Permanent makeup, also known as micropigmentation or intradermal pigmentation, is an established method of applying small amounts of colored pigments into the deep (dermal) layer of the skin. This technology has been around for over twenty years and has been proven to be medically safe and highly effective. Micropigmentation is used for a variety of common permanent cosmetic improvements such as eyeliner, eyebrow, and lips. Less common but equally effective is its use in nipple-areolar breast reconstruction. Other uses which have some effectiveness is in scar camouflage, making a hairline or creating the perception of more hair density, or in the treatment of vitiligo. (loss of skin pigment)
By far, intradermal pigmentation is done for permanent eyeliner. Pigment dots are placed in the lash line that mimic thousands of eyelashes. The additional shadowing of color can be added to create a soft natural liner or a much more bold defined line. Permanent makeup is ideal for those who are allergic to makeup, who wear contact lenses, or can not see well enough to do good eyeliner application. It is an excellent option after blepharoplasty surgery when freshening up the eyes draws greater attention to them. A good eyeliner application is like ‘adding icing to the cake’ so to speak.
Micropigmentation in the eyebrows can mimic the appearance of hair. At the least it creates color and the shape of any eyebrow. For those that use pencil to create the eyebrow, this is an excellent procedure. It not only saves time but eliminates the fear and potential embarrassment of loosing your eyebrows from being in water or sweating. For the physically impaired woman, this can be a great procedure. I have found it also useful for those reconstruction patients who have lost their eyebrows due to a burn injury or a scalp avulsion which included the forehead skin.
Micropigmentation can be an alternative to traditional injectable fillers for the lips. It can appear to change the size and shape of the lips as well as the color. By extending the vermilion line upward or downward, it not only makes the lips bigger but can also help prevent lipstick from bleeding into those fine vertical lines in the older patient. This is an area, however, where the pigments placed are not quite as permanent. If they are used to extend the vermilion where they are actually placed in skin, then there is good permanency. But when it is placed into dry vermilion, this tissue is not the same as skin and it holds pigments less well. More touch-ups are usually required.
Micropigmentation or permanent makeup is an excellent addition to a plastic surgery practice. Plastic surgery provides lots of patient opportunities for permanent cosmetic treatment, whether it be for pure cosmetic reasons or in certain types of reconstruction. When done inside a plastic surgery practice, there is also the benefit of having the plastic surgeon around to provide local anesthetic blocks to make the treatment sessions more comfortable.
Dr. Barry Eppley