Is this recent cosmetic trend worth the risks?

Is this recent cosmetic trend worth the risks?

Permanent makeup can appear to make your lips, eyebrows or eyelids full of life, while helping your cosmetic routine be less troublesome. However, cosmetic procedures and their after-effects often create unnecessary stress for your well-being.

Microblading eyebrows is a trend on the rise. The Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals describe “microblading” as a cosmetic tattoo procedure, which uses needles that create lines to look like eyebrow hairs.

“Any form of permanent makeup, including microblading, run the same risk of complications as normal tattoos do, which include everything from ink bleed and poor scarring to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” says Dr. Michael Patrick Ogilvie, plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill.

A 2014 study in the journal of Clinical Interventions and Aging looked at two women who underwent cosmetic tattoo procedures because they wanted to look “younger.” According to the results, the first woman received an eyelid procedure, but ended up with unplanned coloring on one side of her face that appeared on her lower nose and cheekbone. In turn, the patient had to undergo weeks of laser treatment to correct this reaction.

“Tattooing around the eyes come with additional risks as well. The upper and lower eyelids are rich in lymphatic channels and any ink that gets into these channels, can disperse to unintended areas of the face, particularly the nose, cheeks and forehead. Additionally, if these channels are disrupted in any way, this may lead to malar bags or unwanted lower eyelid swelling, which can be permanent,” Dr. Ogilvie says.

The other woman received eyebrow microblading, which led to a mixture of various skin pigmentation, inflammation and major swelling around her eyebrows. The results of her new cosmetic appearance also negatively affected her confidence, and she became depressed.

The study researchers note tattoos are not applicable for everybody’s skin, especially the aging. In this case, both women were older, and the researchers explain the more people age, it is common for skin fibers to not be as strong.

“Tattooing in and of itself does not cause negative skin effects, however, permanent makeup or eyebrow tattooing, is done at a distinct point in time. As we age, the eyebrows tend to get lower and we develop excess or saggy skin around the upper and lower eyelids,” Dr. Ogilvie says.

Another culprit? The ink color used during permanent makeup procedures also can create negative effects. Specifically, blank ink has “nanoparticles” mixed with water and extracts, which potentially cause inflammation and skin reactions, mention the researchers.

Dr. Ogilvie reminds people that what may appear to look appropriate at 40 or 50 years of age, may not look good at 60 or 70 years of age. And he urges people take this factor into consideration when thinking of undergoing permanent procedures.

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One Comment

  1. This article is misleading and outdated. Its apparent intent is to create a buzz around the negative effects of procedures that have been successful not only in cosmetic improvement, but also in paramedical restoration, such as reconstruction following plastic surgery. I would strongly encourage anyone considering permanent makeup to continue their research by contacting qualified practioners. “Look closely, ask questions.”

About the Author

Kelsey Andeway
Kelsey Andeway

Kelsey Andeway, health e-news contributor, is a public affairs intern at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove. She is a senior at Loyola University Chicago earning a bachelor's degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Dance. In her free time, Kelsey enjoys dancing, baking, and taking long walks with her Chocolate Lab.