The Risks of Permanent Cosmetics

By: Jessa Goddard
By: Jessa Goddard

Knoxville (WVLT) Imagine kissing lipstick goodbye and putting away eye pencils forever.

Permanent makeup or cosmetic tattooing is a fast-growing part of the health and beauty industry.

But federal health officials are warning about the risks of serious, long-term disfiguring reactions.

If you have faint eyebrows, a cosmetic tattoo can help.

A lip tattoo can reduce lipstick bleed, and give definition to the lip line.

With a colored lip tattoo, lip scars disappear.

After an eyeliner tattoo, you can put away your eye pencils.

Permanent makeup is an increasingly attractive option for the more than eight million women who use it.

Dermatologist Matthew Doppelt says "permanent tattooing for makeup is actually becoming very popular, a lot of the medical spas are offering that service now. I think it's something we're going to see more and more of."

Dr. Doppelt says permanent makeup is in the form of a tattoo process.

The problem with it, though, the side effects.

Federal health officials report patients' most common reactions are tenderness, swelling and bumps in the area where it is applied.

"The issues that you have to remember are that number one, you're injecting a dye, and it is possible to be allergic to a dye. And you also have to be sure you're going to a reputable vendor of this. "

Allergic reactions and skin nodules called granulomas are the most common diagnoses.

Permanent makeup artists are being trained in specialized applications, to avoid infections, it's important to work with a licensed aesthetician.

And, allergic reactions are particularly troublesome because the pigments can be hard to remove.

Dr. Doppelt says "it's difficult at best in areas like on your back or neck, but when you're talking about trying to remove a tattoo from an eyeliner or a lip liner, it becomes a little more complicated."

Also, patients report their symptoms last on average from five months to more than three years.

Federal researchers say they don't know how many people have gotten permanent makeup, so it's unclear if adverse reactions are rare or common.

But if you do have a reaction, FDA officials want you to report it to them.

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