Semi-permanent make-up, also known as micropigmentation, is a form of temporary cosmetic tattooing which allows you to have long-lasting eyeliner and lip colour as well as being able to shape and contour your eyebrows. The procedure involves tiny particles of pigment being placed beneath the surface of the skin, much like a tattoo. This pigment will stay in the skin for a number of years, gradually breaking down and fading with time, although the longevity of the results will depend on your age and skin type.
Micropigmentation techniques have been refined in recent years and a wider selection of pigment colours have been developed so that technicians can create ultra-natural looks. Only a trained semi-permanent make-up artist can perform this treatment. Many technicians are also beauty therapists or nurses but as this is a specialist skill it requires separate training.
In addition to being commonly used for cosmetic enhancement to enhance the eyebrows, eyelids, lips and cheeks, semi-permanent make-up may also be used to create an areola (brown area around the nipple) after mastectomy or to disguise scars.
People that suffer from vitiligo which is a chronic disorder that causes depigmentation in patches of skin can also benefit from from semi-permanent makeup.
Am I a Candidate? People undertake micropigmentation for many different reasons, ranging from those who simply want to look their best at all times, to those who require some form of corrective skin enhancement for medical reasons. Common candidates are those with allergies to conventional make-up or who do not have time to apply make-up daily; those who seek correction of asymmetrical facial features; those with physical difficulties which make the application of make-up impossible; or patients who wish to recreate the areola surrounding the nipple or disguise surgical scars post-surgery. Find out if you are the right candidate for micropigmentation tattooing.
Before Treatment – Your first appointment with a practitioner should be a consultation to discuss your requirements and expectations from micropigmentation, and also to ascertain the correct choice of pigment depending on your skin tone. A practitioner may also use cosmetic pencils to show you the possible results you can achieve. When considering a semi-permanent makeup treatment, always ask to see a portfolio of the practitioner’s work.
During Treatment – Depending on whether you have micropigmentation for the lips, Aerola or any other area, an anaesthetic cream may be first applied to help minimise discomfort. A cosmetic pencil will then be used to create a template for the procedure. The selected pigments are blended and applied into the skin with a very fine needle via a small hand held electrical device. The results should mimic natural looking make-up and will last anything from 6-18 months. Find out more about what happens during a micropigmentation treatment.
Recovery – No recovery time is necessary and you can return to normal activities immediately after a micropigmentation treatment, although the treated area may be a little swollen or bruised for a day or so. Treated areas will usually exfoliate and lighten to a more natural looking shade within a week or so, so a second visit may be necessary to perfect the shape and deepen the colour.
Benefits – Semi-permanent make-up offers cosmetic enhancement to enhance the eyebrows, eyelids, lips and cheeks for those who do not have the time or the skill to apply natural-looking make-up on a daily basis.
Risks and Complications – A permanent make-up procedure is akin to getting a tattoo, so you may experience some discomfort but your skin should return to normal relatively quickly. Any side effects such as swelling or redness are generally mild and allergic reactions to permanent cosmetics are rare. You may request a skin sensitivity test in an invisible area beforehand to see how your skin responds, and some technicians routinely recommend a sensitivity test as part of the treatment. Find out more about potential risks such as micropigmentation scarring.
Micropigmentation Cost – Treatment with semi-permanent make-up can cost anywhere between £300 and £1000 per treatment area.
Choosing a Semi Permanent Makeup Practitioner – Semi-permanent make-up is not officially recognised as a medical procedure, so someone can perform it without a medical background. However, it is strongly recommended to opt for a qualified practitioner with a medical or beauty qualification before embarking upon a micropigmentation treatment.