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.
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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