Is Permanent Makeup Safe? Here’s What You Should Know

By Katarina V.| Last updated on April 27, 2023
Is Permanent Makeup Safe
⏱️ 5 min read

Whenever a new beauty treatment pops up, there’s bound to be a discussion on its safety.

Permanent makeup has been around for a while, so there’s been plenty of time to study its effects. In general, the possible side-effects of PMU and the circumstances under which they may occur are known, as are the ways to predict and prevent them.

If you’re considering getting a treatment, it’s natural you’re wondering how safe is permanent makeup. So look no further, PMUHub answers all your questions!

Is Permanent Makeup Safe?

The permanent makeup industry has come a long way. The tools and supplies used are much more advanced nowadays than, and the techniques are constantly being perfected.

Modern-day PMU procedures are generally considered non-invasive and therefore relatively safe, but whenever there is breaking of the skin, there are certain risks involved. 

Most of them are not related to the pigments (although substandard quality pigments could cause irritation, even granulomas, and unattractive fading, so make sure you check what the artist of your choice is using), but rather to the artist’s technique and the conditions under which the procedure is done.

So, let’s explain and discuss the biggest risks of permanent makeup.

Risk of Infection

The number 1 issues that arise from PMU procedures are infections, which can occur due to several reasons that have to do with the application itself on the one hand, and the aftercare on the other.

Whenever the skin is broken, there’s the possibility of bacteria entering your system. This risk is minimal in a sterile environment, which is what every PMU salon should be, but the fact is, not every artist pays the same attention to hygiene.

Before every treatment, all the tools must be sterilized, just like all the surfaces the tools or the client may come in contact with. Of course, the tools used for making the incisions are single-use, but there are other supplies to consider, like measuring tools.

The artist must wear protective equipment (gloves, mask, goggles) throughout the procedure.

But it’s also important to note that the skin in the treated area has to be disinfected before it’s broken, to make sure no harmful microorganisms make their way into the wounds.

Because, freshly done PMU is essentially an open wound, although the microinjuries are tiny.

And for this reason, the period of recovery, while the skin is closing up, is also a potential source of infection.

The client has to care for their results properly during the healing period, which means cleaning the area according to the rules prescribed by the artist, and using carefully-selected products to aid the recovery.

For more detailed info on this topic, here’s a look into microblading infections and lip blush infections.

Microblading infection
Image source: YouTube Inside Edition

Scarring

PMU should be done in such a way that’s not too aggressive on the skin, but in certain cases, the skin can get overworked, can’t heal properly, and scars form as a result.

This should not be an issue with experienced artists who know how to adapt their pressure even to thinner, more sensitive skin. 

But not all artists are equally skilled, so clients need to be really careful when choosing a PMU artist.

Scarring can also occur due to extreme cases of infection which can disrupt the healing process. We have to repeat, though, that infections are not always the artist’s fault. 

Keloid Scarring

We have to mention keloids as a different type of scarring that can occur even with minimal skin trauma. 

Keloids form as a result of overproduction of collagen as a response to skin injury. Some people’s systems simple react too aggressively, and PMU is a potential trigger.

So, if you know that your skin tends to develop excessive scarring, it’s best to steer clear of PMU treatments.

microblading scars
Image source: Instagram @eliselouisemelbourne

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions as a result of PMU are possible, although they are very rare.

Your body may react with swelling, stinging, or redness to certain ingredients in the pigment formula, to the aftercare products, or even to the tools used.

Luckily, this can all be avoided by doing a patch test before the procedure. If the artist doesn’t offer to do the patch test, feel free to ask for one. In fact, you should insist on it!

Here’s more info on how patch testing is done for microblading.

Contraindications for Permanent Makeup

Unfortunately, PMU isn’t safe for people who suffer from certain conditions:

  • People with uncontrolled diabetes (read more about diabetes & PMU here)
  • People with serious diseases such as epilepsy or autoimmune disorders
  • People with any bleeding disorders
  • People who take blood thinning medications and can’t temporarily discontinue use
  • People who’ve recently had Botox injections or fillers (at least 2 weeks should pass between treatments)
  • People with viral infections or diseases
  • People who are going through chemotherapy
  • People with skin irritations or Psoriasis near the treated area

PMU also shouldn’t be done on skin that’s recently been tanned.

Is PMU Safe During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?

Generally, it isn’t advisable for pregnant and nursing women to get PMU, tattoos, or piercings due to the possibility of an infection or the transmission of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.

An additional reason you should wait until you’ve had your baby is the fact that facial tissue retains more fluid during pregnancy and the skin is stretched, so the PMU marks might shift and move once everything goes back to normal and you could end up with unnatural positioning.

It should also be noted that the safety of the use of pigments on pregnant women hasn’t been tested.

For all these reasons, artists refuse to do PMU on pregnant and breastfeeding clients.

Learn more about this topic in these articles:

Is PMU Safe for Cancer Patients?

Permanent makeup is a way for cancer survivors to gain back some confidence.

Permanent makeup procedures for eyebrows and scalp micropigmentation can successfully recreate the look of natural hair where it may have fallen off as a result of chemotherapy, while areola micropigmentation has become standard in breast reconstruction.

However, PMU procedures are generally not done while the patient is undergoing treatment, due to the increased risk of infection, allergic reaction, or similar unforeseen circumstances that may delay or otherwise interfere with the treatment.

Once the treatment is completed, most doctors advise waiting 6-8 weeks before getting PMU. At that point, it should be safe, but doctor’s approval is necessary.

Is PMU Safe for MRI?

The inconveniences of getting an MRI with a tattoo are well known, so many people assume permanent makeup will be equally problematic. 

However, there are numerous ways in which PMU is different from a tattoo, and one of them is the fact that PMU pigments very rarely react to radio wave technology, so the chances of pain or stinging during the examination are minimal. 

For more information, read our detailed article on how permanent makeup affects MRI.

Is Scar Camouflage with PMU Safe?

A specific form of micropigmentation is scar camouflage – injecting pigments into a discolored area (scars of any kind, vitiligo patches, birthmarks, stretchmarks, age spots…) of the skin in order to blend it in.

The risks of this corrective form of PMU are the same as those already mentioned, but it should be noted that, as a rule, the scar should be at least 6 months old.

Learn more about various techniques of scar camouflage here.

Is Permanent Makeup Removal Safe?

Unfortunately, sometimes permanent makeup just doesn’t work out. There are several ways to do a permanent makeup removal.

The most popular option is laser removal, but there are alternatives such as saline removal and acid removal.

With all these removal options, there’s the risk of permanent scarring and residual discoloration, not to mention the change in skin texture. So unless the results are completely intolerable, perhaps it’s best to let the pigments fade naturally.

Final Thoughts

Permanent makeup treatments are generally safe for everyone, with some exceptions related to certain conditions. Side-effects are rare, and can be prevented by proper hygiene and a quick test against allergies.

The biggest risk of getting a PMU treatment is not liking the results, but health-wise, PMU shouldn’t be a hazard if done by a certified, conscientious professional.

Cover image source: Freepik

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