Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are permanent cosmetics?
A. Permanent cosmetic procedures are methods of implanting pigment or ink through the epidermis layer of the skin into the upper dermal layer of the skin to create a desired illusion of shape and color. Permanent eyebrows, eyeliner, and lip colors are three of the most popular permanent cosmetic procedures.
Q. As I read more about permanent cosmetics I see it referred to differently. Just what is the actual process called?
A. The implanting of pigment or ink in the skin is tattooing by definition. It is also referred to as permanent makeup, cosmetic tattooing, micropigmentation, dermagraphics and dermapigmentation. Permanent cosmetics, permanent makeup and cosmetic tattooing are the most common terms used when the technician is being up front about the service they are offering. Permanent cosmetics are not medical procedures, as some seem to want to project in their presentation.
Q. Is this a licensed profession in the state of California or Washington?
A. Tattooing in California is governed by the Department of Health. Depending on the county, typically the Department of Health will issue “permits,” one for the facility and one each technician. That’s the case in Santa Clara County.
As of 2010 there is no evidence of training credentials required, however proof of an OSHA class in a mandate. As a result, the experience and credentials of the technician you choose to provide your procedure services are very important. Ask to look at before and after photographs of work they have performed. Most professionals maintain a before and after photograph portfolio of clients who have consented to have their pictures shown. Also, technicians should be able to show a certificate indicating they have attended an Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) class. This class trains those that provide invasive procedures how to do so safely and prevent any possibility of cross contamination of bloodborne pathogens.
Certifications of training documents are provided to technicians after they have completed a training course. Ask to see these certificates.
In Washington, recent laws require licensing by the Department of Licensing (DOL), however, this requirement has just recently been mandated (July 2010) and it will take a while to enact the licensing program throughout the state. Currently there are no requirements for training but word has it from team members working with the DOL that this subject will be further explored and ultimately it is thought that training requirements will be mandated.
Q. I'm anxious about letting anyone else design my makeup, especially if it is permanent. What if I don't like the design or color after the procedure?
A. At Faces By Design you are in involved with important decisions regarding design and color. You will be provided with pigment colors to select from, all of which will be specifically chosen to be complimentary to your skin tone. I will assist you when determining design work if you wish. Normally my clients look to me for professional input. Your facial morphology (the shape of your face,) will be taken into consideration when designing eyebrows, eyeliner and or lip liner. Design work is of paramount importance to ensure the design you ultimately approve suits your facial features and skin tone the best. You must approve of all design work before proceeding with the procedure. It must meet your expectations.
Q. Suppose eyebrow styles change?
A. Your eyebrow shape will be based on your own preferences in combination with my suggestions for a classic shape that will remain in style and will not be affected by aging or cosmetic surgery. I don’t agree to do trendy work.
Q. What if eyeliner goes out of style?
A. It is extremely difficult to find a period of history where the appearance of thicker darker eyelashes was not fashionable. With an eyelash enhancement procedure, your natural lash line is enhanced for a fuller beautiful natural look. This procedure is also very popular for men with light colored or sparse eyelashes. It provides wonderful eye definition. Thin, medium and wide top and bottom eyeliners are also very popular methods of decorating the eye area to project the illusion of larger more dramatic eyes.
The key is to keep it simple. One can always add to an existing permanent design for more drama for those special occasions. In my opinion, the people who enjoy their permanent cosmetics to the fullest are those who choose a conservative approach to design and color.
Q. What about people affected by allergies?
A. Many people love permanent cosmetics because it replaces the topical makeup they may be sensitive to because of allergies to talc or perfumes or other ingredients in topical makeup. Contact lens wearers especially enjoy not having to worry about makeup becoming lodged under their lenses.
Q. I have heard this is a two or more step process. Why is that necessary?
A. It is necessary for several reasons. One is due to the condition of the skin. Each skin type is different. Some skin types are thicker and healthier and more pigment can be implanted in one session. Others are thinner and require less implantation in one session to maintain the integrity of healthy skin in the area. Also, fine details, additional color depth, or design adjustments are easily made after the initial healing is complete. A follow up visit is always scheduled if only to meet and discuss the healed outcome of the procedure, take a final photograph, and agree that no further work is necessary.
Q. If this is permanent, why are future color refreshers (touchups) necessary?
A. The major issues affecting the pristine appearance of your procedure is exposure to the sun, changing health conditions, the effects of medication, hormonal changes, and the effects of skin maintenance products. At some point in time after your initial procedure, you will want to refresh the color. All color fades. If you put a red blouse out in the sun for a long period, it will eventually fade to pink. All colors on all mediums eventually fade. The sun, products used on the face to encourage accelerated skin cell renewal, and effects of medications and health conditions all affect the pristine appearance of permanent cosmetics over time. Usually clients return between one and a half to five years for a color refresher. The time element between color refresher appointments is totally unique to each individual.
Q. Is this considered a safe process?
A. Yes, it is a safe process if conducted by a trained permanent cosmetic professional who follows the proper disinfection and sterilization requirements set forth by OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). To ensure the peace of mind of each of my clients, I open a sterile, manufacturer sealed needle in my client’s presence just before beginning the procedure. I also place the used needle in a Sharps container after the procedure has been completed as required by law.
All procedure accessories used are disposable, single-use items. In addition, I set up my worktable in my client’s presence. It is recognized that any invasive procedure is of a concern to the general public. By conducting my procedures in this manner I feel my clients are assured their health has been protected to the highest standards. After leaving my studio, it is then the client's responsibility to care for the procedure in a manner that encourages normal healing.
Q. Will I be uncomfortable during the procedure?
A. Each person's response to this question will vary, as each client’s threshold of discomfort is different. This industry has benefited greatly from today's advanced technologies. We have excellent topical anesthetics, which normally reduce discomfort to a minimum.
Q. How soon before I can resume normal activities?
A. Usually the same day, although I always recommend that my clients return home and rest. Many times it feels very comforting to apply cool compresses or ice packs to the procedure area(s.) My procedures normally produce very little swelling and/or long lasting irritation to the surrounding skin. As a result normal activities may be resumed as long as they do not have an adverse affect on the healing process such as excessive sun exposure, swimming (due to the affects of salt water and chlorine on new procedure and the risk of contamination,) or excessive exercise. You will be provided with detailed Pre and Post Procedure Instructions to follow.
Q. Do I need a skin (pigment) test before I go forward with my procedure?
A. I offer one, but with reservation. Those who feel more comfortable with receiving a skin (pigment) test may have one. This involves implanting a small dot of pigment in the skin behind the ear area or on the upper shoulder area. A follow up appointment is scheduled to view the patch (pigment) test area. Now all that sounds very good but unfortunately the Medical Advisor for the Society of Permanent Cosmetics (SPCP) who is a Dermatologist, has stated this type of test is considered inconclusive.
The small dot of pigment placed in a surrogate area (behind the ear or on the shoulder) does not represent the same tissue where ultimately an eyebrow, eyeliner, or lip procedure will be conducted. Also the test spot is so small it does not represent the amount of pigment that will be placed in the skin for any of these three procedures mentioned. I am not a physician and cannot “read” skin (pigment) test sites. Anyone who desires a reading of a skin (pigment) test must arrange to see his or her own physician for a true medical evaluation. The Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals does not support skin (pigment) testing.
To provide product confidence potential clients are advised that I only use pigments formulated from color additives approved by the FDA for food, drug, and cosmetic use. This is not to imply that the FDA approves permanent cosmetic pigments, they do not. However by using products formulated with color additives are from the FDA’s approved color additive lists, these pigments are considered to be the safest. In the many years I have been providing permanent cosmetic services, not one of my clients has experienced a sensitivity or allergy to the pigments used for their procedures.
Q. Are there any restrictions or requirements of those seeking permanent cosmetic services?
A. Yes, you must be 18 years of age. A Client History Profile form is completed by the client which involves answering questions about their health. The prime concern is that you will heal well after the procedure. Those who have any condition that requires them to take an antibiotic prior to general dental cleaning or who is an insulin dependent diabetic will be asked to consult with their physician before proceeding. Anyone who has a history of fever blisters or cold sores and requests a lip color procedure will be advised to contact their physician for an anti-viral medication(or medical direction as appropriate) to help prevent/minimize the occurrence of a breakout. Any trauma or extreme sun exposure on the lip tissue can result in an outbreak. I do not offer services to women who are pregnant or nursing.
Q. Are there any suggestions for scheduling permanent cosmetic procedures?
A. Because of the "fresh" appearance of a newly conducted procedure, it is suggested permanent cosmetic procedures are scheduled two to three weeks before a special event such as vacation or an important social gathering.
Also, due to the swelling properties of a full lip color procedure, many people who work outside the home schedule this particular procedure when they have a couple of days off before they return to work.
Eyebrow procedures do not produce concerning swelling, however it is always recommended a client return home immediately after a procedure has been conducted and rest and apply cool compresses.
Eyeliner procedures, depending on the width requested can produce a puffy (as if you’ve been crying) appearance. There is typically not bruising but depending on the condition and age of the skin, it can occur on wider top eyeliner designs.
You can go to my “How Will I Look” page for a visual of just completed procedures.