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Micropigmentation is sometimes referred to as "permanent make-up", or cosmetic tattooing. The process of applying pigment just under the skin is similar to traditional tattooing and is typically performed on men and women wishing to enhance facial features, such as the eyebrows, lashes and lips, as well as to cover small scars. Micropigmentation is also used to help reconstruct the nipple/areola breast area.
Individuals that choose to undergo micropigmentation may have physical limitations that make applying temporary makeup difficult on a regular basis while other people may choose to undergo micropigmentation simply as a way to save time. People suffering from alopecia, a form of hair loss may choose to use micropigmentation to create an appearance of eyebrows where the hair has been lost.
Inks and pigments used in micropigmentation are subject to FDA regulation as cosmetic and color additives, but the FDA has not attempted to regulate the use of the micropigmentation inks and pigments and does not control the actual practice of it. As with any cosmetic procedure, micropigmentation carries risks. Risks of micropigmentation include infection, removal problems, allergic reactions, granulomas, keloid formation and MRI complication.
If considering undergoing micropigmentation, it is important to remember skill levels vary widely. The main complication found with eyelid tattooing in a June 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology was an improperly placed pigment. Asking for references and doing homework to find a micropigmentation specialist with experience in the procedure can help minimize risk of complication. All micropigmentation candidates should weigh the risks versus the benefits before deciding to undergo micropigmentation, as with any cosmetic procedure.