How permanent are permanent cosmetics?:

During the procedure, pigments are placed into the dermal layer of the skin. Anything placed in the epidermal layer of the skin will exfoliate off and disappear. The initial exfoliation starts about three days after the procedure. Tiny particles of normally shedding skin flake off carrying with it the color that was staining these surface layers. Depending on many factors, (including the client’s age, their general health, their skin condition, their lifestyle and home care during the healing process,) it may take up to three to six weeks for the finished result to show.

The degree of color permanency varies with each individual. Color can fade due to many factors, including prolonged exposure to the sun, or other forms of UVA, a person’s own body chemistry, and the degree of care taken to maintain the work. Any process involving the dermal layer of the skin, such as peels, medical procedures or certain medications such as Acutane, can also adversely affect color integrity.

The lifetime integrity of color has nothing to do with the permanent nature of any form of tattooing. The color is injected in molecules and those molecules remain in the skin forever. Even after removal of color by laser, these pigment molecules remain in the skin. This is the same thing that happens, to a much lesser degree, from exposure to any form of UVA rays from the sun.

If the permanent cosmetics could be completely protected from UV rays, it would remain in its pristine shape and color for years and years. But unlike a traditional body tattoo that is protected by clothing, tattoos on the face are constantly exposed to the sun and its damaging rays. In general, the lighter the color is when implanted, the more it has the potential to be affected by ultra-violet rays of the sun. Just as with hair color, the lighter the color in the hair, the more likely it will fade or bleach out, with exposure to sunlight or other forms of UV.

This bleaching process depends on the client’s individual body chemistry and lifestyle.

Black shades tend to turn gray; dark browns fade to lighter shades of brown. All colors then will show the undertones from which they are made, (gray brown, reddish brown, golden brown, violet brown). When clients go in for a color touch up in 1-10 years, the technician has to compensate for this fade, which makes the color touch up more complex than doing the original procedure.

Because of the lasting presence of pigment molecules in the skin, there has been recent legislation of state and county levels throughout the USA requiring that clients be informed that tattooing in any form is permanent in nature. Technicians in many countries consider permanent cosmetics to be semi-permanent, due to the potential of color fading, this is not accurate.



Pigments implanted in the skin will migrate or move:

Using a powder base and putting it into a “carrier” forms all pigments. If the powder is not converted into a liquid, it would be impossible to get the powder to penetrate evenly into the skin. Before using any pigment, it should be shaken to evenly distribute the color molecules in the liquid base.

Once implanted, the liquid portion of the pigment is absorbed by the lymphatic system of the body and carried away for excretion. The minute particles of color pigment molecules remain behind trapped in the upper region of the dermal layer. If the carrier in the pigment is too thin, it is possible for the pigment to migrate or “run”.

With continued exposure to the sun, the surrounding cells become damaged and the lines take on the soft blurred effect we have come to expect on older tattoos. Your grandfather’s old Navy tattoo on his arm has probably blurred a bit, but did not continue to widen indefinitely.

This may work to the technician’s advantage as it creates the rather soft, slightly smudged effect many women try for in their makeup application.

If the pigment is placed too deeply into the dermal layer it has the potential to shift position before the liquid portion of the pigment is absorbed. This is commonly seen in eyeliner that is carried too far into the outer corner of the eye. The skin at this juncture is very delicate and thin, so the potential for pigment migrating from its desired location is much higher.

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