost of the procedure should not be the most important issue when consulting a potential technician. Most important is the training and skill of the technician and the confidence of the client in that skill.
See also "What Does Permanent Makeup Cost?"

How Long Does Each Procedure Take?
The initial procedure will generally take approximately 1 to 2 hours. Touch up procedures usually do not require as much time.

Is It Painful?
Most people experience some discomfort. This may vary according to each individual's pain threshold and the skills of the technician performing the service. HOWEVER, there are different methods available to help with pain management, including various topical anesthetic ointments, anesthetic locals and nerve blocks (administered by a doctor or dentist). Your technician should discuss these methods with you to determine which one suits you best. See also "Does Permanent Makeup Hurt?"

Is It Safe?
If proper sterilization and sanitary guidelines are met, permanent cosmetics should be completely safe. These guidelines include the following:

MOST IMPORTANT Things To Look For:
 All Needles should be new and sterile for each client. Other machine parts should also be
    pre-sterilized and disposed of in a sanitary manner. Other equipment and supplies should be kept in a sanitary manner.
    Gloves should be new for each client and changed during the procedure when needed.
    The technician should be clean and neat and knowledgeable of environmental safety requirements.
    Clean sheets should be used for each patient.
    The room or treatment area should be in an area free from other contaminants.
    See also "Permanent Makeup  Tattooing and The Truth" and "What Should I Expect?"

What If I Don't Like It?
Although the procedure is considered permanent, these procedures do have flexibility in changing color and shape to some extent, depending on the expertise of your technician. Colors will appear darker immediately following the procedure but will soften and lighten during the healing process. The healing time is different for each individual and procedure.

Which Technician Should I Choose?
Choose a technician carefully by considering training, experience, and portfolio. It is important to remember that the shape and proper placement of the procedure is as important as the right color. The desired look is obtained during the course of consultation, initial procedure and follow up procedures. Interaction between the client and the technician should be of utmost importance.

Is Permanent Cosmetic Makeup a Career For Me?
The opportunities for skilled permanent cosmetics technicians are many and varied. Career and business opportunities vary greatly depending on the individual technician's training and desires. Many nurses and doctors, as well as hair, skin, and nail care professionals are choosing to train in permanent cosmetic procedures. The demand for advanced/para-medical procedures increases with public knowledge of the benefits of permanent cosmetic makeup.
See also the article "Is a Career in Permanent Makeup for Me?" and "Permanent Makeup is Here To Stay"

Are There Any After or Side Effects?
Generally, there is some swelling of the treated area. While eyebrows my show little after effect, eyeliner and lips may show more and the edema may last may last from two to seventy two hours During the procedure there may be some bleeding and or bruising. There is usually some tenderness for a few days. The color is much darker than you may expect for the first six to ten days. Sometimes, people have reactions to antibiotics. You may use any type of antibiotic that you prefer for your individual system. There may be other side effects unforeseen due to individuality.

Do The Pigments Pose Allergy Problems?
The application is just deep enough to penetrate the minute capillaries in the dermal layer of skin. There have been so few reactions to the pigments that some doctors are suggesting that the patch test be eliminated. You can develop an allergy to anything, anytime. Some doctors recommend that people with allergies have permanent cosmetic procedures because they can replace cosmetic products that they are sensitive to. There have been very few reactions to pigments and only rarely in the case of blue-based red pigments.

Is There Any Possibility for Medical Problems?
The possibility that you would have any problems or reactions from these procedures is almost non-existent with today s health standards. SPCP member professionals are given continued opportunities for education in practicing precise methods of sanitation and sterilization. Post procedural instructions, if followed carefully, will completely eliminate any risk.

What's a Touch-Up and Do I Need One?
A touch-up is a color re-enhancement. Almost always the implanted color is not perfect after the first procedure. These procedures are processes and at least one follow-up to the initial procedure should be scheduled...It is recommended that you do not traumatize the skin again for a minimum of four weeks. Six weeks is better but of course, your individual needs take precedence. Eight weeks is recommended after a lip procedure.

Can I Still Have an MRI Scan?
Numerous studies have shown that even for people who have large body tattoos there is little to no potential for irritation resulting from an MRI.  In the rare instance where discomfort resulted, it was localized and very temporary. Most people have more metal in their fillings than they would ever have in tattoo work.

Return to top of page