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

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. All possible side-effects 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. PMU procedures are generally considered non-invasive, 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 and 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.

• Risk of infection

The number one issues that arise from PMU procedures are infections cause by artist’s unprofessionalism. 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. The most serious consequence of using unsterilized tools is the transmission of hepatitis. The area treated should be thoroughly cleaned. The artist must wear protective equipment (gloves, mask, goggles) throughout the procedure.

• Keloids

A less common, but still present issue is the formation of excessive scarring, or keloids, that are sometimes formed when an area of the skin is pierced over and over. Some people have genetically have skin prone to keloids or hypertrophic scarring and are probably aware of the risks. However, a particularly aggressive technique can cause keloids even on people who don’t.

Can PMU cause an allergic reaction?

Yes, although these are very rare. Your body may react with swelling, stinging, or redness to certain ingredients in the pigment formula. 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. They should all have them available.

Can permanent makeup cause an allergic reaction?

Photo by Shiny Diamond from Pexels 

How to avoid these side-effects?

The only way to avoid all these side-effects is to carefully choose your artist. In the past few years, the number of working PMU artists has sky-rocketed and unfortunately, a large portion of them simply aren’t very skilled, and some of them may not have gone through bloodborne pathogen training. This is due to the lack of regulation in many states.

It may be stating the obvious, but never go an uncertified practitioner. The quality and the length of training the artist has gone through, along with the amount of experience they’ve accumulated, is crucial to the quality of their work and the safety of the procedure, so it may be a good idea to check where and when they were trained.

You should also take advantage of your consultation appointment to ask them anything you’re curious about. If they seem unsure, avoid your questions or don’t give satisfactory answers, maybe you should look for another artist.

PMU isn’t safe for people with certain conditions

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

  • People with diabetes
  • People with serious diseases such as cancer, epilepsy or autoimmune disorders
  • People with any bleeding disorders
  • People who take blood thinning medications
  • People who’ve recently had Botox injections or fillers (at least 2 weeks should pass before you get PMU)
  • People with viral infections or diseases
  • People who are going through chemotherapy
  • People with skin irritations or Psoriasis near the treated area

PMU also isn’t 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 retain more fluid during pregnancy and the skin is stretched, so the PMU marks might “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, but certain types of henna are safe, so if you’re really impatient about getting your brows done, the henna brows present an alternative.

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 completely safe.

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 permanent makeup removal safe?

Photo by Shiny Diamond from Pexels

Is scar camouflage with PMU safe?

A specific form of permanent makeup is a 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, nut it should be noted that, as a rule, the scar should be at least 6 months old.

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 obvious and popular option is laser removal, but there are alternatives such as microneedling and dermoabrasion.

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 extremely 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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