Lasting impressions

13 questions that will help you decide if permanent make-up is for you

Woman with permanent make-up

Has it ever happened to you that you like how you look in a dress so much that you don’t want to get out of it? Or that if a particular make-up suits you, you wish you could wear it forever. Well, advancements in cosmetic surgery have made it possible—permanent make-up.

  1. What is permanent make-up? Permanent make-up is a cosmetic technique where pigments of mineral or vegetable origin are inserted into the superficial layers of the skin using a vibrating needle [much like what is done during a tattoo]. To give a subtle appearance, the pigment is tattooed superficially in the reticular layer [second layer] of the dermis.
  2. What are the treatments done with this procedure? Eye-brows, eye-liner, lip liner and beauty spot are the areas which are usually addressed with permanent make-up.
  3. Who is the correct person to administer it? The correct people to administer permanent make-up include dermatologists, cosmetologists, aestheticians or tattooists.
  4. How much does it cost in India? The cost of the treatment can vary for the area being treated ranging from INR 5000 – 8000.
  5. Is it truly permanent? Though it is termed as permanent, the make-up actually doesn’t remain the way it is forever. With time, the make-up does start to fade or become light with the natural shedding of the skin cells. So, it is actually semi-permanent make-up. It requires periodic maintenance with re-colouring.
  6. Does it look natural? Yes, if done under the hands of a qualified and experienced cosmetic physician, the results are such that one wouldn’t be able to make out that it is artificial.In the few weeks following the procedure, the make-up does appear dark, but it soon fades to appear natural over time. However, if you want to retain the dramatic [conspicuous] appearance, that too, is possible.
  7. Does the make-up require special care to maintain? No, it does not require special care or specific products to maintain the results. You can continue using the products that you use otherwise.
  8. Who shouldn’t opt for permanent make-up? Those who have a tendency of developing keloids [raised pinkish scar tissue at the site of an injury] should ideally not go for these procedures. Apart from them, it is safe for all, including diabetics.
  9. How safe is permanent make-up? It’s natural to get concerned about safety since the procedure involves inserting a needle under the skin. However, if done following hygiene and thorough safety measures, the procedure is absolutely safe. That’s why it’s important that you get it done from a skilled person because s/he is likely to follow safe practices.
  10. Do any of the procedures hurt? You may experience mild pain, which can be minimised with the help of a topical anaesthetic cream. You can even expect slight swelling in the treated region soon after the procedure, which disappears eventually.
  11. Is there a healing/recovery period? The skin is just punctured to inject the pigment and hence heals soon. Moreover, the powdering fades in 4 – 5 days. All this is not visible to the naked eye. Healing time is different for each individual and each procedure. Antiseptic cream should be applied to hasten healing and shorten the recovery time.
  12. What are the advantages and disadvantages? The key advantages include: No need for make-up touch ups; good for sports people, especially swimmers, [no worries about ‘sweating-off’ the make-up]; a big relief for those who have motor impairments like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and find it difficult to apply make-up on a day-to-day basis.The disadvantages: Since it is permanent, the procedure is not reversible. So getting it done from someone who is experienced is important. In rare cases, people can develop allergy to the pigment
  13. What if I am unhappy with the results? As the colour is implanted in the dermal layer of the skin, it cannot be totally reversible. If you are unhappy with the outcome, do revisit your physician. These procedures have flexibility to allow changing colour and shape to some extent, depending on the expertise of your physician. But once done, it cannot be changed or washed off, unless a laser technique is used. It may take several sessions before the ink begins to visibly dissipate. It is also possible that the darkening of ink can be permanent, especially on the lips. Also, it’s not possible to reverse eye make-up as it is not advisable to use lasers around the eyes, making permanent eyeliner removal a huge risk.

This was first published in the May 2012 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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Jamuna Pai
Jamuna Pai is a leading cosmetic physician based in Mumbai. A gifted doctor and a talented entrepreneur, she owns and runs her own clinic "Blush" in Mumbai and Pune.



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