The idolization of women’s beauty and the empowering sense of femininity has been revolving and embraced by different cultures of humanity for centuries, and will be for many more centuries to come. The cosmetic use of mixtures made from organic compounds to enhance the face, skin, and hair have been documented and dated by women and men all the way back to the beginning of the 20th century. Fast forward to modern day times and the chaotic level of beautifying treatments, shades, techniques, and trends is enough to send any ancient Egyptian’s head spinning. Make up is an easy and fun way to outrageously or slightly express creative personality, beautifully define your facial features, and exponentially boosts self confidence. On top of being used for cosmetic reasons, make up is also used to cover deformations, scarring, or unwanted facial markings. Every woman loves feeling beautiful, and though some may argue the power of natural beauty trumps the effects of make up, the use of cosmetics can undoubtedly bring out any woman (or man’s) natural beauty to its fullest extent.
Micro-pigmentation, dermo-graphics, or permanent make up, has been a popular cosmetic procedure used over centuries. The permanent makeup is applied to maintain an enhanced natural, bare face with a semi-permanent part of your makeup regimen (lips, eyes, cheeks) that will not wash away, and need not to be applied regularly. It is a highly useful investment to consider for women whom regularly apply a full range of makeup, perhaps daily. It is applied at one time, with the possibility of a small reapplication touch up, for a reasonably set amount of money, and lasts 3-5 years, sometimes reportedly longer. For instance, permanent make up is excellent for a woman whom usually corrects her own eyebrows on a daily basis but is tired of the application fading due to sweat or oily skin. Paying for a permanent application may save a large amount of money and time spent on something that is necessary daily. Permanent make up provides a large number of savings on eyeliner, blush, lip liner, or eye shadow over the course of a 5 year period.
The process of micro-pigmentation entails the use of a motorized handheld device, very similar to a tattoo gun, that makes several hundred punctures per minute, just below the top dermal layer, and deposits the desired shade of color onto various parts of the face. The pain level is often similar to that of receiving a tattoo, but it is advised to avoid all blood-thinning medications for a full 48 hours before the procedure, to prevent excessive bleeding. This application process is typically used to place a permanent stroke of eyeliner, a favorite shade of blush, coloration to imperfect eyebrows, or a set of lined lips that are sure to never smudge. Like a tattoo, the pigmentation is placed underneath the first layer of skin, and after the skin has healed around and over the application site, it will leave an appearance of freshly-applied make up, for up to 3-5 years. Imagine waking up every single day with a perfect face of make up, without ever touching a brush, for up to 5 years straight.
As with any cosmetic or medical procedure, regardless of how short, non-abrasive or simple, there is always a chance of complication or reaction, and precautions should always be taken before carrying on with this semi-permanent procedure. There are quite a few different angles to look from when considering any sort of permanent make up or tattoo. There is always room for, and small chance of, allergic reaction, unfortunate scarring, and even a blistering infection if not applied and cared for correctly. If it is something that spikes your interest as a thrifty and resourceful makeup lover, here are several helpful questions to consider bringing up to your plastic surgeon or cosmetologist before making any final decisions pertaining to the permanent makeup process.
1) How long have you been doing this and how many clients have you completed this procedure for?
First and foremost, doctor reputability and a portfolio of previous procedures is key to a successful experience. Even before you have made the final decision to undergo micro-pigmentation, it is wise to research and ask around for advice, opinions and reviews on local doctors or cosmetologists whom perform permanent make up application. You would not make an appointment with a dentist to get a mole removed, would you? It is completely standard in the process of finding the right doctor to perform this permanent procedure. Ask the specialists how long they have been applying the make up and how many clients, happy or not, they have successfully completed. The longer they have been specializing in micro-pigmentation with the higher rate of satisfied clients, the better ratio they show for giving you the same outcome. Also, some permanent make up technicians will seem to offer a crazy deal for the application process. Beware, just because it may seem like a great deal on the treatment, it is usually a bad sign of business. Remember that they would not be charging so inexpensively if they had enough repeating clientele to support their practice. Low prices very well equate to a lack of experience or quality. Even if it takes going to several different medical offices or salons, take the time to shop around until you are confident you have found the right person for this job.
2) Can I see Before and After pictures?
Considering that the make up tattooed to your face will boldly be there for at least 3 to 5 years, ask for a professional portfolio complete with photographs, assessments and ratings, and any pertaining certifications to ensure you are making the right choice for a doctor. Before and after assessments are very important to the pre-procedure process because it provides tangible, visual evidence of what you should expect when you undergo your own permanent makeup procedure. Just like looking at a portfolio for a wedding photographer, a plastic surgeon or a hairdresser, permanent make up artists show reputability through photographs, too. If a specialist does not offer a well-assembled or detailed portfolio, or does not offer one at all, skip them. Professionalization is highly important with all medical and cosmetic procedures, and there will be a better choice out there.
3) How do you keep everything clean?
On top of reputation and professionalism, cleanliness and sanitation is a must have. There is a vast array of health and safety certifications any specialist, doctor, or cosmetologist must undergo and complete before successfully, safely, and legally performing any derma-pigmentation procedures. Instruments compromised by bacteria or infected residual fluids left from a previous client can cause a serious infection or even life threatening diseases such as HIV (the leading cause of AIDs) or Hepatitis. During the process of permanent make up application, skin fragments and fluids from the body are transferred through the tiny needles and cannot be removed or cleaned thoroughly unless sterilized by either replacement or a professional cleaning system. Non-sterilized used permanent make up instruments can lead to deformation, and very possibly a lifelong physical effect. Ask them what kind of sterilization process they use on their instruments. If they do not use prepackaged tattooing needle components, ask them what kind of sterilization equipment and process they use. Some technicians will try to save costs by re-using equipment, or using cheaper stock of supplies, so make sure to ask in as much detail about supplies and safety precautions as you can.
4) How long, on average, will it take for someone my age to heal?
The average healing time after a permanent make up treatment is between 4 and 6 weeks. Although as you beginning aging, the permanent make up application process will take a little longer to heal. As aging occurs, the skin begins to slowly thin out and becomes somewhat transparent. Also, the fat cushion layer beneath the skin lessens in amount, eventually becoming nearly nonexistent. In combination to the less fat cushioning under your skin and the thinness of the outermost layer, the healing process after micro-pigmenatation can be a bit lengthier than that on a younger face. On top of the general 4-6 week healing time, another week per decade after the age of 40 is added on. Regardless of age, after the initial healing time, it is typically necessary for a touch up, since it is common to lose some initial coloration. During the healing process, small scabs form on top of the site of application and as they heal and fall off, some of the pigment falls away with it. Sometimes slightly larger scabbing may cause an uneven shading effect of applications areas and lines on lips or eyes, which are not completely noticeable until after the face is fully healed. On occasion, if you find a well qualified, experienced and talented technician, a touch up treatment may not even be necessary. That will be decided upon a follow up appointment and of course, your level of overall satisfaction with the process and outcome. Ask your specialist, considering your age and skin condition, how long they would give you for an estimated healing time so you will have a slight idea of what to expect afterwards.
5) When it fades, how will you offer to help me? If I need a touch up afterwards, will the reapplication be cheaper?
It is inevitable that there will be some slight loss of coloration as time goes on. The average “beauty” time (how long the make up will boldly last) of the treatment is anywhere from 3-5 years, with some people reportedly still flaunting their permanent eye liner 8-10 years after their first application. An important topic to bring up to your cosmetologist or doctor, is the reapplication process. If you are not happy with the outcome, how will they offer to mend the imperfection or fix the dissatisfaction of an unfortunate mistake on their part? Asking your potential specialist these questions will ensure and prove their quality of patient care. You don’t want to let a stranger puncture your face with hundreds of needles unless you know they are willing to own up to their quality of work and stay dedicated to your satisfaction even after the process has been paid for. Ask that if a possible reapplication may be necessary, what they can possibly offer financially to help you. In combination to their portfolio and rate or reapplication, you can know what to expect to end up paying when all is said and done with the dermo-graphic treatment.
The process of making the decision whether or not permanent make up is right for you, there could not ever be any excess of preparation, research, and questioning, considering that permanent make up is, well… Permanent. As with any cosmetic or medical procedure, there are many precautions advised to be taken. If you are a regular make up user and avid lover, it would be worth it for you to weigh out all costs end effects of the treatment over time. If the slight pain of a needle outweighs the cost of cosmetic supplies and hours of make up application, micro-pigmentation could be perfect for you. If you find yourself highly interested in receiving such treatment, all five of these questions will be a great starting point when deciding on the right specialist for the procedure. After getting all the details of the process, you will be given a fantastic insight on what to expect before, during, and after the permanent make up application.