Micropigmentation is more commonly known as permanent makeup. This is the process involved in inserting colored pigments just beneath the skin’s surface. Permanent makeup can give the patient more attractive eyebrows, eyelids, and lips. It can also be used to mask scars and add color to the areolae after breast surgery.
Skin & Laser Surgery Center of New England now offer micropigmentation as part of our dermatology and laser services for our patients in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
What is micropigmentation (Permanent Makeup)?
Micropigmentation is an aesthetic treatment where a patient can correct or enhance certain facial areas semi-permanently. It can be thought of as permanent outlining on areas such as the lips and the eyelids. Or, it can be used to replace or fill out thin eyebrows. Micropigmentation is colloquially known as “permanent makeup” because it replaces having to apply makeup such as eyeliner and lipstick. Micropigmentation lasts for two to five years, fading over time as the epidermis sheds some of the cells with pigment in them.
Types of Permanent Cosmetic Procedures
Micropigmentation is considered cosmetic on the face and medical when dealing with scars and breast areolae. Here are the various applications:
- Eyebrow micropigmentation — Eyebrows are important because they tend to frame the face. Micropigmentation can be used to provide an outline, making the eyebrows more defined. The eyebrow shape can be changed and asymmetries corrected. Areas with sparse hair can be filled with a stroke method that is very difficult to distinguish from natural hair.
- Eyeliner micropigmentation — Eyelid micropigmentation gives the patient more expressive eyes. It also creates the effect of having fuller eyelashes.
- Lip micropigmentation — Micropigmentation of the lips not only adds permanent color, but it can also give the impression of fuller lips for lips that have lost volume with age. The vermillion border, which loses definition with age, can also be re-established. The shape of the lips can even be redefined.
- Scar masking micropigmentation — Scars often have a different color than the surrounding skin; this makes them more noticeable. By adding color to the scar to match the surrounding skin, scars blend into the skin and are far less noticeable.
- Areolar repigmentation — The shape and color of the areolae are improved with micropigmentation. This is especially helpful after breast surgery or reconstruction.
Benefits of micropigmentation
Micropigmentation with the team at the Skin & Laser Surgery Center can benefit many people. Micropigmentation could be right for you if:
- You want to save time by not having to put on makeup.
- You have eye allergies that cause reactions to makeup.
- You have thin or asymmetrical eyebrows.
- You’re tired of lipstick bleed.
- You have vision problems that make applying makeup difficult.
- You have arthritis, making makeup application physically demanding.
- Your lips are thin and lack volume.
- Your vermillion lip line is undefined or fading.
- You want to mask the appearance of a scar.
- You want to bring pigment and definition to your areolae post-surgery.
Permanent Makeup vs tattoos
Micropigmentation places the pigment into the lower part of the epidermis, the skin’s outer layer. This sits just above the dermis, the skin’s second layer. Tattoos place the pigment into the dermis, where the cells are far more stable and less prone to shedding than the epidermis. That’s why tattoos are permanent and micropigmentation fades over the course of a few years.
We first clean and apply antiseptic to the area, along with a topical numbing solution. Then we map out the area to receive pigment in careful detail. We show you the drawn design in a mirror and together we decide if this is the look you want or if we need to modify it. When you’re satisfied, we apply more topical anesthetic as needed and begin pigmentation.
The inks are inserted with a pen-like instrument that takes 20 to 30 minutes. The overall procedure, start to finish, runs from two to three hours depending on what you’re having done.
What to expect after micropigmentation
There will be swelling on the treated areas. Our staff will instruct you on how often you’ll need to ice the area and what ointment (usually Vaseline) will need to be applied. If you’re having micropigmentation done on your eye area, you’ll need a ride to and from our office. Also, there will likely be some tearing in this area afterwards; this is normal.
Your pigmentation may appear overly dark in the first weeks following your procedure. The color will stay dark for 4-7 days during the healing process as the upper layers of the epidermis are shed and replaced with new epidermal cells. After healing is complete, the shade will become lighter and softer. The final color will be apparent about one month after your treatment, and will be 50 to 60% lighter than when you return home immediately after the procedure. This lightening is normal.
How long does Permanent Makeup last?
Unlike tattoos, where the ink is placed deeper in the skin, micropigmentation isn’t permanent. Even though micropigmentation places ink at the bottom of the epidermis, some of those cells still will turn over. This causes the color to very slowly fade. Sun exposure also fades the color, as do things such as chlorine from pools. The duration of your color varies greatly by the person. In most cases, your color will last at least two years or more without any noticeable fading. After that, the color will fade but it will never completely go away. To maintain the color intensity another micropigmentation session will be needed.