Who doesn’t love a perfect flick of eyeliner? Eyeliner can add definition to your face and add a bit of drama to your everyday look. However, putting eyeliner on is anything but effortless. Do you love the look of eyeliner but hate fussing with tiny pots and pencils? It may be tempting to get permanent eyeliner. Just imagine rolling out of bed in the morning with your eye makeup already halfway done! But is it safe? Before you commit to a lifetime of perfect cat eye, here is what you need to know about permanent eyeliner.
What Is Permanent Eyeliner?
Permanent eyeliner and other permanent makeup are kinds of micro pigmentation. Micropigmentation is similar to the technique used in tattooing and medical restoration, which corrects cosmetic flaws such as scars and vitiligo. In micro pigmentation, professionals will use a needle to place pigmented granules beneath the upper layer of the skin’s surface.
Permanent eyeliner is the most popular type of permanent makeup procedure. After the initial procedure, a second touch-up procedure might be required one to three months later. Though the procedure is permanent, most people experience significant fading year after year. Results will vary from individual to individual. Some people’s permanent eyeliner may be just as sharp two decades later as it was the day after their micro pigmentation procedure, while other clients may require touch-ups every few years.
There are several potential risks that come with permanent eyeliner. One of the biggest concerns is a potential allergic reaction. Allergic reactions to the pigments used for permanent eyeliner are rare but are serious due to the difficulty of removing implanted pigments in the case of an adverse reaction. Vegetable based, natural and organic dyes and inks are much more likely to create an allergic reaction than pigments such as iron oxide.
Another potential risk is granulomas, which are tissue masses that form around foreign substances. Permanent eyeliner can also result in keloids, which are overgrowths of scar tissue that result in raised scars.
In addition, the anesthesia applied to the skin before the procedure can be damaging if used incorrectly. Due to the proximity to the eye, which is extraordinarily delicate, permanent eyeliner can be very damaging when performed by an inexperienced technician.
Something else to consider — the pigments used in permanent eyeliner can interfere with MRIs. The magnetic field of the MRI interacts with the pigments embedded under the skin, resulting in a swelling and burning in the pigmented area. People with permanent makeup will experience redness and irritation after an MRI. But a topical steroid cream or Benadryl™ can treat these irritations.
A Wild, Unregulated World
The greatest risk associated with permanent eyeliner is the lack of government regulation. Dermatologists, cosmetologists, aestheticians, nurses, and tattooists may be able to perform the procedure. But the process is not as tightly regulated as other cosmetic surgery procedures, which may encourage shoddy and unsafe work. There have been numerous cases of hepatitis being transmitted during permanent makeup procedures.
Regulations for permanent eyeliner vary from state to state. Some states have no regulations in place at all, leaving consumers vulnerable to unsafe practices. Because government regulation is so lax, potential clients must take on the responsibility of thoroughly vetting their technician before undergoing the procedure.
Dr. Charles S. Zwerling, an ophthalmologist, warns people interested in permanent eyeliner to be wary of practitioners boasting “FDA Approved Colors.” The FDA approves colored pigments for specific purposes, and prospective clients have no way of determining whether these supposedly approved colors were approved for skin injection, or for other purposes.
If You Change Your Mind
If your technician gave you a pair of raccoon eyes, or down the road, you decide permanent makeup isn’t for you, there are a few removal options. However, removing permanent eyeliner is much more difficult and costly than getting permanent makeup. So before you undergo the procedure, be sure you are fully committed. Laser treatment can remove permanent makeup. Dermabrasion or surgical removal is available too. These removal processes can create lighter patches in the skin, or cause scarring and keloids.
Before You Take the Leap
A few precautions to take before committing to permanent eyeliner:
- Make sure your technician has a business license and has passed a health inspection.
- Check if your technician is accredited by the American Academy of Micropigmentation, which requires technicians to pass oral, written and practical examinations on various micro pigmentation procedures and sterilization processes.
- Find out how long your technician has been performing permanent eyeliner procedures. And ask to see examples of their past work. Ideally, try to meet former clients in person so you can examine the results for yourself.
Micropigmentation such as permanent eyeliner requires the precision and safety of a medical professional, with the eye of a true artist. Attend several consultations before your procedure to be sure that you and your practitioner are on the same page about your goals. And make sure that you feel absolutely comfortable with their operation.