A New Dawn


What is Permanent Cosmetics?
Permanent cosmetic procedures are methods of skillfully implanting pigment through the epidermis layer of the skin with a needle facilitated by a tattoo device into the upper dermal layer of the skin to simulate natural appearing makeup. Permanent eyebrows, eyeliner, and lip colors are three of the most requested procedures. Permanent Cosmetic procedures can be very subtle or dramatic depending on the preference of the client and the accepted techniques of the technician. Other permanent cosmetic options include: scar camouflage and areola re-pigmentation, both are a refreshingly radiant, yet natural, permanent appearance that cannot be achieved with the use of traditional cosmetics. Each finished procedure is as unique as the individual receiving it.

Is it safe?
Yes, If Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA ) Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030  are met, permanent cosmetic should be completely safe. These guidelines include the following:

  • All needles should be new and sterile for each client.
  • All machine accessory components are either disposable or sterilized after each client.
  • Examination gloves should be new for each client and checked during procedure to ensure the integrity is intact and changed immediately if a hole or tear in the glove occurs.
  • A disposable new bed covering for each client that is removed and disposed of properly after each procedure.
  • All facilities must have hot and cold running water, and the floors and walls of the facility must be smooth and nonporous in texture
  • Barrier products (such as barrier film) are used to cover objects that might be touched during the procedure.
  • The technician should be clean and neat and knowledgeable of environmental safety requirements.
Is the procedure uncomfortable?
In most cases discomfort is minimal. This will vary according to each individual’s pain threshold and the skills of the technician performing the service. However, the use of over-the-counter (OTC) topical anesthetics is common and most clients are pleasantly surprised at the comfort level they experience.
Is infection possible?
Even with a minor scratch an infection is possible if the wound is not properly cared for. However, with proper care by the client based on written instructions provided by the technician an infection could be considered rare. Certainly there are no expectations of major complications.  
Who benefits from it?
Everyone, from the young (within the age limits based on the legal age of tattooing per locality) to the elderly, who in good health and who desires a soft, natural enhancement to their appearance. It is especially advantageous to people who can’t wear traditional cosmetics due to allergies and/or skin sensitivities and active people who want to look their best for activities such as swimming, hiking, tennis and those who don't want to worry about sweating off or reapplying cosmetics. Also, the vision impaired and others with dexterity challenges find permanent cosmetics the perfect solution. Medical applications include areola reconstruction and scar camouflage.

What are my technician's credentials?

Credentials will vary from locality to locality based on mandates (or the lack of) set forth by law.  In some states licensing is mandated, in others permits are issued to qualifying technicians and inspected facilities. A few states have guidelines that are set forth by law but do not impose inspections or offer documentation of compliance.  People considering permanent cosmetics should first become acquainted with what the laws that govern the service.  In addition to state and local requirements, the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP) offers a professionally developed and administered examination to technicians who have satisfactorily completed their fundamental training and who are eligible to be SPCP members.  The credentials of CPCP (Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professional) are used after the names of technicians who have successfully passed this examination.  Other credentialing would include a valid business license for the facility, evidence of OSHA training (certificate of attendance are issued at official classes,) SPCP membership, the physical appearance (commensurate with offering an invasive service) of the facility, and the technician’s portfolio of services rendered to other clients who have consented to their photographs being shown.
What is involved in recovery?
Depending on the procedure, clients may experience slight swelling and/or redness of the skin in the surrounding procedure area which normally subsides within forty-eight (48) hrs. Clients may resume normal activities immediately after procedures as long as these normal activities do not compromise the need to keep the tattooed area clean and free from contaminants. Initially permanent makeup will appear darker, brighter and often thicker than what the healed appearance.
How should I choose a technician?
Choose a technician carefully by considering training, credentials, and experience. Many clients find a review of the technicians work on other people for the same service who have a similar or same skin type enlightening.  It is important to remember that the shape and proper placement of the procedure is as important as the color. The desired look is obtained during the course of consultation, the initial procedure and the follow up procedure. Interaction between the client and the technician should be one of teamwork.
Can I have an MRI?
Dr. Frank Shellock, author of Magnetic Resonance: Bioeffects, Safety and Patient Management, has been a speaker at SPCP events and also maintains a website, www.MRIsafety.com that addresses this question.  According to Dr. Shellock, there is a comparatively remote possibility of having a problem occur in a patient with a body tattoo or permanent cosmetics.  It is our understanding based on Dr. Shellocks information that due to the relatively minor, short-term complication or adverse event that may develop, the patient should be permitted to undergo MRI.  Clients who voice concern are advised to consult with their physician.
What is the permanent element of permanent cosmetics?
Permanent cosmetic procedures are considered permanent because the color is implanted into the upper reticular part of the dermal layers of the skin, where it remains forever, and cannot be washed off. However, as with any tattoo, fading can and often does occur, requiring periodic maintenance color re-enhancement or color refreshing. Just like hair dye, furniture that may be located near a window, or even house paint, all pigment fades and primarily as a result of sun exposure.  Pigment implanted in the skin may fade with time as well. It is important to consider this as normal periodic maintenance.