Learn how Medical Permanent Makeup, aka Cosmetic Tattooing, Mimics the Look of Everyday Cosmetics

Posted August 21, 2018
Learn the Benefits of Medical Permanent Makeup with Pigments

A daily ritual for millions of people across the country is waking up and applying their makeup before heading out for the day. Many people like to claim they “woke up looking this way” and don’t have to put on much makeup. While this is not always the case for all people, there is actually a way to get out of bed “looking this way” and it is known as medical permanent makeup.

Let’s take a closer look at medical permanent makeup:

What is Medical Permanent Makeup?

Medical permanent makeup is a treatment that can be performed by a cosmetic tattoo specialist and it implants pigments into the skin of a patient. The treatment is also known as micropigmentation or cosmetic tattooing and it essentially mimics the look of cosmetic such as eyebrow pencil, lipstick and eyeliner.

There are many people who are ideal patients for cosmetic tattooing and they include patients that have difficulty applying their makeup due to arthritis or age and also women with allergies to traditional cosmetics. It is also a good choice for anyone trying to hide scars or who have lost eyelashes or eyebrows because of trauma or a medical treatment like chemotherapy.

The procedure takes anywhere from 30-minutes to two hours to perform and the length of the treatment mainly depends on the extent of the tattooing performed by the specialist.

How is Medical Permanent Makeup Performed?

Before the start of the actual procedure, the treatment area is numbed and makeup designing is performed to handle such tasks as drawing the eyebrows on the patient. When the treatment begins, organic or inorganic pigments are injected into the skin through the use of a hand tool or a digital machine. Hand tools are effective but they result in a soft look that fades quicker than the results of using a digital machine. A digital machine uses needles or cartridges that are pre-sterilized and the machine allows for greater precision than work does by hand. Once the pigments are applied, the patient sees vivid results but these results eventually fade. This means some patients will undergo a touch-up procedure to get the best possible outcome.

What is the Cost of Medical Permanent Makeup?

The total cost of medical permanent makeup is in the range of $350-$1200 and the final price depends on the amount of work performed, the area of the country where the treatment is performed and the experience level of the specialist.

Recovery and Results of Medical Permanent Makeup

The total recovery time depends on the amount of areas being treated as well as the individual areas where the medical permanent makeup is applied. Eyebrow swelling is normally mild and is often not noticed by others. Areas where swelling is often seen by others include permanent lip liner in the lip area and permanent eyeliner in the eye area.  The area that has been treated will be red or pink for a little while and there might be some scabs that will flake off on their own. Slight itching is also a common occurrence. The brow and/or eye area normally heals in 5-7 days and the lips take 7-10 days to heal.

The results of cosmetic tattooing can be seen once the majority of the swelling has disappeared. The final results can take about a month to appear since it can take some time for the colors to settle. The colors can continue to soften over the first year so many patients decide to get a touch-up treatment to make the colors brighter again. Even though the pigments can fade as time passes, the medical permanent makeup cannot be washed off. In order to maintain the results for a longer period of time, the patient should use sunblock whenever going outside as well as lip balms with sunscreen.

In order to achieve the best results, patients should seek out a specialist who is certified by the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals or the American Academy of Micropigmentation. These specialists have to possess a certain level of experience and they also must pass a standardized exam that was put together by other experts in the field. The exam tests their knowledge of pigments, equipment, anatomy and makeup design as well as how to protect the patient from cross-contamination of blood borne pathogens.

According to Dr. Laura Reed as well as a Certified Cosmetic Professional and a Board-Certified Fellow in Micropigmentation from Idaho, almost anyone can benefit from medical permanent makeup. Dr. Reed told Cosmetic Town that the patients who truly benefit from permanent makeup are people with:

  • A busy lifestyle and little time or no desire to apply makeup every day
  • Eyebrow hair loss from over-tweezing, waxing, or shaving
  • Health conditions such as Alopecia or thyroid disorders
  • Oily skin that causes makeup to quickly smudge or wear off
  • Poor vision that makes it difficult to see when applying makeup
  • Makeup allergies where regular cosmetic and makeup irritate sensitive
  • Unsteady hands that make applying makeup a difficult challenge due to arthritis or a stroke
  • Asymmetrical (uneven) features and a desire for them to look balanced and even



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Taylor Hansen June 18, 2020 at 02:47 PM
It's interesting to learn that permanent makeup starts with pigments injected into the skin from a digital machine. My sister is wanting to have her eyebrow makeup permanently done to always look good
Luke Smith November 11, 2019 at 02:17 PM
I like that you mentioned how permanent make-up is ideal for patients who are old and have hand diseases who wish to still apply make-up on. Just yesterday, my grandmother called me to find her a perm