What Are The Dangers Of Permanent Eyeliner?

Imagine waking up looking gorgeous and then heading to work without having to worry about your makeup! It may sound like a fantasy, but it's something you can achieve. The secret lies in micropigmentation, a cosmetic technique that can give you perfect brows, tinted lips, and other desirable facial features. Also known as permanent makeup or cosmetic tattooing, this procedure can change how you look and feel — but its benefits come at a price.

Depending on your needs, you could get a permanent eyebrow tattoo, permanent eyeliner, permanent lipstick, and everything in between. An eyeliner tattoo, or permanent eyeliner, can last one to three years and cost you around $600 to $1,000, according to InStyle. The procedure is minimally invasive and takes about two and a half hours. Plus, you can choose from different shapes and styles, such as a wing line, a red strike, or a cat eye.

But just like traditional tattoos, permanent makeup carries potential risks and may not be suitable for everyone. In some cases, it may cause allergic reactions, keloid scars, nodules, or infection, says Winchester Hospital. Additionally, removing the tattoo can be costly and time-consuming. Permanent eyeliner tattoos are even riskier because of their location. 

Why you should think twice before getting permanent eyeliner

The eyeliner tattoo trend has been around for a couple of years, but few consumers are aware of its potential risks. For example, a 2014 case report published in Clinical Interventions in Aging warns that permanent eyelid contouring can cause dark spots, excess eyelid skin, and swelling around the eyes. Additionally, the tattoo pigments can spread to the lymph vessels and accumulate in the lymph nodes. There's also a risk of inflammatory reactions, corneal pigmentation, and tissue death.

Some of these side effects can occur months or years following the procedure. In one study, a 67-year-old woman developed hypopigmentation, or a loss of skin color, eight years after getting an eyeliner tattoo, according to the above review. Another study found that eyelid tattooing can affect the tear film and cause dry eye syndrome, notes the Journal of the Korean Ophthalmological Society. What's more, this procedure may lead to trichiasis, an eyelid condition that causes your lashes to grow inward toward the ocular surface, warns Clinical Interventions in Aging.

Cosmetic facial tattoos can also have immediate side effects. It's common to experience bleeding, bruising, itching, and swelling in the first few days following the procedure, said master artist Daly Beneche in an interview with InStyle. Plus, permanent eyeliner may not be safe for pregnant women and people with autoimmune conditions because there's a risk of infection. 

How to minimize the risks of cosmetic tattooing

One of the best ways to mitigate the risks of eyelid tattooing is to choose a qualified cosmetic technician. Contact several professionals and inquire about their experience, background, and previous work. Kechia Taylor, a permanent makeup artist interviewed by CIDESCO International, recommends exfoliating your skin to remove dead cells before getting a cosmetic tattoo. Also, steer clear of chemical peels, facials, and similar procedures for at least four weeks prior to your appointment. These beauty treatments can be harsh on your skin, increasing the risk of swelling and other side effects.

"Avoid blood thinners, including red wine, aspirin, Advil, and Aleve, beforehand to prevent bleeding and bruising, and make sure you haven't taken Accutane within six months of getting tattooed because it can affect your healing process," dermatologist Julie Russak told Cosmopolitan. If your eyelids swell after the procedure, apply ice every 15 minutes during the first 48 hours. Refrain from using any ointments and keep the area clean to prevent infection, suggests Mila Aesthetics.

You may apply an ointment to the eyelids after three or four days, but you shouldn't wear makeup for five days or longer. During the first week, avoid exercise, saunas, and other activities that raise your body temperature. Mila Aesthetics also advises against wearing waterproof mascara in the first two weeks after eyelid tattooing. Since waterproof makeup is difficult to remove, you might have to use a harsh cleanser to take it off, which can irritate your eyelids.