Many women choose permanent makeup for the ease and convenience it provides. You don’t have to worry about it washing off when you swim, sweat or exercise. It won’t melt in the heat, and you don’t have to worry if you oversleep and don’t have time to put on your makeup before you leave the house in the morning. The downside of permanent make-up is, if you change your mind or the technician makes a mistake, you'll want to get the permanent makeup removed.
What is Permanent Makeup?
Permanent makeup is essentially a tattoo where a technician embellishes an area of your face by injecting ink beneath the surface of your skin. The most common areas or types of permanent makeup include eyebrows, eyeliner, lip liner, and lip color.
Although the makeup is considered permanent, the truth is that it can fade over time from exposure to sunlight and other factors. For example, if you have naturally light eyebrows, the pigments used to fill them in could fade until they are nearly almost invisible.
Of course, fading doesn’t always happen and, even when it does, it could take several years.
Removing Permanent Makeup
Laser removal shoots a beam of light onto the tattoo, breaking the pigment into smaller particles which are then absorbed by the body.
Some tattoo removal specialists will only do laser makeup removal in the brow area. They have reasons for not removing tattooed ink from other areas, including:
- The lips have too many blood vessels, and the lasers could cause serious damage to the blood vessels and delicate tissues
- Eyeliner is too close to the eyes, and removal may pose a risk of serious damage to the eyes and even blindness
- Not all pigments respond well to lasers. Lighter pigments tend to reflect the light, instead of absorbing it, so the inks don’t break down
- Lasers can cause some pigments to darken
- The risks of lasers include skin irritation, burns, skin discoloration, and infection
Chemical Peels and Microdermabrasion
Chemical peels use acid-based products to fade the pigments in your skin. Microdermabrasion uses a mild acid and an abrasive pad to remove pigments.
- Technicians may use microdermabrasion on the brow area, but not on the lips or eyelids (for eyeliner removal) due to risk of damage to the eyes or tissue
- Technicians may use mild chemical peels on the lips and brow area, but not on the eyelids (for eyeliner removal)
Some technicians might apply a topical anesthetic to reduce pain during a laser procedure, chemical peel, or microdermabrasion.
Choosing a Removal Specialist or Technician
You should make sure that your technician is certified either as a laser technician, or in using microdermabrasion or chemical peels. Your best bet is to check with the American Board of Laser Surgery, or the National Council on Laser Certification, for laser technicians; you can check your state medical board for aestheticians licensed to perform chemical peels and microdermabrasion.
Whether you are choosing laser, microdermabrasion or chemical peels, you should first have a thorough consultation with the technician to determine if you are a good candidate for makeup removal.