The art of Micropigmentation (aka
Dermagraphics, Permanent Make-up/ Cosmetics, Cosmetic Tattooing, Intra-dermal Implants,
Derma-pigmentation) is becoming quite the rage these days. Cosmetic Tattooing is not
really a new thing. It is dated back since the early 1900's but history has it
that Royalty in Egypt and some women in India and Africa who have used kohl to enhance
their eyes in the past, evolved into a desire for a more permanent approach.
permanent eye enhancement with various substances over the years, plant and nut pigments
or ground coals (carbon) inserted with fine, sharp implements. Asian history has it that
pigments were inserted into the skin with bamboo. Women all over the U.S. now familiar the
benefits of having permanent eyeliner, eyebrows, lip liner (with or without blend) and
full lip color. And those of us who do not have dermagraphics are or have been thinking
about it. Plus, those of us who do not have the best of vision are saved the hassle of
squinting to apply our eyebrows. Individuals that may not have a steady hand benefit from
dermagraphics. Also, persons with Alopecia, Areata universalis, Vitiligo, persons
with cosmetics allergies or chemotherapy side effects and even those who are very active
will benefit by having Micro- pigmentation. Not only do you save time by not having to
apply eyeliner and eyebrows or whatever but you actually save yourself wrinkles from
stretching your skin to apply eyeliner. Okay, the wrinkle part is my theory, but
it is logical isn't it?
Permanent Cosmetics look natural if applied by a skilled technician with a
soft, yet firm touch. Plus, many technicians offer topical anesthetics before and during your
procedure so there is little or no discomfort. Plus there is an vast array of
natural colored pigments to suit your needs be they cosmetic or reconstructive.
In this section we
are going to discuss the myths, the facts, the techniques, and after care.
One of these
days I am going to find a great technician as I am very interested in having full lip
color as well as dermagraphics outside of my natural vermilion border. I have a slight asymmetry
plus my lip implants have changed my natural lip border. I am also
interested in getting my eyebrows done since I suffer from alopecia
myself. The eyeliner will just be a little bonus and I will get it to
match my natural lash line in a dot matrix or blended fashion -- not one long,
obvious line. When I find my *ideal* technician pr tattoo
artist I am going to tape the procedure and discuss the who, what and why of
What is it?
Dermagraphics is the enhancement of the face
or re-pigmentation of hypo- pigmented areas of the dermis with non-reactive,
hypo-allergenic natural iron-oxide colored pigments which are implanted into the very
first layers of the skin with a tattoo gun or the newer rotary pens. These pigments can be very natural looking; also available is the trendier of colors
and basic cosmetic flesh-tone colors.
There are many models of these types of pens and guns,
some cordless, some not, some very expensive and still others that are very basic.
Technicians can be very skilled, taking a course to train with professionals
and some just buying videos and manikin kits to practice on before they hit the real ones.
What Certifications Should a
Once you have made the decision to have a permanent
cosmetics application you get to go through the ordeal of finding a qualified dermagraphics technician.
This is about as enjoying as a root canal. It should be carried out in a similar fashion as finding a plastic surgeon or any other
doctor, although not as enormous a task. Be advised there are no specific regulations in
the U.S. regarding dermagraphics. Many people believe the myth that there is a specific
training for cosmetic tattooing and cosmetic tattooing only. Well, I hate to divulge their
secret (actually I don't hate it. ha ha! I love it!), but a tattoo is a tattoo is a
tattoo -- period. Although permanent make up don't seem to last as
As far as the training and/or certification (which there isn't any) is they may have been taught the
"Softap" technique (which is a trademarked technique of lifting the skin to apply pigment) and are basically trained in
application as well and these too factors don't even apply to about 70% of the
dermagraphics population. Most really good technicians are trained cosmetologists and make up artists (basically the
same thing). Even some may previously have been or still is a certified registered
nurse/nurse anesthetist. Although a very skilled and experienced tattoo artist with access
to the more natural colored pigments can apply eyeliner and lip liner. As a matter of
fact, more tattoo artists are adding permanent make up to their list of services.
permanent cosmetic certification one receives is just the certification of the
school the technician attended. Which means nothing in the real world. And even those
certifications or licenses may last a matter of days (average of four). There
are private organizations which provide certification for a price to carry the
name and 'title.' But these are NOT state or Federally-run organizations.
are private companies. However, there are some academies which do
uhold strict guidelines for their members.
Tattoo artists and cosmetic tattoo artists don't necessarily have
to have a certain specific license that relates to skill either. They must get a license for
learned and having understood the values of sterilization of instruments and the
importance of cleanliness and the cleanliness of their premises as well as the zoning
requirements. They must also know what to do in case of infections as well as what the
state law requires of them and their understanding of legal responsibility should any
complications erupt from their failure to provide a sterile atmosphere and instruments.
These licenses generally last one year and must be renewed, much like a manicurist or hair
stylist. A license doesn't mean that technician is as artistic and as skilled as you would
like, it means they took a required test and understand the basics.
In a nut shell, it is up to you to learn as much as
possible about the industry, techniques and tools of the trade as you can.
way to find a good technician is word of mouth. One option is from plastic and
reconstructive surgeons and their patients. Although, you must remember that some surgeons
and dermatologists work with dermagraphic technicians on a paid referral
basis. Another option is asking around salons. Salons seem to be the best at this type of
gossip and who is good at this and that gets around as usual, by word of mouth.
Look around your health club or spa if you belong to one. See that lady with the
perfect eyeliner in the steam room -- maybe she knows. Although
this is not as invasive as a facelift this is your face and it is
pretty much *permanent*. Choose your technician wisely.
I would like to add that like
consultations, make several to find the best dermagraphic technician for your permanent
Inspecting Cleanliness Standards
Once you are referred a few technicians'
names, visit their place of business to inspect its cleanliness. ALL aspects.
are standards for which physical cleanliness and a sanitary working environment must
adhere to. These standards were set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Check for
outward cleanliness as well as not so visible. There should be hot and cold running water
on the premises where your application would take place, in addition to a public or private
restroom. If the application is to take place in a salon environment, make sure it
would be performed in a private room. Contaminants such as acrylic dust (from
nail application) and fumes or other
such products, including hairspray and even tiny bits of someone else's hair, should not be circulating in the air around you.
is an invasive procedure and there will be blood and bodily fluids that are exposed to the
open air. Contaminants can increase your chances of infection.
Confirm the cleanliness and neatness of the technician. A person's work habits and
personal hygiene reflect on their cleanliness. A technician should use a new
gloves for every client and yet another if they leave the room for any reason. the
technician should change the sheet(s) on the procedure bed or chair after each client and
use clean paper towels, or clean, bleached and sterile (if possible) cloth towels.
An Autoclave is a device that looks
like a microwave or a pressure cooker that is used to sterilize instruments and towels.
Salons normally do not have these, but every tattoo shop should. Notice the
technician's hands and nails; are they clean? Ideally, short nails are a plus, but very
clean and moderate length nails should be mandatory. Make sue that they use new sterile
needles with every client. Or sealed, non-disposable needles that
have been autoclaved. Find out where the used, disposable needles are disposed of.
should be disposed of in the proper biological waste containers. These are normally red
plastic bin with swinging doors or a small hole in the top with
"caution biological waste" sign and a sticker like either one of
on the front.
disposable needles have
plastic tubes around them to protect you from getting stuck but they should still be
thrown away in a biohazardous waste fashion. If the technicians just throw the old needles
in a regular trash bag with the points sticking out of the sides, go elsewhere!
The biohazardous waste containment bags are red with black writing as well.
the Technician's Background
As with a plastic surgeon:
Ask for the technician's
have they been performing permanent cosmetics?
How many procedures have they
Ask to see their "certificates of training"
(although remember these generally mean nothing) and their tattoo
license if required by your state.
Also ask to see any continued education certificates from say
seminars and conferences or specialty courses - this isn't necessary but some
technicians learn new techniques at these continued education courses.
As with Cosmetic Surgery, this field is
continually changing. Newer techniques are discovered. A dermagraphics technician should
always be on the look out for additional training in their field in case they
may feel a need to attend a seminar or read up on any new developments. If the technician is new
ask how many hours of formal training they have had. Some attend only a one or two day (no more
than 16 hours) course and I would certainly advise against that technician.
course they have been performing applications for at least a year, with a steady flow of
clients. The average course is five days (or 40 hours) but there are longer courses.
Unfortunately, since there is no industry standard - and there should be -- a technician
can learn from a video course after practicing on her manikin kit he or she can buy with the kit
and possibly practice on her self or friends then go straight to your face.
example of an At
Home Dermagraphics Course. The societies for dermagraphics and what not are usually profit organizations.
technicians are charged a fee for the 'honor' of displaying a logo by the respective
society and get a few yearly newsletters. Whoopie. Although they do
ensure if this technician is following cleanliness, training and continued
education guidelines -- you'd have to read up on the specific certification
agency before passing judgment.
Look through the technician's portfolio (recent
photos of their work). Ask them if it is indeed their own work/clients.
Ask if you may
speak to any of her clients personally, like a referral list. Determine if this
technician's work reflects your own cosmetic style. Is it natural? Does her work reflect a
soft technique? Is it dramatic? Is she open to your wishes?
Do you like the colors that
the technician has to offer? Does she offer anesthetic? What types of anesthetics are
available? Topical? Injectable? A injection should be performed by a nurse not a
technician with only a week long course in dermagraphics. Some technicians advise to go to
your dentist (or theirs) for a injection of Lidocaine. Believe it or not Marcaine is
available on the Internet -- with no license required. Anyone can purchase the topicals and
Marcaine injectable these days. But only go to one who is licensed to perform
injections. Speaking from tattoo-experience -- it hurts on the body.
only imagine what it feels like on the face, I'd get a topical anesthetic.
Also, find a technician who is area specific. For instance, dermagraphics
application to the lip area as opposed to eyeliner or eyebrows. Only after you
have viewed an extensive portfolio and have spoken with past clients should you consider a
technician for lip dermagraphics. Other area specific applications to seek specialists is
for cheek color (blush) or eye shadow. This is the most difficult application of all as
the results can come out splotchy and uneven. Even seasoned regular tattoo artists practice for
years to be able to perfect shading and blending techniques. You should choose a
technician that has been in the dermagraphics industry for many years to perform your
The same approach should be used toward any re-pigmentation or scar camouflaging
techniques. VIEW their before and after photos and inquire if they are indeed, their
work. Most scars are actually quite thicker that unblemished skin and the pigment
may look and act entirely different than what is desired. Thicker skin tattoos
differently, as well.
I cannot tell you from personal experience
regarding micropigmentation although I am quite sure that it does not feel good
if it is comparable to regular tattoos. Regular tattoos are NOT usually
gotten with anesthetic but micropigmentation most certainly can be. Different areas are more
sensitive and I am sure that the eyes, being the most sensitive area, and the lip area,
will definitely feel somewhat uncomfortable. SO, thank goodness for anesthetics...
Many technicians offer some type of anesthetic.
topical or for those technicians in a medical profession as well, like a certified
Registered Nurse Anesthetist, you will have access to injectable anesthetic strengths.
Like Lidocaine which some of you receive at the dentist. Although there is a lower
version of anesthetic called Marcaine available and just as effective, only for a shorter
period, which is fine for this type of thing. Normally, just a topical gel or cream is
sufficient to numb the implantation site.
Typically Used Anesthetics:
Blue Ice Gel: (topical) For
use during a procedure It contains Lidocaine, tetracaine and epinephrine.
X-It Gel: (topical) For use before and during a procedure.
It contains Lidocaine and
Numb-All Liquid: (topical) For use before and
during a procedure. It contains Lidocaine and Benzocaine.
X-Tend Liquid: (topical) For use
during a procedure topical anesthetic. Contains Lidocaine.
Ak-Trol Ointment: (topical) This is an Ophthalmic (for the eyes)
Ointment . It
contains Dexamethasone 0.1% Neomycin Sulfate; Polymyxin B Sulfate.
Ak-T-Caine Solution: (topical) This is a
sterile Ophthalmic (for the eyes) solution. USP (0.5%) (prescription only)
Ak-Rinse: This is a buffered eye rinse used for cleansing the eye during and after a
procedure to rid the eye area of stray pigment. It contains mainly buffered saline
(similar to contact cleansing solution).
Topicaine Gel: (topical) This is a non-oily 4% Lidocaine
gel. It is to be applied 30 minutes before a procedure. It contains glycerin, jojoba oil, and aloe vera oil as well.
EMLA Cream: (topical) This product takes forever to
work. 2 whole hours, in fact. It should be applied to the skin, 1/4 of an inch thick layer
and a 1/2 an inch beyond the treatment site, and covered with saran wrap. the edges will
be secured with medical tape to prohibit leakage. The skin only remains numb for about an
hour after removal of the saran wrap and product.
Ela-Max: (topical) Like the above, but cheaper,
faster, better and available over the counter. And it doesn't have to be covered
Prepcaine Crean: (topical) For use before a procedure. It
is very powerful and it widely used for the dermagraphics industry. It contains 2%
lidocaine, 1.5% tetracaine in a cream base. Make sure the technician doesn't get it in
your eyes or mouth.
Sustaine Gel: (topical) Unlike Prepcaine, Sustaine
is not used prior to a procedure. It is ineffective on unbroken skin.
It is used after
outlining a tattooing, or during a permanent cosmetics procedure to aid in numbing the
area. It also contains epinephrine to reduce bruising and swelling swelling.
4% lidocaine 2% tetracaine and .02% epinephrine
Liquidcaine liquid: (topical) This is an odorless,
non-stinging liquid used during a procedure. It "numbs" the area within 90
seconds of application. It can be used for sunburn and laser surgery as well. It is used
to irrigate areas of implantation except for eyeliner. It is NOT SAFE FOR EYE AREA.
WARNING! Some technicians are adding Liquidcaine
to the pigments for added anesthetic properties. (Except for the eye area)
manufacturer even advises it. The FDA advises against it:
"One of the sites on the internet suggests the use of mixing Liquidcaine 4% with
pigment during application of Permanent Cosmetics procedure. This procedure is
DANGEROUS. Liquidcaine is a 4% topical anesthetic. Studies have shown that
concentrations used for injection greater than 2% actually cause cell
necrosis." (kills cells)
U. S. Food and Drug Administration
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Office of Cosmetics Fact Sheet
February 3, 1995
Myths & Facts:
Permanent cosmetics is not the same as a regular tattoo.
Permanent cosmetics is tattooing, period. Organizations and schools like The American Academy Of
Micropigmentation, The Society of Permanent Cosmetics Professionals,
Permanent Cosmetics Institute,
Information and Professional Education and
others in the permanent cosmetics industry agree that no matter what it is called or what
type equipment is used - it is, in fact, tattooing. And don't let anyone tell you any
You need to go to someone who is certified to apply permanent
cosmetics, never a regular tattoo artist.
This is said best by Pacific Tattoo of San Francisco, CA..."There is
no true certification available. There is at this time no nationally recognized certification or licensing of permanent
makeup artists. There is no industry-wide, non-partisan, non-profit certification of any
kind. All certifications are granted either by a "school," usually
lasting a matter of days, where someone has paid a fee, or by a larger group which also
charges a fee for taking an "exam." Artists who advertise that they are
certified may not know that their certification has no meaning outside of that
states do license or do not license tattoo artists and permanent makeup artists as
they see fit. This licensing usually only addresses whether the artist demonstrates
adequate knowledge of sterilization and sanitation practices, and in no way evaluates
artistic or technical skill. The state of California will be licensing tattoo artists and
permanent makeup artists by the beginning of next year. The guidelines have not yet been
"Pacific Tattoo has been inspected and licensed by
the city of San Francisco's Health Department and maintains a current Health Department
permit to operate." You should check out their site for photos of some great
re-pigmentation photos, especially areola re-pigmentation.
Dermagraphics pen or gun is completely different than a regular
tattoo artist's tattoo gun.
No, they just want you to believe that. A tattoo gun is a tattoo gun. No matter if it is
the new fancy cordless pen types or a traditional tattoo gun. The ink is
still implanted into the skin by the use of a needle, or needles or other
sharp object that forces the pigment into the epidermis. Some are far more expensive and look
more streamlined and may be quieter than a traditional gun but it is still a tattooing
traditional tattoo gun's needle penetrates much deeper than a dermagraphics pen. Resulting
in scar tissue and a more permanent application.
It depends on the technician/artist. The Softap technique taught to some dermagraphics
technicians is also utilized sometimes in blending and shading techniques by highly skilled
traditional tattoo artists. This also goes for finely detailed work as well.
Although the name has been trademarked -- the method is practiced everywhere
resulting from experimentation for what works best for whom.
can have permanent cosmetics applied.
No. Of course it varies by state, but say in California, Louisiana and North Carolina and
most other states, you must be 18 years of age to receive a tattoo. Read here for an
CALIFORNIA CODES: PENAL CODE SECTION
653. Every person who tattoos
or offers to tattoo a person under the age of 18 years is guilty of a misdemeanor. As used
in this section, to tattoo means to insert pigment under the surface of the
skin of a human being, by pricking with a needle or otherwise, so as to produce an
indelible mark or figure visible through the skin. This section is not intended to apply
to any act of a licensed practitioner of the healing arts performed in the course of his
The above holds for everyone
except doctors offering re-pigmentation for reconstruction purposes. Although, a parental
consent form is normally signed regarding this.
Myth: Permanent cosmetic technicians do not need a
tattooing license because dermagraphics is not permanent.
First off, Permanent cosmetics IS permanent. Just because you need touch ups doesn't mean
it isn't permanent. Most people with standard tattoos need touch ups. Especially with full
black ink work. Even colored inks fade. Especially with repeat sun exposure.
tends to exfoliate faster than your body. Ever notice your face gets pale much faster than
your body. Plus we are always smearing stuff such as AHA's, Retin A, etc. on our faces for that very reason!
You will fade faster hear in general although the permanency can very well
depend upon the technician or tattoo artist.
Second, It varies by state but there is nary a state who
doesn't try cash in on something that is making another money. Why would you think
this would be different? Most states require you to have tattooing license.
Mostly for our
sake if you can believe it. A license can be applied for and the fees sent in but then an
inspector comes out to check out the requirements and also zoning must be determined.
sanitary needs must be met. I believe getting licensed to tattoo is a great
idea. But being certified to perform micropigmentation is a whole different ballgame.
Remember there is no bona fide, state or federal-run dermagraphics
certification agency, per se. Use your best judgment.
Procedures Are Available?
For The Eye Area:
Our eyelids are so very delicate, especially the lid margin. This area is the most sensitive area of the face.
Unfortunately, nature doesn't provide us
much play in this area either. If we tug on it excessively or smoke or blink
or breathe or ANYTHING we get wrinkles there first. Joy. If this area is traumatized it
may result in partial or complete loss of the eyelashes. If we take certain medications
(i.e. antibiotics) we risk losing the eyelashes for several months, if not forever.
We all know that eyelashes have a purpose other than
just making us more beautiful. However, I am not a camel nor do I live in Egypt so, who
cares!?! It's not like the times I have been in a sand storm (in Vegas) my lashes
did any real good other than looking fabulous with a really great coat or two of mascara.
Thus my point, we need eyelashes for our eyes to look more pleasant and appealing.
Some women have a condition that disallows the growth of eyelashes. Perhaps it is persons
with Alopecia and even those individuals who are undergoing chemo- therapy.
individuals will certainly benefit from dermagraphics should they need the illusion of
having eyebrows and eyelashes for a symmetrical appearance. The eyebrows, especially, help
give symmetry to the face.
There is a dermagraphics procedure
sometimes referred to as blepharo-pigmentation,
which simulates eyelashes. It is performed using a micro needle and the pigment is
implanted in a dot-like matrix fashion into the lid margin (base of the
eyelashes). The pigment is placed a little deeper, into the dermis. This way when the
epidermis is healed, the look is a more translucent one, very
natural. Other than that they line the lash line to give the illusion of a thick
eyelash line. You will more than likely need anesthetic for this one. I
personally like the smudgy look combined with a dot matrix pattern. I don't like
the obvious lines.
I must admit, I LOVE eyeliner and I feel absolutely
naked without it! It is my belief that if one should choose to have permanent eyeliner,
they should match as closely to the natural eyelash color as possible. This way it is a
very natural look that can be covered by other colors should you choose to wear
a coffee, iron
gray or darker green color. And if you are pale blonde or Caucasian, period, I
am told you should not pick
black. I mean people do choose this and for some it works out, but when viewed through
your skin tone it may look rather ashy or even bluish or greenish. I like when dermagraphics are
applied to the lash lines, especially on the top lash line. Some people will get their
inner lids (the brim) tattooed, Ouch! I think this gives the appearance of a smaller, more
beady, eye. I think the eyes look so much better when they have darker, or at least
thicker, lash line. I can't wait to have this performed. One more thing... some
technicians incorporate a dot matrix pattern on the lash lines, I think this looks rather
horrible if they apply thick dots. A micro needle should be used for this
application although I still prefer a smudgy, thinly lined look here.
They say the eyebrows are the frame of the
face. Well, I can speak from experience that losing your eyebrows, quite frankly,
stinks. Plus it took me forever to learn what shape was flattering for me and
how to apply that shape day in and day out. It isn't as easy as it sounds.
If you have
nothing with which to guide you, you are going to have a hard time producing a flattering
look. There are many stencils you can purchase to guide your pencils or better yet,
eyebrow powders applied with an angled brush, for a natural result. Besides
most of these stencils are absolutely HUGE for my face and I look like a clown
if I use them. If the hassle of daily application and the
inconvenience of accidentally wiping them off or smudging them just gets old.
Then eyebrow dermagraphics is definitely for you. That will be my first
permanent make up procedure for sure.
Some technicians use the individual hair-like strokes
technique. I favor this technique because is looks rather natural, but only if the pigment
is a softer, lighter color. Some even use 2 to 3 colors with may occur naturally
in natural eyebrows. The technician should determine the hair color and skin tones
in pigment selection.
Some of you have been drawing your
eyebrows incorrectly and do not
know it. Don't be ashamed, I did it for almost a year - although I looked like
an idiot and didn't know it. This way I am telling to to reevaluate your
eyebrow shapes so you will know better. Yes learn from MY mistakes so you don't
have to .
A good technician will discuss the
best eyebrow shape for you and apply powders or pencil for you to visualize the new shape.
Perhaps you should take a digital or Polaroid camera (do they make those still?
Didn't they go out of business?) with you to your consultation to take
photos for you to reflect upon before deciding. Remember this is permanent, so steer clear
of the crazy looking trends or unrealistic super high arches. No one wants a
dated look. And no one wants to look like an idiot either.
For Other Facial Areas:
This can even out your asymmetries, if you have them, or give the
appearance of a more defined lip. A lip liner implantation can also be made to look even
more natural by apply a blended look. The really good technicians are
able to do this quite well. Remember that fashionable colors change with the tides.
don't choose a pale sky or deep plum color this week because you saw it on the run way at a DKNY
show. You must realize you will be stuck with this forever.
Full Lip Color
This procedure is a combination of lip liner and and
a fill in. You can even get the area (vermilion border) tattooed outside the
lines to give the appearance of larger, poutier lips. This is what I want, as well
as to correct my asymmetry. Your lips WILL peel afterwards and look rather icky for a
week. Aquaphor keeps butt AFTER you heal to keep them moist. Don't put it
on your lips when you are healing and have open wounds. It has petrolatum in it
and isn't meant for broken skin.
I cannot believe how much they charge for a dot. If
you do want a beauty mark, the normal places are, of course, above the lip, off to the
outer corner (think Cindy Crawford, Marilyn Monroe) and under the eyes, off to the outer
corner . I actually have a VERY tiny raised light, light toffee-colored one right
under the outside of my right eye. If it were bigger, I'd remove it but it is
Cleft Lip Asymmetries
As with any lip asymmetry, persons afflicted with a
cleft lip condition scar can have it corrected and re-pigmented. Thereby camouflaging the
area creating a sense of normalcy. This is an advanced technique and a
specialist should be sought.
Although I do not recommend this type of
micropigmentation, it is offered. The reason I do not recommend it is that styles
and color preferences change and if your preferences don't change, it should.
look dated if you wear the same color eyes shadow over and over again. Think about
this one before you decide to implant permanent pigments into your eyelids.
This is a
specialty application as well as it requires skilled blending and a light
translucent placement (deep in the dermis) to produce a translucent effect.
This is the exact same concept as the eye shadow
technique (directly above). Seek out a specialist for this type of application.
downsides are splotchiness from incorrect application to splotchiness from your own face's
pattern of natural exfoliation or your product usage. Choose wisely.
Re-pigmentation to the areola (the dark pink skinned areas surrounding the
nipple) is a procedure that is changing the lives of those who have had breast
reconstruction surgery or a mastectomy. The scars can be re-pigmented with colors matching
the clients skin tone to bring back a feeling of normalcy. Sometimes entire nipples are
simulated giving many women their esteem back.
Some women may have scars from breast
augmentation around their areolas or simply desire larger areolas. With permanent
cosmetics, that is now possible.
Scars and hypopigmentation (lack of color) can be re-pigmented by
implanting flesh toned colored pigments to those particular areas. The pigments chosen are
carefully matched to your own skin tone and are blended into the dermis.
click for a
Available Colors That Are Typically
Medium brown pigments are best for a subtle, natural, appearance.
Brown, black and gray pigments are used for a dramatic appearance.
Note: Black pigment is sometimes not recommended for Caucasian clients as it may change to a blue
or gray hue on most individuals.
Warning: Organic pigments must not be used around the eyes.
Remember learning about the primary colors in art class? The primary colors being red,
yellow and blue and learning when you mix certain primaries you get secondary colors?
know, blue and yellow make green, green being a secondary.
*Important Note: The
little known fact with micropigmentation is that when pigment is implanted into an
individual's skin, the knowledge of skin tone and the application of this knowledge is
essential. You have heard that perhaps your skin tone is yellow with undertones of olive.
Well, your skin's dominant hue (referred to as skin tone) and secondary hue
(referred to as an undertone) must be taken into account when choosing pigments for
implantation. This is where it may be beneficial to
seek the application by a highly skilled dermagraphics technician. Some tattoo artists may be fabulous artists, per se, but if they
implant a natural colored pigment should they decide to use them, they must
take your skin tone and undertones into account. Why? you ask. Well, the color that is implanted (tattooed) into the skin will be
viewed through your skin tone. Meaning that the color of the your skin tone
becomes a part of the color equation. Unfortunately, failure to do so, will result
in a color variance that the client, that being you, will not like.
How This Procedure Is Performed...
Any type of tattoo is
applied by using a small electric device (a traditional gun, rotary pen, machine coil,
Softap, or by hand) with a needle bar that holds usually from
1 to 14 needles,
each in its own little tube, to implant colored pigments *Note: Tattoo needles are
regulated by the FDA.
The tattooing device
basically works like a miniature sewing machine: the needle bar moves up and down really
fast, forcing the needles into the superficial (epidermis) and middle layer (dermis) of
the skin, implanting whatever colored pigment the technician dips the tip into.
technician holds the machine with a steady hand while guiding it along the skin.
and power is controlled by a foot switch or pedal, much like a sewing machine.
The needles penetrate the
skin only a fraction of a millimeter or so as the tube restricts the needle(s) from penetrating any
deeper. A single needle (sometimes a
micro-needle) is used to make a very fine, delicate line. A row of needles (from 4 up to
36, although usually 14 in permanent make up) is used for shading and more dense
fills. From experience with
traditional tattoos, I'd like to add that although it seems like the shading would hurt
far worse (because of the multiple needles) is quite the opposite. Outlining is by far the
most painful. I don't know if this is because it goes in deeper or what but it
can make you clench your fists sometimes.
The end of the needle tube
is dipped in a small amount of ink that is usually kept in a little ink
cap best described as a clear plastic miniature dish that looks like an
upside down top hat. The technician guides the machine over the skin and
the needle(s) move up and down, penetrating the skin, implanting the pigment.
pigment and blood, or other bodily fluids, ooze out from the puncture wounds and the
technician wipes them off with an absorbent disposable towel, repeatedly. This enables the
technician to better see what he or she is doing. Sometimes they also rub on a
little A&D ointment as well which certainly keeps you from bleeding or
oozing as much, soothes the skin and helps keep germs at bay. It truly is
an awesome product and most traditional tattoo artists use it exclusively.
Prior to getting a tattoo,
the technician puts on a pair of latex gloves or other types if you or he/she has a latex
allergy and inspects your skin to make sure you have no cuts, scrapes or other types of
broken skin. T he area is either swabbed with alcohol or sprayed with an antiseptic
solution or both and the technician shaves the area of any and all hair with a disposable
razor (unless of course you are getting eyebrows or eyelashes off course!).
This is usually a traditional tattoo practice. The razors and towels used for wiping your bodily fluids should also be
disposed of in the same type of biohazardous waste container.
Then, the technician
transfers a stencil of the tattoo (your desired design) onto your skin. Some technicians
may draw it on with a pen. You are then asked to verify the placement, position and so
forth of the design you are about to implant into your skin forever. If everything is good
then a thin layer of A&D ointment, or other same type ointment, is spread over the area to be
The level of pain really
depends on the individual. Some people's pain threshold (or tolerance) is high while
others are quite low. The level of pain also depends on the tattoo site. Cosmetic
Tattooing can be completed per area in under a half an hour. If you are having more
than one area/procedure it may take a few hours or maybe another sitting (you come back
When the technician has
completed your design the tattoo is sprayed with water and antiseptic and wiped off. A
layer of Bacitracin, A&D or 'Tattoo Goo' ointment is applied over the tattoo and you are instructed to wash it no more
than twice a day with mild soap and water and apply hand cream or Bacitracin or
A&D ointment as needed (no
Vaseline!) If it is a normal tattoo they wash and apply the Basictracin or
A&D ointment the same as
permanent cosmetics but place a non-stick gauze pad over the site and instruct you
to remove it that night (no more than 12 hours!). Sometimes they don't even
cover it although this depends upon how deep, which area and if you are weeping
significantly. You will wash it gently with mild soap
and apply hand cream or Bacitracin or A&D ointment as needed. Do not apply more gauze to the area, leave
it exposed to the air so that it can begin to heal but keep the area moist with ointment
healing is almost complete. It takes about a week (usually seven to ten days) for a tattoo to
heal. Until then, you should not apply cosmetics over the area and NO PEROXIDE!!!
You'll bubble the healing skin and ink away. No peeling of the area either! If
it flakes, let it flake. You will pull pigment right out of the tattoo resulting in
Do NOT expose your tattoo
to direct sunlight for at least two weeks -- although preferably much
longer is better. If you do, you may get sunburn or
changes in pigment (i.e. color fade). Use sunscreen like it's going out of style
. Do NOT
swim for two weeks, period. That goes for fresh, salt or chlorinated water.
This could cause pigment
fade as well. You should always apply sunblock if you expose your tattoo to sunlight (this
means "artificial light", too). Indoor Tanning machines will fade your tattoo as
Touch ups? Oh yeah, it is
quite normal. I had touch ups on a few of my tats (there ya go, some body art lingo).
No biggie. You're seasoned now, no more rookie! You're tough! You can take it. Touch ups are
not usually long at all, although I suggest anesthetic again for lips and/or eye lid areas. That's
Nothing is reasonable any more. Permanent Cosmetics is EXPENSIVE! Wanna know something?
Here I go again, exposing people's trade secrets... The average pen machines are only $250.00
US, the better
ones, $1,200 US and the pigments are about $18.50 US for a bottle, which gets many uses.
The below prices are in U.S.
Eyeliner: $300 to $1000
Eyebrows: $400 to $1500
Lip liner: $400 to $600
Full Lip Color: $700 to $1600
Beauty Mark: $50 to $150
Scar re-pigmentation or
camouflaging: $50 to $100 per
Areola Pigmentation: $50 to $100 per 15 minutes
Permanent Cosmetics Be Removed?
How about with a laser or chemicals? Unfortunately in some cases, permanent cosmetics can not be removed with a laser.
The laser removal procedure isn't cheap. Presently, I am having a tattoo removed and it is
taking years, not to mention it is very expensive.
it or not, glycolic acid is showing some removal properties. You'd think if a laser
wouldn't do it, glycolic acid surely won't. But these days and with the
newer pigments it is getting pretty easy. Just be careful. Older pigments can
just turn a different and very odd color.
Read More On Tattoo Removal Now!
This was reported by the FDA:
"Laser tattoo removal
can convert an old tattoo into an allergic pigment reaction. There are a
couple of articles that come up and the abstracts refer to the breakdown of pigment that was originally non-allergenic
into a color (red) that IS allergenic."
U. S. Food and Drug
Center for Food Safety and
Office of Cosmetics Fact
February 3, 1995
What about Dermabrasion?
While this often produces a
scar in the shape of the tattoo itself, it does work. it isn't very expensive and
it will not change the color. They supposedly can dermabrade a tattoo completely away on
one session. Although a lighter session will produce less scarring. I am sure they will come
up with something more effective in the future. So it may be worth waiting.
What Does Para-Medical Mean?
It means they charge you more. Simply because they are performed by a physician, nurse,
dermatologist or specialized clinic or just in their office and because they can.
It does not mean they are better, That para-medical technician may not have the training
and experience of that lady down the way at the salon you had a consult with.
para-medical technician quite frankly means 'diddly' -- with the exception of access to
good meds. Although it does mean you can get a nerve block or
injectable anesthetic because of what office they are in and if they are
licensed to do so.
Will I Develop An Allergy To The Ink?
Allergic reactions to permanent cosmetics are quite rare. You may request a skin patch
test in an inconspicuous area prior to having a procedure performed. Some technicians are
very routine about patch testing and perform them on everyone. Regardless, you should
understand that an allergic reaction could occur at any time. Be prepared
to pay for the needle and the time the technician will have to use westernizing
all the equipment and what not.
Like I said before, this isn't as invasive as a facelift or breast
augmentation but it is invasive and it is permanent. Think about this before you
decide to go through with it. If you don't like it, you are stuck with it.
It reminds me
of everyone getting a Taz tattoo and then regretting it later, except this in on your
face. And there's no hiding that (except with more make-up). And if you do get permanent
cosmetics, send me some photos, I'd love to see it!
Institute of Permanent Color Technology
The American Academy
Society of Permanent Cosmetics
Information and Professional Education
Example of a Home Training Course Advertisement -
Scary! (and cheap)
Makeup of Atlanta - Permanent Cosmetics
Makeup Services by Yolanda Moore
| facial procedures | body
procedures | surgeon info | consultation
info | surgery preparation
photo gallery | FAQ
| message boards | chat
| just for fun | enhancement
news | miscellaneous | links
Are you lost? View
They're Fake! Cosmetic Plastic Surgery & Beauty Network6
Enhancement Media, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999-200
Please read Usage Agreement
This page was last updated: 09/11/2006