Permanent makeup has emerged on the plastic surgery market as a means to enhance the eyes, eyebrows, lips, blush or eye shadow. Similar to tattooing, the technique uses a specialized ink to administer the desired effects (typically a black line) around the eyes.
The process by which permanent eyeliner is administered is known as micropigmentation. Using a pen or rotary machine, ink is delivered to the skin around the eye in the desired form. Permanent eyeliner typically takes two sessions to be most effective. The second session involves adjusting the pigment or shape for the eyeliner. The pigment penetrates the dermal layers of the skin, reaching down into the tiny capillaries beneath the skin. Some discomfort is involved in the application itself. Topical numbing cream is typically used before application to reduce the pain associated with the procedure.
Cosmetic makeup is advantageous not only for those who wish to save time applying makeup. It also is beneficial for those with allergies or sensitive skin who may not otherwise be able to wear eyeliner. Those with visual impairment or motor disorders who may not be able to apply makeup daily may also benefit from permanent eyeliner.
Immediate side effects following permanent eyeliner application include swelling that lasts anywhere from two to 72 hours after application. Bleeding and bruising also may occur after the eyeliner is applied. Also, the eyeliner color typically appears much darker for as many as 10 days after the procedure. You may also experience a burning, itching, painful or swelling sensation around the injection site. If this persists after several days, you should see a physician, as this may be an abnormal reaction.
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Many worry about any potentially negative side effects of permanent eyeliner application. While history of side effects is rare, it is important to carefully inspect the place in which you are receiving your permanent eyeliner application. Needles should be sterile and thrown away after each use. Clean gloves and sheets also should be used for each patient. It is also a good idea to ask your technician how equipment and supplies are stored.
The FDA has approved products used for permanent eyeliner as safe when applied in a proper and sanitary manner. However, the FDA warns that allergic reactions are a risk associated with any type of permanent makeup procedure. If you experience any excessive bruising or black eyes following the procedure, you should seek medical attention. Other signs associated with allergic reactions include itching, pain, excessive swelling or bumps.
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.