Imagine a world where women don’t have to worry about putting on any eyeliner and lipstick, and they no longer have to wax and pluck their eyebrows.
Believe it or not, that world already exists. The permanent makeup procedure making that possible is called micro-pigmentation, and it is changing the lives of countless women.
Micro-pigmentation is a form of tattooing that uses a needle to implant colored pigment under the top layer of the skin. Beauty marks, eyebrows, eyeliner and lips are enhanced or created in this process.
Missy Whittan, a permanent makeup technician at the Ritz Spa & Wellness, said the procedure is very helpful to women.
“It enhances (women’s) natural features so that they don’t have to keep applying wax or oil-based makeup that can melt or smudge,” said the permanent makeup technician of six years. “I have had the procedure done, and personally I feel that I can go outside without makeup now and not feel like a ghost.”
Many people are shocked at the idea of permanently tattooing makeup onto the face. Shenel Ransey, 18, a freshman psychology student from Fort Lauderdale, is no exception.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Ransey said. “I don’t believe that you should falsify your appearance.”
The only time Ransey believes it is acceptable is if someone is suffering from an illness that affects the appearance.
“If you are a cancer patient, and it’s necessary, then that’s fine. I just don’t believe in the girls who shave off their eyebrows and just want a better arch.”
Aaron Dobbins, 20, a junior criminal justice student from Tallahassee, agrees with Ransey.
“If women want (permanent makeup) just to make them look better, then they shouldn’t do it, because women are most beautiful the way that God made you,” Dobbin said. “There is too much of a risk involved, and the chemical makeup of the ink can’t be healthy.”
Dr. Sharron Foster, the University physician, said sterilization is the key to avoiding infections.
“Go to a place that’s reputable with sterilization techniques,” she said. “There’s a risk of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV with dirty needles.”
However, making sure a place is reputable is not as easy as it seems. Florida state law requires any technician to be supervised by a physician or dentist. But the physician or dentist is not required to be present as long as they provide the technician with written procedures that will help maintain client safety every six months.
Whittan said this is a dangerous law, and many people have found loopholes.
“In the tattoo world, it is known that you can send a doctor a picture of your shop and a questionnaire that they will fill out every six months,” Whittan said. “The law says that a person is supposed to do an onsite visit, but this doesn’t always happen.”
Whittan is able to abide by this law because her husband is her onsite physician. She makes sure she is updated on any new practices and procedures to ensure her clients’ health.
“You need advanced medical supervision, not a rent-a-doc,” Whittan said.
In addition to infections, there are other health risks involved in getting permanent makeup. Whittan said many of the risks include allergic reactions, granulomas, keloid formations and burning sensations when taking an MRI test. For these reasons, having necessary medical help is important.
“All of those problems are very rare, and I’ve never had a problem,” Whittan said.
The permanent makeup procedure can cost anywhere from $375-$600. Whittan mandates a consultation with her clients before the procedure. The consultation is free of cost. Retouching of the tattoo may be needed because of fading, which can occur after 3-5 years. Whittan charges $150 for the touch-up.
The most important part for Whittan is making her clients feel comfortable.
“It can be traumatizing pain-wise and expectation-wise if a person doesn’t prepare you or educate you,” she said.
Although it is a painful procedure, strong anesthetic creams are used.
“If you follow the simple rules beforehand of no alcohol, aspirin, blood-thinning medications, Vitamin E, garlic or herbal supplements three, preferably five days prior to your appointment, you will greatly reduce any discomfort associated with the procedure,” Whittan said.