Micro Pigmentation, Otherwise known as Tattooing or Permanent Makeup
Inserting pigment into the skin for decorative, reconstructive, and cosmetic purposes has been performed for thousands of years. Devices to insert pigment have ranged from sharpened bamboo sticks to today’s high-tech digital tattoo machines which can cost thousands of dollars. The pigments used for micro pigmentation have also varied to include dirt, rust, plants, metals, etc. Today, tattoo pigments are under closer scrutiny and manufactured in more controlled environments to ensure that generally recognized non toxic pigments are inserted into the skin. However, the FDA has yet to regulate the industry since it is considered cosmetic in nature. Using pigments from a reputable source, and not cheap, unknown pigments often found on the Internet, is critical to insure the safety of the recipient and hopefully prevent reactions or toxicity.
Decorative tattoos can be placed anywhere on the body and generally have very colorful, vibrant pigments; although shades of black/gray can result in some very impressive work if the artist is talented. Many of the true experts can create images that are amazing in their degree of detail, movement, and depth.
Reconstructive tattoos attempt to restore an area of skin to its natural color after trauma, surgery, scarring, or birth defects. These procedures have an emotional motivation and the most rewarding results for both the recipient and the tattoo artist. The goal is to help the patient regain a sense of normalcy and not have a daily reminder of the defect. Only technicians with advanced knowledge of skin color, shading, and highlighting can create natural-looking results and the procedure is usually done in multiple sessions.
Cosmetic Tattoos or permanent makeup, such as eyebrows, eyeliner, lipliner, and lip fill have gained popularity in the past few years. The slogan “wake up in your makeup” is enticing for the woman on the go who does not want to spend the time, or doesn’t have the time, to apply makeup. People who are visually impaired are also good candidates for these procedures if they are used to wearing makeup and now have difficulty seeing to apply it. The tattoo artist must have advanced knowledge of color, design and techniques so that the finished product compliments the person’s skin tone and facial features. My one caution to anyone wanting these procedures is to ask for a natural result rather than the current fashion trend or “flavor of the month.”
Tattoos, especially permanent makeup, require a commitment to have retouches every 2-5 years since the pigments will fade. Sometimes, when the tattoo fades, the colors become very unnatural, “off” colors such as orange, pink, mauve, blue, or green if proper maintenance is not followed. The cost of tattoo removal is expensive and the results are unpredictable, so make certain that your reasons for getting the procedure in the first place are well thought out.
Jill Hoffman, or permanent makeup and reconstructive micro pigmentation specialist, has performed micro pigmentation since 1993 and offers free consultations for reconstructive or cosmetic procedures. For more information, www.Northsideplasticsurgery.com.