Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly are permanent cosmetics?

The term “permanent cosmetics” means cosmetic tattooing. Pigment is deposited into the dermal layer of the skin, giving the illusion of traditional makeup. Although eyeliner, eyebrow creation or enhancements, lip color, and beauty marks are the most common applications, a host of other services are available from specially trained advanced professionals, including the re-pigmentation of areolas, scar camouflage, and hair imitation. Sometimes industry professionals refer to permanent cosmetics as permanent makeup or micropigmentation.

How are permanent cosmetic procedures performed?

Various tools are used to implant pigment into the skin. These tools range from a traditional tattoo machine (coil machine), to a pen-type (rotary or digital-rotary machine), or to a non-mechanized manual device. The process includes an initial consultation, the pigment application procedure, and usually at least one finishing procedure where adjustments to the shape or the color are made.

Can anyone benefit from permanent cosmetics procedures?

Men and women of any age or ethnicity can benefit from a soft natural enhancement to their appearance, or an improvement to the appearance of a scar. It is especially beneficial to people who have allergies or skin sensitivities to traditional cosmetics, who are active sports or gym enthusiasts, or people who are in the public eye and want to look their best at all times, without worry. People with disorders resulting in hair loss, or with poor vision, or who are suffering from dexterity challenges that make applying makeup difficult, find that permanent cosmetics offers an excellent solution for their beauty needs and their self esteem.

Are permanent cosmetics really permanent?

Permanent cosmetics procedures are considered permanent because the color is implanted into the skin and cannot be washed off. Even when faded, the pigment components remain in the body regardless of the external visual appearance of the tattoo. As with any tattoo, many factors will cause fading. The predominant reason for color fading in a permanent cosmetic tattoo is the decomposition of pigments due to sun exposure. However, health conditions, medications, and facial products containing strong exfoliation and skin bleaching agents all can contribute to the need for maintenance. Precautions need to be taken with new treatments such as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), and some laser based treatments so as not to affect your permanent cosmetics. Regardless of what precautions you take, however, you can expect that your permanent cosmetic color will need refreshing at some future date.

How much can I expect to spend for permanent cosmetics?

The average cost per procedure varies but averages range from $300-$900. Advanced work may be charged at $100 to $300 per hour. Many advanced procedures are commonly referred to as para-medical procedures. Work performed in physicians’ offices or specialized clinics may be charged at higher rates. But, the cost of the procedure should never be the most important factor when selecting a potential technician. Your confidence in the technician’s training, talent and experience, their ethics and their compliance with health and safety requirements is paramount in the selection.

Which technician should I choose?

First, choose an SPCP member and be assured your technician adheres to a strict code of ethics and standards. Also choose a technician by considering training, experience, portfolio, and compliance with local and state laws. A consultation prior to scheduling a procedure provides the opportunity to gauge your comfort level with the technician and with the facility and equipment to be used. You need to feel comfortable with your choice of providers.

How long does each procedure take?

The initial procedure usually takes from 1 to 2 ½ hours. Touch-up procedures usually require less time.

Are the procedures painful?

The answer to this varies, based on each individual's tolerance to discomfort, and the skills of the technician performing the service. The permanent cosmetic industry benefits from several methods available that assist with comfort management. There are various non-prescription and prescription level topical anesthetic cream, ointment and gel preparations. Sometimes the technician will suggest the option of using a doctor to administer local anesthetic injections. Your technician will discuss these methods with you; determine which are offered and which method most appropriate for your procedure.

Is it safe?

Many state agencies specify infection control practices and sterilization guidelines. If proper guidelines are met and your technician is well trained in the procedure being performed, permanent cosmetic procedures should be completely safe. So few pigment reactions have been reported that many physicians suggest that a sensitivity test is not necessary, especially since allergic reactions do not occur immediately upon first exposure to a particular substance. With health standards in place, the possibility that you would have any serious medical problems as a result of a permanent cosmetic procedure is remote. You, too, have a role to play in your own safety. Your must comply with the post- procedural instructions to help reduce any associated risks from contamination of the newly pigmented area.

Can I still have MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)?

Numerous studies showed that even for people who have large body tattoos there is little to no potential for irritation resulting from MRI. In the rare instance where discomfort resulted, it was localized and very temporary. A question on your intake form for MRI may ask if you have a tattoo. Be sure to check ‘yes’ if you have permanent cosmetics.

What if I don't like it?

Although the procedure is considered permanent, there is flexibility in changing color or shape to some extent. Your participation in color selection, final design and placement approval helps assure your ultimate satisfaction with the service.

Can I resume normal activities after the procedure?

Each client is unique. Generally, there is some swelling of the tattooed area. While eyebrows may show little after effect, eyeliner and lip procedures may produce more swelling lasting from two to seventy two hours. During the procedure, there may be some bleeding and although rare, some bruising. There is usually some tenderness for a few days. The immediate post-procedure color is darker than you may expect after five to ten days of healing. A good recommendation is to plan your permanent cosmetic procedure when you have no special events to attend for several days afterward.

What's a touch-up and when do I need one?

The tattooed color or design may require an adjustment after the initial procedure. The application of permanent cosmetics is a process. At least one follow-up visit should be scheduled to determine if additional work is necessary. Follow up “finishing” visits are scheduled from four to eight weeks after the initial procedure.

After the initial and follow up visits are complete, the timing for your future color refresher depends on your personal preference and the other factors discussed under “Are permanent cosmetics really permanent?” No one can really say exactly when you will need or want a color refresher. Often, the traditional makeup test is the guide. That is, when you find yourself using traditional makeup to ‘touch up’ your permanent cosmetics, it is likely the time for a color refresher visit.

Microblading FAQ

What we do is NOT microblading!

Is it tattooing?

With the sudden popularity and media attention to the term microblading, many are led to believe microblading is not a tattoo process. Permanent cosmetics, micropigmentation, dermal implantation, microblading/microstroking, eyebrow embroidery, and long-time/long-lasting makeup, are all different names for the same procedure – cosmetic tattooing. Any time color is placed into the skin with any device, it is a tattoo process as defined by many well informed regulators, the medical community, and dictionary sources. Denying this process is a tattoo can be problematic for those who would, for religious or other personal reasons, normally refuse to have a tattoo.

Is a blade being used to perform the microblading tattoo procedure?

Microblading is performed with a grouping or configuration of needles affixed to a handle to manually create lines that resemble eyebrow hairs. Manual methods of tattooing have been used through the ages, and the tools have gone through changes over time from pre-historic sharpened stones to the hand tool devices currently being used. An actual scalpel or cutting-type blade should not be used under any circumstances as these are considered medical devices and cannot legitimately be used for this process. Any hand tool device (i.e., both handle and attached needles) used for microblading should be pre-sterilized and fully disposable.

Is it semi-permanent?

Some are promoting microblading or eyebrow embroidery as a semi-permanent process; and that the color only reaches the epidermal (outer) layer of the skin. A careful review of basic skin anatomy and physiology would reveal this is not true. By definition and tattoo industry standards, color is tattooed/implanted into the dermis of the skin. If pigment particles do not reach the dermis, they will disappear during the healing phase of the skin, during normal regeneration of cells at the epidermal level. Pigments do fade in the skin over time, but that does not make the process semi-permanent. It is impossible to predict how much pigment will fade away and how long it will take to do so with any measure of consistency or reliability.

Why does microblading not last as long as other eyebrow tattooing techniques?

This is simply because a much smaller amount of pigment is inserted (tattooed) into the skin as compared to fully or solidly filled eyebrow tattoos.

Is there less training needed to learn microblading as compared to learning permanent cosmetics?

No; if someone is new to the industry and does not already have a minimum of 100 hours of training in permanent cosmetics, they need to have a similar amount of training in microblading, even if it is for just that one type of procedure. There are many areas of study when learning these techniques, which include facial morphology and bone structure, brow shaping and design, color analysis, color theory, proper handling of equipment, prevention of cross-contamination, as well as practice work and the opportunity to observe procedures before actually performing them under supervision. Anyone interested in pursuing training in cosmetic tattooing, including microblading, should first check with state and county regulating agencies. This would also include verifying the qualifications of any trainer, in addition to checking with regulatory agencies for trainer compliance with local health, safety, or permit requirements if the trainer is travelling from another state or country to offer training.

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