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 semi-permanent makeup.

Anyone who wears make-up is a potential candidate for semi-permanent make-up. If you lack colour and shape to your lips and want to enhance them without having dermal fillers; if you regularly pencil in your eyebrows or would like to give them a better shape or fill in gaps where they have been over plucked; if you want to enhance your eyes and want the effects of eyeliner without the running and under eye smudging; if you want to open up your eyes and raise your eyebrows without the need for a brow lift; if you are allergic to traditional cosmetics or if you simply want to save time by not having to apply a full face of make-up every day, then semi-permanent make-up could be an option for you. The ideal candidate for this treatment will also have realistic expectations about what it can achieve.

The technique is also used for medical applications such as:

  • Areola (nipple) tattooing following mastectomy
  • Eyebrow reconstruction for alopecia patients and those who have lost hair through burns, operations or accidents
  • Camouflage of vitiligo
  • Cosmetic correction of cleft palate
  • Correction of facial asymmetry
  • Camouflage of surgical scars (See our section on Medical Tattooing for more information on this).

People who should not have treatment are those with an active skin disease or infection, women who are pregnant or breast feeding, insulin dependent diabetics, people with heart conditions and those who are prone to keloid scarring.

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