Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Dangers Of Permanent Makeup, AKA Cosmetic Tattooing

Tattoo As Art

The art of tattooing seems to be at an all time high. Everywhere I turn someone is sporting the latest tattoo. On women, these don't tend to be the ordinary tattoo we see on men, but are full of color and artistic design. Some gals have the smallest of marks placed in an indiscreet area to having a full sleeve done on their arms and beyond....sometimes covering more than 75% of their body.

Why?....I don't know! I really don't grasp the concept of that type of self expression.

Tattoos are not my cup of tea and I don't have a single one on my body, but for those that enjoy them, I say, "hey, whatever blows your skirt up." To each his or her own, so to speak.

The art of tattooing, however, has gone beyond artistic expression and into the territory of permanent makeup for women. There are many reasons for doing it, but the risks involved weigh a bit heavy when dealing with certain delicate areas of the face.

A Time Saver

The type of tattooing I am concerned about is permanent makeup, aka cosmetic tattooing. This method of applying a makeup tattoo, is mainly popular for being done on eyebrows, lips, eyelids, even going to the extent of adding a beauty mark.

All in all, in our busy lives, applying makeup each day can get monotonous for some and for others, they continue to enjoy the artistry of making up their face and eyes every day. Trying a new shade or look is the challenge some like to take on.

I'm pretty conservative when it comes to my makeup looks, but I do like changing a blush shade or lip color, even trying a new eye shading technique with all the beautiful mineral makeup eye shadows at my fingertips. With permanent makeup, "how boring," I think this would be, to look at the same shade each and every day.

Plus don't forget, the key word is "permanent," so here is something to think about: as we age and our skin begins to crease and sag, what happens then to that perfectly straight line? Or, what if you do decide to change your mind and want to go with a different shade or look? Well forget about it, it is there forever!

I have also seen tattoos on those that have aged, and I can tell you it isn't pretty! What were once perfectly drawn lines such as around the lips, are now crooked and creased. Also less flattering is the fact, the look can become dated, distorted and can even look completely wrong for your face at some point, since our skin tone will also alter over time or with the change of the seasons. So again, "no thanks" for this gal just on these few simple problems alone.

Is It Safe?

In the right hands, yes permanent makeup is quite safe, but in the wrong hands it is a disaster and quite dangerous. Ads for the services of permanent makeup are being promoted to consumers at some doctors’ offices, beauty parlors, day spas, nails salons, tattoo studios and massage parlors.

Due to the popularity of the latest cosmetic tattooing phase, we have become desensitized to the possible risks, making it appear as being as easy as getting our ears pierced. It has been reported however, that some technicians are numbing the areas before applying the tattoo ink and this is basically practicing medicine without a license, and it is illegal. So be on your toes when choosing your practitioner.

In fact in many makeup forums, women were remorseful they have had it done, and wanted to know about removal through laser surgery, which in and of itself, carries its own set of risks.

Some reported infections, permanent brow and eyelash loss, lack of quality in the job, including crooked lines and wrong color. Basically, losing the natural appearance of the face. Plus, some dyes also will fade, leaving a lackluster impression of the once intense original application.

The FDA put out multiple articles and "warning statements" about permanent makeup, letting us know the dangers of the cosmetic tattooing being used in inexperienced hands and also the use of inks and needles being imported from overseas, of course the main sources are Taiwan and China. Some of what they state is important in regard to pigments and colorants:

"In addition to the reported adverse reactions, areas of concern include tattoo removal, infections that result from tattooing, and the increasing variety of pigments and diluents being used in tattooing. More than fifty different pigments and shades are in use, and the list continues to grow. Although a number of color additives are approved for use in cosmetics, none is approved for injection into the skin. Using an unapproved color additive in a tattoo ink makes the ink adulterated. Many pigments used in tattoo inks are not approved for skin contact at all. Some are industrial grade colors that are suitable for printers' ink or automobile paint."

That statement alone should be enough to rethink the procedure. Then of course other scenarios are: infections, dissatisfaction, allergic reaction, granulomas, keloid formation, and MRI complications. In the problem area of the cosmetic tattooing practice within the beauty industry, where this information presents the dangers of permanent makeup, FDA reform is something I fully support in order to protect the public from the unknown, especially when it comes to dealing with imports from overseas.....and to do that, we must give them more authority to act....which of course includes more funding.

Inside Edition also did a report with video, on the risks and dangers involved with getting permanent makeup done. Including the contamination of the colorants, which some included heavy metals. Warning: the visuals are quite graphic.

What About A Temporary Cosmetic Tattoo?

You may be thinking, well maybe I could just give it a try to see if I will like it by going with a temporary tattoo.

The FDA warns about his as well. Henna dyes are actually only approved for application to the hair, not the skin, yet people have henna tattoos done all the time. I can tell you I have seen countless henna tattoos being performed on tourists whenever I am on vacation in Mexico, where there isn't really any regulation, and at local street fairs, even offering them to children. Also the dyes are questionable since they can have a multitude of shades and are more than likely adulterated with contaminants. The FDA also states that similar tattoo reactions occur with "henna" products. Plus on imports, the product is devoid of an ingredient declaration.

The Upside To Permanent Makeup

Again, in the right hands this can be a godsend for some women. Preferably, having a cosmetic surgeon that has been well trained in cosmetic tattooing and offers it to his patients for correcting otherwise less than a natural appearance after a surgical procedure. For instance, restoring natural pigmentation after facial and breast reconstruction, or to help mask skin pigmentation problems, such as Vitiligo.

And on the lighter side, when women age we also lose pigment in our lips and to this, maybe an infusion of pigment would do wonders for putting life back into the face, bringing about a more youthful appearance. However, again, always at the hands of a professional, preferably medical, and using a pigment that is close to the look of natural lips so it doesn't interfere with wearing your favorite shade of lipstick.

Final Thoughts

When dealing with areas of the face, especially delicate areas such as lips and eyes, this is where I really get concerned. I personally, wouldn't allow anyone short of a medical professional, get anywhere near my what......the cost of my eyesight in the event of a mishap?

Or like it was shown in the Inside Edition video, the swelling and granulomas of these areas can cause permanent scarring and disfigurement, and to this fact alone, it should only be done at the hands of a board certified plastic surgeon. And with anyone you may be doing this type of procedure with, ask for references.....always! Otherwise, you will need a plastic surgeon whether you wanted one or not, to repair the costly damage. So it is money and time saved to choose one to begin with.

Also, visit some message boards and forums to see if what you learn from other women, won't help you to render a decision that could quite possibly have life altering consequences.

All in all, tattoos are in the taste of those that enjoy them, but as with doing anything that pierces the skin, risky business is the price we may pay for that choice to permanently alter our bodies with color. And what once was pure beauty on youthful skin, may now be a blurred distorted image on aged another thing to think about, since none of us stay young forever, but the tattoo is everlasting.

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