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About Permanent Makeup

Permanent Makeup, sometimes also known as micro-pigmentation or permanent cosmetics.

Permanent makeup is similar to tattooing in some ways and is used to define lost contours on the face, or to aesthetically enhance features that are lacking from a person’s face. The permanent inks that are used to pigment the skin are used to create the appearance of makeup.

The most common permanent cosmetic is the tattooing of eyebrows or eyeliner. Occasionally, the contours of the face can be enhanced with colouration, but permanent cosmetics can really be used anywhere they are required, such as the lips, eyelids and facial skin.

As with normal tattoos, immediately after the procedure has been performed, the area will look much darker than it is supposed to. Once the skin begins to heal and recover, the colour will fade slightly and soften to look more natural.

Permanent cosmetics are usually only applied by a qualified specialist or licensed aesthetician, who has a lot of experience performing it. You should ensure that you have your consultation with both them and the board certified plastic surgeon that will be present during your treatment.

The most important qualification for your surgeon or aesthetician is that they have considerable experience performing the exact procedure you wish to have. This will significantly reduce the chances of infection or complications, and increase the chances of the best aesthetic result.


How is it performed?

Before beginning the procedure, your aesthetician will apply a local anaesthetic so as to numb the area. While waiting for this to take effect, they will perform an allergen ‘scratch test’ on a small area of skin, to check that you are not allergic to any of the dyes or pigments being used. If necessary, they may also mark the area with a special pen.

The nurse will use the specialized tattoo device to perform the pigmentation. The tiny needles on this device penetrate a few millimeters into the skin, injection a small amount of pigment below the skin each time. Once the area has been pigmented and the procedure has been completed, your nurse will apply topical creams or ointments to promote healing in the area.

You may also be required to wear a light bandage or gauze over the area for a few hours. Depending on your aesthetic goals, you may require several treatments over a couple of months, so as to gradually build up the appearance of the cosmetics.

What result can I expect?

Permanent makeup is a permanent procedure, but overtime tattoos will naturally fade and so you may need to keep an eye on them to decide if they need ‘touching up’. Make sure you return to your surgeon’s office for follow up appointments to ensure the best results. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your surgeon without hesitation.



  • Quick procedure with very little downtime
  • Customized results for your skin tone and colouring
  • Good alternative for those with allergies and makeup issues


  • Permanent makeup is a permanent procedure that is difficult to remove
  • You may be susceptible to infection or allergic reaction to pigment
  • Pigments may interfere with cranial MRI scans


Permanent makeup is a minimally invasive procedure and so the recovery time is also minimal. Most people find they can return to work right after their treatment.

Your surgeon will give you advice and instructions about how to care for the tattooed areas, and how to look out for any signs of a problem. It is essential that you heed this advice. Also remember that everyone is unique and accordingly they will heal differently and at different rates.

It is possible you may experience some very light pain and bruising and almost definitely some redness in the area. This should not be unmanageable and if you are concerned you should contact your surgeon immediately.

As with any other minor wound, a crusty scab will form over the area, which will fall off as soon as the skin beneath it is healed completely. This can take anywhere up to 2-3 weeks. Once this scab has fallen off, you should be able to see the full results of your treatment, and be able to tell if you will need a touch up for completion.

Limits & Risks

Due to its minimally invasive nature, there are very few significant complications from permanent makeup procedures. There may be some specific risks you face, but these will be discussed during your consultation with your aesthetic surgeon. You can help to reduce these risks further, by heeding the aftercare advice of your aesthetician and their team, both before and after surgery.

Some specific risks of having permanent makeup are listed below:

  • Skin discolouration, such as hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation
  • Changes in the texture of skin